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Sales Tax red arrow up

On July 13, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Act 84 of 2016. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, the following updates have been made to Sales, Use, and Hotel Occupancy taxes:

Timely Filing Vendor Discount
Effective for returns that have a period end date after August 1, 2016, the vendor discount for licensees for timely filed returns and payments is limited to the lesser of $25 or 1 percent of tax collected for a monthly filer, $75 or 1 percent of tax collected for a quarterly filer and $150 or 1 percent of tax collected for a semi-annual filer.

Exemptions
Effective July 1, 2017, property and services directly and predominately used in "timbering" by a company primarily engaged in the business of harvesting trees is exempt from tax. The term shall not include the harvesting of trees for clearing land for access roads.

Effective immediately, licensees are not required to collect tax on corrugated boxes used by a person engaged in the manufacture of snack food products to deliver the manufactured product, whether or not the boxes are returnable.

Effective in 60 days, the sale at retail or use of services related to the setup, tear down, or maintenance of tangible personal property rented by an authority to exhibitors at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center is exempt from sales and use tax.

Sales tax base expansion
Effective August 1, 2016, licensees are now required to collect tax on digitally or electronically delivered or streamed video, photographs, books, any other taxable printed material, apps, games, music, any audio service including satellite radio or canned software. These items are taxable whether accessed and purchased singly, or by subscription or in any other manner. Any maintenance, updates or support on these items are taxable.

Taxable sales on these items made on or after August 1, 2016, must be included when filing sales tax returns. The date of sale is the date of the invoice or other similar document.

Sales Suppression
Any person who, for commercial gain, sells, purchases, installs, transfers or possesses in this commonwealth an automated sales suppression device or zapper that the sole purpose of the device is to defeat or evade the determination of sales tax due commits a punishable offense.

Anyone that commits such an offense and is in possession of three or fewer devices will be subject to a fine up-to but not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).

Anyone that commits such an offense and is in possession of three or more devices will be subject to a fine up-to but not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

This shall not apply to an entity that possesses an automated sales suppression device for the sole purpose of developing hardware or software to combat the evasion of taxes by use of automated sales suppression devices or zappers or phantomware.

For additional information or if you have any questions regarding this notification, contact the Taxpayer Service and Information Center at 1-717-787-1064, or visit the department's website at www.revenue.pa.gov, and click on Online Customer Service Center; Service for Taxpayers with Special Hearing and/or Speaking Needs is 1-800-447-3020 (TT only).

M10 July29

It’s hard to believe it’s almost a year since Microsoft released Windows 10, the latest version of their Windows operating system. Existing Windows users have the opportunity to access a free upgrade through July 29, 2016. So, should you upgrade? If you have already upgraded and things are going well, then by all means stay with it. If you have not upgraded yet, we do not recommend a rush to do so.

The features of Windows 10 are mostly cosmetic, and we’ve yet to see the major software suppliers release new products not compatible with Windows 7 and 8. Even QuickBooks 2016 – the only version of QuickBooks compatible with Windows 10 – is also compatible with Windows 7 and 8. So as long as your primary software continues to support Windows 7 and 8, we don’t recommend upgrading to Windows 10 on an existing computer.

An operating system upgrade is never as easy as just pushing a button. You need to make sure all of your hardware, software and peripheral equipment is compatible with the new operating system. Will your QuickBooks work? Will you still be able to print? Multiply this by the number and variety of computers in your workplace and what seemed a simple task can be a daunting project.

Be prepared by being proactive.

What we do recommend is that you start preparing now for the day you’ll need to replace your computers, s since Windows 10 will be the standard on any new machines. This includes staying up to date with all software packages and apps while using Windows 7 or 8. Doing so provides better support and more security.

We also suggest scheduling our Computer Solutions’ upfront analysis service which reviews your hardware, software, and equipment to determine what, if any, work is needed before a transition to Windows 10. This allows you to take your time and know what to expect when you eventually move on from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10. It’s part of our due diligence and saves you the inconvenience and cost of future unknowns.

We’ve conducted this upfront analysis for a number of clients who have chosen to upgrade to Windows 10 and found that even with no predetermined issues, there were some hiccups once the transition to Windows 10 was complete.

There’s another element to the free Windows 10 upgrade. Some users have experienced an automatic update. Others have made the upgrade accidentally due to the way Windows has presented the option in pop-up messages. If this is the case in your situation, Windows 10 does have an uninstall option allowing you to revert to your previous operating system as long as you do so within 30 days of the Windows 10 installation.

If you have questions or would like to schedule an upfront analysis to be prepared for Windows 10, we are always available to you at 215-723-4881 or www.canoncapital.com.

Fraud scam alert

During the recent Financial Self-Defense seminar presented by our Wealth Management division, we focused on the three main areas of financial fraud: preying on senior citizens, tax-related fraud, and general financial fraud.

With tax-related fraud, the most prevalent attempt comes from people or entities who call on the phone to try and fool you into thinking they are the IRS and that you owe them money. The IRS does not operate that way. In fact, here are six things the IRS will never do.

 

FinancialFraudRecap 2

 

Six Things the IRS Will Never Do

#1. Call to demand immediate payments over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.

#2. Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information.

#3. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

#4. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

#5. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or email.

#6. Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for non-payment.

If you think you might have experienced this type of fraud and have questions, let us help you determine next steps. Learn more at www.canoncapital.com or call 215-723-4881.

Fraud Alert on Phone

With incidents of financial fraud on the rise, the second session in our Wealth Management division’s Financial Literacy series focused on “Financial Self-Defense.” The hour-long seminar focused on three main areas of financial fraud: preying on senior citizens, tax-related fraud, and general financial fraud. Today’s recap covering red flags for senior citizens is the first in a series of blog posts recapping the seminar.

Top Ten Red Flags of Senior Citizen Financial Fraud

#1. “He said he was certified to help people like me.”

If the financial advisor is telling you it’s normal procedure also to be the custodian of your account, be aware that this is not a financial management best practice. Two different entities should serve these roles.

#2. “Don’t worry about the details; they’ll just confuse you.”

Wrong. You have the right to get a second opinion from a trusted professional. If you don’t understand what is being said, don’t buy it.

#3. “You’re Invited! Wine, Dine and Learn!”

You have probably been invited to at least one of these events. You’re promised a nice meal and a presentation of the advisor’s services. Be aware, this type of practitioner usually counts on high up-front commissions. Don’t feel obligated to please by making a decision you could regret later.

#4. “You don’t want what you leave to your family or charity to be eaten away by taxes or fees, do you?”

Don’t give in to this tactic, designed to pressure or scare you into making a decision that is not in your best interest. Just because a so-called expert recommends it doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

#5. “Do you need more income from safe fixed-income investments? We’ll show you how!”

Beware these promises of high returns on small investments. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not legitimate or safe.

 

FinancialFraud recap1

 

#6. “He’s one of us. I’m sure you can trust him.”

Always reserve the right to do your research. Even if an advisor is recommended from within your social circle, take the time to learn more, get a second opinion from an objective third party. Don’t confuse familiarity with trust.

#7. “I’ll take care of all the paperwork.”

Sounds perfect, right? Wrong. You want to see and understand all paperwork dealing with your money. The final sign-off should always be yours.

#8. “All of my clients in this fund are making a lot of money.”

Don’t feel pressure to follow the masses. In most cases, this tactic is designed to benefit the advisor more than you. Make sure the money others are making isn’t yours.

#9. “I’ve got a much better idea for your money.”

This perspective is a likely precursor to what’s known as “churning,” or excessively trading your account so the advisor receives more commission. Get as much information as possible about their proposal and get it checked.

#10. “Stop paying the bank for your house. Let the bank pay you!”

A reverse mortgage might sound like a great deal but be careful. Don’t sign over the deed to your property and know that you don’t have to take the payment in a lump sum. As a homeowner, you have rights. Make sure you know what they are before entering into this kind of agreement.

In any dealings with a financial advisor, there is no need for you to feel rushed or pressured into making a decision. Transparency and third party accountability are key. If you have questions, we would be happy to help. Learn more at www.canoncapital.com or call 215-723-4881.

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