2012-10 Newsletter
 
WAA Newsletter October 2012
In This Issue

From the President
Identity Theft Resources
Why WAA?
Education Offerings
Updates on NSA
In Memory of a Past Member
Chapter News

Education

Registration is now open for all WAA 2012 Education Programs.  Below is the list of programming.  Click on the event link for details on registration pricing as well as the link to the online registration form.

 

Around the State

Chapter Events

We have four active chapters around the state.  These chapter officers have been diligently working to bring relevant education to the chapter members and with creating a quality collaborative peer meeting environment. 
 
Go to www.waa.org/chapters to find out what is happening in your chapter.

Our Leadership

Board of Directors

Chapters

Committees

Chapter Listservs

All WAA members have been subscribed to their chapter listserv based on the chapter listed in their profile.  Download these listserv instructions to learn how to subscribe if you do not currently have a chapter affiliation listed on your profile, to unsubscribe, or to change the email address you want subscribed to the listserv.

In Memorandum

If you are aware of a WAA member who has passed on please contact editorial@waa.org.

Advertising

This newsletter is distributed to over 300 accountants in Washington State.

New rates coming soon!

To advertise, please email the WAA office at office@waa.org.

Editorial Content

The principal aims of this publication are the advancement of the accounting profession and communication among our members. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual writers and not necessarily those of WAA or the Editor. Please submit articles and comments to editorial@waa.org.

The deadline for submissions is the 20th of the month preceding publication.

 

The IRS provides a very informative annual calendar.

Small business owners find this a valuable resource throughout the year.  Supplies are limited and the calendar is free.

If you would like to learn more about the IRS calendar please contact Rizwan Chaudhry at rizwan@nwaccountants.com

 

The mission of the Washington Association of Accountants is to promote and protect the right of every member to practice accounting and taxation; to provide the services and professional education necessary to maintain and improve professional competence.

From the President

by Jerry Gintz

Identity Theft and Fraud Concerns:

Just yesterday, one of my brand new clients (whom I inherited from another retiring preparer) brought in a letter from the IRS stating the IRS had completed their review of my client’s tax return for 2011 (which we had prepared).  They were requesting copies of pay stubs and a letter from the employer on the employer’s letterhead indicating dates of employment, gross wages paid and deductions.  This was for an $11k refund (due to over withholding from retirement pay that year).  This new client had been calling me, wanting to know if I knew anything about why the refund was not in their hand yet.  Of peculiar note, on the very same day they received the letter requesting additional information, they received their refund check.  What to do?
 
Well, of course I told them to get the check deposited immediately, so it might clear.  Here’s the deal though – and why I’m writing this.  This client was certainly relieved to receive the refund – bottom line.  But, she did express to me that during the last few months as they awaited the results of the IRS review and then again when she received the letter wanting income verification, she got to wondering if I was at fault in any way.   Well, I had long since reviewed the tax return and verified that all data was properly reported.  Now, I can’t be certain, but I would deduce that this situation was due to the massive fraud currently at play with refunds and the IRS.  We all read about that going on.  Of course the IRS doesn’t give ANY indication in their communication to my client as to WHY they are questioning the income items on the return.  They merely indicate that they are suspicious.  Suspicious of whom?  Why me, of course!  At least that’s what my law abiding client concludes.  (They have not had their identity stolen………..that they are aware of…………)

So, what are we (preparers) to do?   We had better pay attention, that’s for certain!  We need to be all the more aware of the fraud that is overwhelming the IRS, as I write this now.  Billions have been misdirected and they expect billions more to follow.  Will this mean more CPO5A notices to our clients, like the one I mention above?  I believe so.   Whatever way(s) we can assure our clients that their personal identification information (PII) is safe with us, we need to do.   We might want to be more public with our policies and processes when it comes to assuring them that our practice/firm incorporates tight controls with regard to their PII.  Of course Circular 230 has some guidance for us as well.  Becoming an RTRP & announcing it about ourselves and staff (and what RTRP means), ahead of the IRS going public with that requirement may work to our advantage. 

Anyway, just a personal practice story that underscores my own heightened awareness of my clients’ concerns about the public forum discussion regarding PII.   Also, that I am motivated to be more deliberate with informing my clients just how we protect their information.  Some Tax Pros already do better than others, but the call for improvement goes out to us all!  The problem is growing day by day!

 

Identity Theft Resources

by Astrid Arola

Like Jerry, I also had clients this year that were affected by identity theft.  Once my clients are affected by something like this, I know it is a problem that needs to be addressed. And while the IRS is putting a considerable amount of resources into this problem (including pulling employees off the phones and help desk), we need to be more proactive about talking to our clients about this issue. The IRS has valuable resources on their website. Below is a link to the IRS website that contains all the news releases, fact sheets, videos, podcasts, articles and other information about identity theft and it is all in one location. The link is http://www.irs.gov/uac/Suspicious-e-Mails-and-Identity-Theft. Talking with your clients and giving them brochures from the IRS can create much goodwill.

I also liked this Id Theft Tool Kit. Which you can find at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft .  The tool kit gives you the contact information to the IRS, Credit Bureaus and other resources on one page.

I hope you find this information useful for you and your clients. I know I’ll be using it!!

 

Why WAA?

by Sonia Smith - Membership Chair

Do you ever stop to think why you are, or should be, a member of WAA?  We promote the benefits that you receive; live educational seminars, discounts on publications and products, and networking with others in the accounting profession- - just to name a few. WAA offers more on your behalf than you may realize.

Do you know WAA’s mission and vision statement?  They are as follows:

The Mission of the Washington Association of Accountants is to promote and protect the right of every member to practice accounting and taxation; to provide the services and professional education necessary to maintain and improve professional competence.

Our Vision:  Washington Association of Accountants will be the respected and influential industry leader that inspires professional excellence among accounting and tax professionals, state agencies, and the general public.

We are striving to serve our members in any aspect that will help them grow and prosper.  If you are not a member (and even if you are), I encourage you to go to our website www.waa.org and click though all the tabs. Hover on the tabs to see the entire additional drop down items. You may be surprised at all the information that is available to you.   I am proud to say that I am a member of WAA.  My clients know that I belong to an association that helps me continue to improve in order to serve them better.

Joining is easy.  Go to the website and click on the button “Become a Member”.  With Live seminar season fast approaching, what better time to join and receive discounts for your education and more!

 

Education

by Cynthia Polley - Education Committee

WAA has a great lineup of education this fall.  In addition to the annual Gear Up fall tax update seminars, there are some new options to help brush up on tax law, train staff, or prepare for the RTRP exam.  WAA has something to offer almost everyone.  Whether you are looking for a live seminar or a study course, WAA has it all.  Be sure to take a look at the options and register on the website at www.waa.org. If you haven’t looked at the website for a while, you will be pleasantly surprised.  It looks GREAT!  

The Income Tax SchoolNOW A SELF-STUDY CLASS
The format of the Comprehensive Income Tax Class has changed.  We found that September 8th was just too early for some people to commit to a 10-week course.  The class is now being offered as a self-study course.  Registration will remain open through the end of the year.  Once you begin the course, you are given 6-months to complete the class.  So it’s not too late to take the class after all! Register today at www.waa.org.  

RTRP Live Seminars
Presented by: Hettick & Bell Enterprise Awareness
CPE Credits: 8-Hours

This live presentation and the accompanying study guide are designed to assist the un-enrolled and new tax practitioner in achieving a passing score on the Registered Tax Return Preparer minimum competency exam. The presentation will not only cover the necessary subject matter but also offer practical first hand insight on the test taking experience. The study guide is a 373 page manual that consists of 7 chapters dealing with the 2011 Publication 17 and includes a current copy of the Circular 230. Relevant review questions at the end of each chapter will challenge and prepare the student for the exam. Register today at www.waa.org.

FAST FORWARD ACADEMY
Fast Forward Academy is our newest online education product.  Whether you need to study for the RTRP, the EA or the CPA exam, this online study course will provide you with the knowledge and experience with the simulated online exam that will help you pass the exam the first time.  You will find the Fast Forward Academy courses at our online education section of the website.  Register today at www.waa.org.

FAST FORWARD KICK-OFF EVENTS
We are holding four Fast Forward Kick-Off events, one at each chapter.  Call your friends and co-workers and plan to attend a Kick-Off event in your area.  The kick-off events are designed to bring people together, to register for the course and to provide an overview of the program to help people get off to a good start.  Each event will be held at the chapter meeting location.  The events are free, but you do need to register. Register today at www.waa.org.


GEAR UP FEDERAL TAX UPDATE
8-Hour CPE
January 11, 2013
Location TBA

This course offers practical insight into the ever-changing world of federal taxation. Federal Tax Update is a one-day, fast-paced seminar that covers the latest developments affecting individuals, corporations, pass-through entities, and estates and trusts.

Written and taught by practitioners for practitioners, it is designed to provide you with practical, working knowledge of the latest tax law changes. This highly popular seminar will enable you to effectively, and confidently complete tax planning, compliance, and consultation engagements during the coming year.


Updates on NSA

by Astrid Arola

Fall is here!  The air is crisp and clean and the leaves are turning their beautiful colors.  It is also the time that we are wrapping up our individual tax returns and getting ready to register for classes, gearing up for next year.  Gearing up for “next year”? I believe we might still be doing this in January!  

That brings me to why I joined NSA?  I remember being at a Gear Up seminar and Judy Yoder (state director at that time) told me about the excellent insurance NSA had and at a reasonable price.  After the seminar, I came to my office to find my current insurance renewal sitting on my desk.  So I thought I would look into NSA’s insurance company.  Was I surprised?  What a savings, almost too hard to believe.  So I registered as an NSA member. Since that time I have valued NSA’s membership not only for the many things that a National Association can offer but also, and most important, is our right to practice. NSA is there at Capitol Hill fighting for us and they are our support here in Washington.  And while WAA has always been a strong advocate fighting for our rights here in Washington, it’s good to know that we have extra support from NSA.  

I’m looking forward to working with Larry Walkden as my Associate Director.   He and I will be at all the Gear Up seminars, so please (whether you are current members or interested in joining), come by our table and talk to us about the benefits and let us answer any questions you might have. If you aren’t attending Gear Up, feel free to call or e-mail at 253-581-9115 or astrid@kellystaxservice.com.

 

In Memory of a Past Member


Julie Froning – 8/6/41-7/9/12


As you may have read in our August newsletter, Julie Froning passed away on July 9th.  She was 70 years old and a dear friend to many WAA & NSA members.  Julie was a member of the Greater Seattle Chapter.  In lieu of a memorial service, the Greater Seattle Chapter wanted to honor her memory by gathering donations for the scholarship fund in her name.  If any member wishes to make a contribution to the scholarship fund to honor Julie, you can send the donation to:


Charles D. Grass
PO Box 2563
Renton, WA 98056-0563

The chapter will give Julie’s husband, Bob, a card with the names of all those who contributed to let him know how special Julie was to WAA.


On behalf of the chapter, thank you.

 


Chapter News


Northwest Chapter
by Dale Offret, President

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, ships at sea, ‘tis once again time, as the Northwest Chapter announces another beautiful day in the Pacific NW and in Western Washington, to come join us for some great fun, professional networking, continuing education, and comradery with a twist!  Open every 1st Thursday of the month, noon to 2PM at Max Dale’s in Mt Vernon, or by appointment, - what more could you possibly want?

The chapter meetings continue to focus on relatively interesting up-to-date topics with a twist of fun. At last month’s August meeting, we had Angela Xavier, Tax Attorney, present the topic of “Offers in Compromise”, and review the newest updates from May 2012.

October 4th we have James McCafferty, Small Business Development Center for Skagit Valley.

November 1st is the 18th Annual IRS Working Together Symposium at the Seattle Center and on December 6th we have Shawn Gagnon, CPA bringing us the topic of Personal Bankruptcy Issues & Debt Forgiveness.  

Our chapter members continue to be very active at the chapter and state levels:

  1. Rizwan Chaudhry, along with Dale Offret, were asked by the IRS (organizers of the Small Biz Fair) to present at this year’s event for the topics “Which Business Entity is Best for you?” and “Taxes and the Small Business Owner”.  This would not have happened if it were not for WAA. The Biz Fair was on September 29th.
  2. Cindy Polley brought “Fast Forward Academy” to WAA, an on-line exam preparation for the RTRP exam. The NW Chapter will hold a 3 hour Kick-Off event at Max Dale’s restaurant  in Mt Vernon from 6 to 9 PM on October 16th .
  3. The Northwest Chapter is hosting WAA’s 2013 Annual Convention. Kathy Jolly is the Chair and Cindy Polley is the Co-chair. The suggested theme is on “Technology”.

October 29th, We are planning our mini seminar with guest speaker Kathy Bastow, presenting “Advanced QuickBooks”.  This is the most asked for topic, so come attend  and get all your questions answered!!!  Stay tuned for more details.

We are planning our 2nd annual “Tax Season Kickoff” party in January 2013. We had the most fun last year (who am I?) and hope to have more fun this year. Stay tuned for more details.

Check us out at www.WAA.org


2012 Live Seminar Dates


October 4, James McCafferty  Small Business Development Center, noon-2 PM (Max Dale’s, Mt Vernon)


October 16, Fast Forward Academy mini seminar  6-9 PM (Max Dale’s, Mt Vernon)


October 22–23, Business Entities (Auburn)


October 29, Kathy Bastow - Advanced QuickBooks 4-hour mini Seminar (Cotton Tree Inn, Mt Vernon)


November 1, IRS Working Together Symposium (Seattle Center)


November 12-13, 1040 Individual Tax and Ethics (Lynnwood) NW Chapter Hosting


December 3-4, 1040 Individual Tax and Ethics (Auburn)


December 6, Shawn Gagnon - Personal Bankruptcy Issues & Debt Forgiveness (Max Dale’s, Mt Vernon)


January: 2nd Annual Tax Season Kickoff  party (to be announced)



Spokane Chapter

by Hazel Flynn-Parkison

Education, Networking, Fun …

The next Spokane Chapter WAA Bisk Study Session will be held on Wednesday, October 17th at 3:00 pm at Wayne Vinson’s office (2132 West Northwest Blvd., Spokane).  Bob McKinley, Wayne Vinson and Paul Smart offer a study group using the Bisk educational materials which earn CPE for CPAs and EAs. The cost for the study group is $90 for eight 2 hour classes or $20 per class and includes the study materials.  The classes are held on the third Wednesday of the month except no classes will be held in March and April.


Other Upcoming Education Opportunities:

Fast Forward Academy Kick-Off Event
Sponsored by the Spokane Chapter

Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Location: Park Place | 601 S Park Road, Spokane, WA
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Cost: Free if registered online | $20 at the door


View Monthly Meetings, Mini-Seminars and Register for Education Events on WAA.org website under Education>Calendar of Events.

 

 
Washington Association of Accountants l 2150 N 107th St #205 Seattle WA 98133 l 800-733-6286 l office@waa.org l www.waa.org