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In this issue...
Tips for Charitable Giving
While many people may be thinking of pumpkins, apple picking and football in the fall, this time of year also marks the beginning of the holiday giving season.  Savvy donors understand the practical benefit of giving before the end of the calendar year - to ensure credit is received on their next tax return. In fact, it is estimated that about 34 percent of all charitable giving is done in the last three months of the year.  If you are planning to support a charitable organization this holiday season, consider these tips for smart giving.
Do your research.
More than 1 million charities are registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Compare organizations and study how they function by visiting sites such as the Better Business Bureau. The best charitable organizations ensure that the majority of their revenue goes to the causes they support, not operating expenses.
Make sure your gift is tax-deductible. 
The government recognizes the value of charitable organizations, so many contributions to approved charities are tax-deductible. The key to receiving a tax deduction is making sure the charitable organization you choose is qualified by the IRS. To be sure, visit the IRS website. The IRS's Exempt Organizations Select Check is an online search tool that allows users to search for and select an exempt organization and check certain information about its federal tax status and filings.   
Record Keeping. 
You must also keep accurate records, so get a written acknowledgment or receipt for your financial contribution.  For non-cash donations over $5,000 a qualified appraisal is also required.
For those who can't afford to contribute financially to a cause, there are other ways to make a positive local impact throughout the year.  Consider doing business with companies that also give back.  Consider taking your giving beyond a monetary donation by getting involved. The holiday season often serves as a reminder for citizens to give back by volunteering their time.  

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Each month our firm sends a newsletter with useful updates and developments relating to our client's tax and accounting needs.  Combined with our website, our goal is to keep our clients informed throughout the year.


Social Security Administration Announces Large Increase in 2017 Taxable Wage Base
The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the maximum amount of wages in 2017 subject to the 6.2% Social Security tax (old age, survivor, and disability insurance) will rise from $118,500 to $127,200, an increase of more than 7%. By comparison, the 2016 wage base was unchanged from 2015.
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IRS Issues 2017 Inflation Adjustments for many Tax Provisions

This week, the IRS issued the annual inflation adjustments for 2017 for more than 50 tax provisions as well as the 2017 tax rate tables for individuals and estates and trusts. These provisions are used to file tax year 2017 returns in 2018.
Self-Employment Includes Picking the Right Retirement Plan

As of 2015, an estimated 15 million U.S. workers have said "no, thanks" to a regular 9-to-5 gig, opting instead to go the self-employment route. While being your own boss offers a degree of freedom and flexibility that's not always present in a traditional career, one thing that's lacking is access to an employer's retirement account.  Self-employed workers need to be acutely aware of what that means for their long-term retirement plans. 

India Busts IRS Scammers

Police in India have raided nine call centers in Mumbai and arrested 70 people who were calling phone numbers in the United States pretending to be Internal Revenue Service demanding payment for taxes. A police official said that another 630 people were also under investigation in the scam after the raid.

"They would give an American name and a batch number and tell the [US] citizen that they owed the authorities $4,000, $5,000 or $10,000," Paramvir Singh, police commissioner in the Mumbai suburb of Thane, India, told The Guardian. "They were instructed to stay on the phone and told that their homes would be raided by police within 30 minutes if they hung up. They made threats, they said: 'You have to pay, otherwise you will lose your job, your money, your house.'"  Victims were instructed to go to a nearby department store and buy a prepaid debt card that they would deposit the money on and then transfer it to a bank account in the U.S. The scam netted the operation approximately $150,000 a day, according to The Wall Street Journal.



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