Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself

Tax practitioners who missed the recent IRS webinar, “Protect your Clients, Protect Yourself from Data Theft,” can now view it anytime on demand. In the broadcast, IRS and private sector experts discuss client data safeguards, legal requirements and best practices involving the handling of taxpayer data and tips for responding to a loss of taxpayer data.

Visit the Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself page on for more information on identity theft scams targeting the tax professional community. The page includes links to publications such as Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, security alerts and educational videos.

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Block & Flow



Block & Flow is a free productivity iOS application and Google Chrome extension that uses the pomodoro technique (short work intervals followed by brief, regular breaks) and provides users with self-generated data about how they spend their time. Users create a number of categories to describe work activities (e.g. writing, email, studying, etc), then assign each of these tasks a color. Next, users select from their self-designed categories as they start to work. A timer, in the shape of block, appears on the screen for 25 minutes. Once this time is over, users are prompted to take a 5 minute break. Block and Flow is unique from other pomodoro devices in that users can then view the amount of time – or total blocks – they spend each week on each of their self-created categories. This allows users to regularly assess and adjust their work habits and productivity. [MMB]

Copyright © 2016 Internet Scout Research Group – http://scout.wisc.ed

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Police in India bust dozens of suspected IRS impersonators | WGN-TV

LONDON – Police in India have arrested 70 people on suspicion of posing as IRS agents to steal cash from U.S. citizens.

Authorities in the western Indian city of Thane said they were investigating another 630 people suspected of being involved in the extortion scam.

Workers at nine call centers allegedly impersonated IRS agents during calls to the U.S., according to local police commissioner Param Bir Singh. The victims were told they owed back taxes and would risk arrest if they hung up.

Singh told CNN the call center workers had been trained to speak with an American accent.

The call centers were making $150,000 a day for up to a year before being discovered. Money would be transferred by victims of the scheme to U.S. bank accounts before being sent to India.


Read more here…

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Better Understand the Proposal Criteria and Selection Process for EPA’s Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Brownfields team would like to invite you to participate in its upcoming Brownfields Proposal Guidelines Workshops (Helping Applicants Understand Grant Requirements).

The workshops will assist local government and nonprofit organizations to better understand the proposal criteria and selection process for EPA’s Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup grants. The following topics will be addressed during the workshops:

  • The different EPA Brownfield grant types and candidates eligible to apply
  • The grant application process
  • Proposal tips and strategies

Workshops will be held at locations in New York on October 25, November 3, and November 9, 2016.

Please use the following link for registration information:

The informational flyer is in PDF format. You can save, open, and read the flyer by using Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can go to the following web page on the NYSDEC web site to download the program for free: .

U.S. Just Made It a Lot Less Difficult to Sue Nursing Homes – The New York Times


The federal agency that controls more than $1 trillion in Medicare and Medicaid funding has moved to prevent nursing homes from forcing claims of elder abuse, sexual harassment and even wrongful death into the private system of justice known as arbitration.

An agency within the Health and Human Services Department on Wednesday issued a rule that bars any nursing home that receives federal funding from requiring that its residents resolve any disputes in arbitration, instead of court.

The rule, which would affect nursing homes with 1.5 million residents, promises to deliver major new protections.

Read entire NYTIMES Report…

 Follow this link to view the full text of the new rule.

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Register for the STAR credit

STAR Program 2016 Legislative Changes

The New York State Tax Department recently contacted the NYSBA to highlight changes to the longstanding School Tax Relief (STAR) program. As a result of 2016 legislative changes, new homeowners will now receive a STAR Credit check instead of receiving a property tax exemption. The amount of the benefit will remain the same. Click here for a link to the new legislation.

New homeowners no longer apply to their assessor for the benefit. Instead, they register directly on the Tax Department’s website ( New homeowners who do not have access to the Internet can instead call the New York State Tax Department at: 518-457-2036.

Many of you who are involved with home closings have traditionally provided new homeowners with STAR applications, which they in turn provided to their assessors. Now that the process to establish eligibility for STAR has changed, the New York State Tax Department is making a printable fact sheet for new homeowners available online. Since most new homeowners will no longer use a paper form, you may wish to provide them with a copy of the fact sheet.

The New York State Tax Department extends their thanks to our members for assistance in helping to ensure that new homeowners receive the school tax relief they are entitled to.

Questions concerning these changes may be directed to the New York State Tax Department by calling: 518-457-2036. 

On Phone Numbers and Identity – Stories From Coinbase – Medium

Would you recognize someone trying to take over your phone and your identity? Would you know what to do?  How can you protect against it?

Read this account from Coinbase to learn more…

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