Ziese & Associates, Ltd.

Robert J. Ziese, Esq.

Kathryn G. Ziese Financial Services

Client Newsletter - Apr. - Jul. 2003


Have a Wonderful Summer!

Call us for real estate, wills & trusts, tax & bankruptcy issues, business startup & litigation, matrimonial, adoption, and non-profit organization matters
973-625-4559


CONTENTS:

TAX    NEWS

                JOBS & GROWTH TAX RELIEF RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2003

This Tax Form is a Fake !!

Sound Surveillance Locates Shooters

Investment Taxes: Pay Now or Pay Later?

Need an Expert? Hire a Felon

 

TAX  NEWS

JOBS & GROWTH TAX RELIEF RECONCILIATION ACT OF 2003

President Bush signed this act on May 28, 2003. The following is a brief summary of the more notable tax provisions. Many of the provisions in this new tax law are only temporary, applying to 2003 and 2004*. After 2004, the provisions enacted in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 will once again become effective.

Below are some of the Individual Provisions:

*Child Tax Credit - Increases from $600 to $1000. The $400 increase will be paid in advance starting in July for those who have filed a 2002 tax return and deducted from amount taxpayers can claim in 2003 on their tax return.

Marriage Penalty Relief - This only affects those married couples who claim the standard deduction (do not itemize). For 2003 and 2004 the standard deduction will double to twice the amount that of single taxpayers ($9,500.00).

For 2003 and 2004, the 15 percent tax bracket for joint filers will be twice that of single filers.

*Tax Brackets - Income levels for 10% tax bracket are increased to $7000 for single taxpayers and $14,000 for joint filers for 2003. In 2004, these income levels will be increased for inflation. In 2005, the thresholds return to $6000 and $12,000.

New tax rates are retroactive to 1/1/03 for individuals (10, 15, 25, 28, 33, and 35).

Taxation of Dividends - Dividends received by an individual shareholder from a domestic or qualified foreign corporation will be taxed in the same manner as capital gain income. This translates to 15% for most taxpayers and 5% for taxpayers at lower income levels. There are certain types of dividends that are specifically excluded from this new law. See your tax advisor for explanation and tax advice.

Capital Gains Rates - rates have dropped but are complicated. See your tax advisor for explanation and tax advice.

Depreciation - For self-employed taxpayers and businesses have been completely revamped. See your tax advisor for explanation and tax advice.

NATP 2003

 

 


THIS TAX FORM IS A FAKE!!

The W-9095 looks deceptively real, but itís part of an identity-theft scheme. How it works: the bogus form arrives by mail or e-mail along with a cover letter that appears to be from a major bank. Con artists assume (correctly) that a percentage of the people they contact will be the bankís customers. Youíre asked to complete the phony form (modeled after the IRS form W-9), which requires you to fill in your Social Security number and your motherís maiden name. The letter explains that if you do so, youíll be exempt from paying tax on interest earned by your savings account. If you donít, "we are required to withhold 31 percent of all interest paid to you". Those who fall for the ploy wind up handing over personal information to crooks, who open credit card accounts in their name.

While itís rare that a legitimate bank will send an unsolicited letter asking for such information, this form could fool even the financially savvy. (And by the way, you must always pay income tax on interest earned from the bank.) What to do if you receive one of these forms? Immediately report it to the bank and to the IRS fraud hotline (800-829-0433).

Good Housekeeping 2003

 

 


 

Sound Surveillance Locates Shooters

http:/www.proxity.com
By Sharon Berry at AFCEA Signal

Seconds after a gun is fired, the On Alert Gunshot Detection System (GDS) can deliver information about the incident to law enforcement personnel via the internet or handheld devices. The GDS frees officers from relying on eyewitnesses and allows quick dispatch of a response team.

The system has sensors mounted on power lines, trees, or street lights. It can recognize the sound of a gunshot, and can determine the type of gun, shots fired, and location. It is being tested in Tulsa, OK.

 

Investment Taxes: Pay Now or Pay Later?

From Business Week 6/09/03

With tax rates for dividends and capital gains cut to 15%, is a taxpayer in the top bracket better off paying taxes every year on gains in a taxable account or deferring taxes and paying the 35% top rate when the funds are withdrawn upon retirement?

 In most cases, the tax payer would be better off owning stocks outside tax-deferred accounts.

Dividends were taxed at the wages rate, up to 38.6%. Now, most dividends will get taxed at 15%.

BE CAREFUL: Dividends before May 6 are taxed at the old rate. Your 2003 tax return may be difficult.


Need an Expert? Hire a Felon

Excerpted from an article by Arlene Weintraub for Business Week 6/9/03

It's April, and more than 1,600 corporate techies crowd into a ballroom in San Francisco's Moscone Center. The star attraction is Kevin. D. Mitnick, to speak to the audience about safeguarding their computer networks.

The world's most notorious hacker is back in circulation. After 15 years as "Condor", marauding the networks of the world's largest tech corporations, he spent 5 years in jail.

He has now started his own company, Defensive Thinking, LLC, which helps clients prevent hackers from cracking their security and stealing everything from proprietary product information to credit card numbers to medical records. It's a big business - computer security costs will hit $ 13.5 billion this year.

Mitnick knows the problems - he admits it's a struggle to resist the urge to hack. Be careful.

 


 

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