If you cannot contact me (updated October 08, 2019)…

UPDATE:
Much of Northern California is on the PG&E list of potential Public Safety Power Shutoff areas this week.  The IRS provides tax relief for those affected by disaster situations.  Whether or not a Public Power Power Shutoff because of severe weather would qualify remains to be seen; however, it would seem reasonable since California is the nation’s most populous state with a population of approximately 40,000,000 people.

More information on IRS Disaster Relief can be found here:
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations  

National Weather Service (Sacramento Office):
https://www.weather.gov/sto/

National Weather Service (Watches, Warnings, & Advisories):
https://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=HNX&wwa=all

PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff map:
https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/psps-service-impact-map.page

PG&E Update on October 08, 2019:
https://www.pgecurrents.com/2019/10/08/pge-will-proactively-turn-off-power-for-safety-to-nearly-800000-customers-across-northern-and-central-california/

PG&E Website (with Current Alerts):
https://www.pge.com/

 


ORIGINAL POST (September 23, 2019):

Northern California has been issued a “Red Flag Warning” by the National Weather Service.  For more information, see: https://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=usa&wwa=Red%20Flag%20Warning.

As a result, Pacific Gas & Electric Company is implementing “Public Safety Power Shutoff” events.  Because of this, there is the possibility that power to Vacaville will be cutoff, and you may be unable to reach me.  At present, Vacaville is not on the list for power shutoff, but this is a fluid situation and the situation may change. For more information, see: https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/emergency-preparedness/natural-disaster/wildfires/public-safety-event.page.

Thank you for your patience.

Happy Constitution Day (Tuesday, September 17, 2019)

Constitution Day 2019 is Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

Celebrate what makes the United States special–the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  While the US Constitution should be one of the most cherished documents in the world, many US schools fail to even recognize Constitution Day and many, if not most, US citizens are unaware of Constitution Day.  Below are links to the US Constitution and Constitution Day.  Please pass this along.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.constitutionday.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_Day_(United_States)

The US Constitution (Text — pdf file)

 

Introducing the IRS Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors

For tax year 2018, the Internal Revenue Service introduced the "postcard" 1040, along with six new schedules (to make up for chopping the Form 1040 in half).  Forms 1040-A and 1040-EZ were also eliminated.

For tax year 2019, the Internal Revenue Service is introducing the Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors.

Interestingly, the old Form 1040 was largely able to accommodate everything the 1040-A, 1040-EZ, the new "postcard" 1040, and the 1040-SR could accommodate without the six additional schedules.

So while these curious new forms are somewhat interesting, they have done little, if anything, to streamline tax filing.  This seems to be another case of the government fixing something that is not broken, as the Form 1040 was a finely-honed and efficient form that did an exemplary job of reporting individual income to the Internal Revenue Service.

Cryptozoology & Science

Like many people, I have an interest in cryptozoology.  For those unfamiliar with the term, cryptozoology is the study of and search for cryptids, which are animals of folklore, such as Bigfoot, the Lock Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, and other unknown, mysterious creatures.

Cryptozoology is largely considered to be a pseudoscience because most adherents do not follow the scientific method.  For those who need a refresher, the scientific method has six steps:

1) Purpose (What is the point of the research?)
2) Research (Conduct background research on the topic.)
3) Form a Hypothesis (Predict the outcome of the research.)
4) Experiment (Test to confirm or disprove the hypothesis.)
5) Analysis (Record and analyze–experiments are often conducted multiple times.) And,
6) Conclusion (Determine if the hypothesis was correct.)

Fortunately, there are some scientists who have applied the scientific method to cryptozoology.  In 2012, Professor Bryan Sykes of Oxford University and Dr. Michel Sartori of Musee de Zoologie, Lausanne, created the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project.  The stated purpose of the study was: “As part of a larger enquiry into the genetic relationship between our own species Homo sapiens and other hominids, we invite submissions of organic material from formally undescribed species, or ‘cryptids,’ for the purpose of their species identification by genetic means.”

While the study did not prove the existence of Bigfoot or other similar hominids, it did have some interesting findings:  “Sequences derived from hair sample nos. 25025 and 25191 had a 100% match with DNA recovered from a Pleistocene fossil more than 40 000 BP of U. maritimus (polar bear) [12] but not to modern examples of the species. Hair sample no. 25025 came from an animal shot by an experienced hunter in Ladakh, India ca 40 years ago who reported that its behaviour was very different from a brown bear Ursus arctos with which he was very familiar. Hair sample no. 25191 was recovered from a high altitude (ca 3500 m) bamboo forest in Bhutan and was identified as a nest of a migyhur, the Bhutanese equivalent of the yeti. The Ladakh hairs (no. 25025) were golden-brown, whereas the hair from Bhutan (no. 25191) was reddish-brown in appearance. As the match is to a segment only 104 bp long, albeit in the very conserved 12S RNA gene, this result should be regarded as preliminary. Other than these data, nothing is currently known about the genetic affinity of Himalayan bears and although there are anecdotal reports of white bears in Central Asia and the Himalayas [13,14], it seems more likely that the two hairs reported here are from either a previously unrecognized bear species, colour variants of U. maritimus, or U. arctos/U. maritimus hybrids. Viable U. arctos/U. maritimus hybrids are known from the Admiralty, Barayanov and Chicagov (ABC) islands off the coast of Alaska though in the ABC hybrids the mitochondrial sequence homology is with modern rather than ancient polar bears [15]. If they are hybrids, the Ladakh and Bhutan specimens are probably descended from a different hybridization event during the early stages of species divergence between U. arctos and U. maritimus. Genomic sequence data are needed to decide between these alternatives. If these bears are widely distributed in the Himalayas, they may well contribute to the biological foundation of the yeti legend, especially if, as reported by the hunter who shot the Ladakh specimen, they behave more aggressively towards humans than known indigenous bear species.

With the exception of these two samples, none of the submitted and analysed hairs samples returned a sequence that could not be matched with an extant mammalian species, often a domesticate. While it is important to bear in mind that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and this survey cannot refute the existence of anomalous primates, neither has it found any evidence in support. Rather than persisting in the view that they have been ‘rejected by science’, advocates in the cryptozoology community have more work to do in order to produce convincing evidence for anomalous primates and now have the means to do so. The techniques described here put an end to decades of ambiguity about species identification of anomalous primate samples and set a rigorous standard against which to judge any future claims.”

The full report can be read here: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2014.0161 

I would like to point out that new species are constantly being discovered.

My advice is to: keep looking, use the scientific method, and maybe you will discover a new species.  Be sure to document your findings, and remember that you will need a holotype to be placed in a museum or university to document your new species.

Marvel Comics Legend, Stan Lee, Victim of Elder Abuse and Elder Financial Abuse!

According to the police, Marvel Comics legend, Stan Lee, was a victim of elder abuse, including elder financial abuse.  I am in the process of creating a course called “Elder Financial Abuse” for my Financial Crimes suite of classes that I am trying to get domiciled at a university.  My “Elder Financial Abuse” class will provide students of financial crimes with tools, resources, and strategies to help detect, prevent, and stop financial elder abuse.

Click here for a news article on the elder abuse of Stan Lee.

Click here for more information on my “Elder Financial Abuse” Financial Crimes class.  (Note: This class is under development and is in the beginning stages of course construction.  More information, such as the syllabus, required reading, recommended reading, et cetera will be added soon!)

Retail Loss Prevention and Benefit Denial

Over the years there have been numerous physical and procedural safeguards put in place to reduce loss prevention.  Thirty-five years ago, the “ink tag” was introduced to retailers.  The concept is genius–attach a device to a garment that, if tampered with, will release and indelible ink onto the garment; thereby, ruining any benefit of stealing the garment.

Since most people who shoplift do so for personal use or the economic benefit of selling the item(s) on the street, this “benefit denial” approach has been shown to be quite effective.  These ink tags can be tied into the merchandise inventory alarm control system, so that if the thief tries to steal the garment so they can remove the ink tag elsewhere, the alarm will trigger.

Read more about the history and evolution of the ink tag at Loss Prevention Magazine here:

https://losspreventionmedia.com/the-improbable-history-of-the-ink-tag/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=The+Improbable+History+of+the+Ink+Tag&utm_campaign=LPM+Daily+051719

My youngest son, Noah, was interviewed by CBS Sacramento about the late start time at Vacaville High School

On Tuesday, May 07, 2019, my youngest son, Noah, his girlfriend, and their friend were interviewed by CBS Sacramento about the later start time for Vacaville High School.

https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2019/05/07/vacaville-unified-school-district-later-school-time/?fbclid=IwAR1QnKprjd9g1cRMo6622RNQt_cVXLHjqYDPKZ7gM32PCg-2lR3CMqFDd7g

List of Databases–Police Accountability

The Puppycide Database Project

The Puppycide Database Project compiles and tracks police violence towards animals.  According to the website, “[R]ecords are currently included involving cats, squirrels, birds, elephants, tigers, emu, apes and mountain lions, just to name a few.”

Obviously, sometimes it is necessary for the police to kill animals, such as when a viscous dog attacks or when dangerous animals escape from the zoo and pose an imminent threat to human life.  Unfortunately, there are many instances of unwarranted and cowardly shootings of family pets by police.  Many of us consider our pets to be part of the family, and it is important that police violence against animals, especially pets, is documented.

 

College Early Entrance Programs in the United States

Some  middle and high school students may wish to consider Early Entrance Programs, some of which will allow students as young as 11 years old.

The Los Angeles Times has an informative article on the Early Entry Program, specifically about kids in the Early Entry Program at Cal State L.A.  It can be found here:

https://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-edu-cal-state-gifted-program-children-student-20190426-htmlstory.html?fbclid=IwAR3TejnJkspUYW2AawK0s_5CU9g3eGIGAfGPa0K9W1h21Uqq25uzrTpxSK0

 

The Cal State L.A. Early Entrance Program can be found here:

http://www.calstatela.edu/eep/frequently-asked-questions-faq

 

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth has information about Early Entrance Programs throughout the country.  It can be found here:

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Early College Entrance Programs

 

Police Misconduct Database

For many years, I have argued that police need to be licensed like most other professions.  The reality of the situation is that they are not.  The exceptions are for their Driver Licenses, and when applicable their FAA Pilot Licenses (a very small percentage of police officers fall into this category).  There may be various obscure licensing requirements for specialized police officers, such as FCC Radio Licenses.  There is no such thing as a Police Officer License.

My reasoning behind this is that professional licenses are generally open to public inspection.  Go ahead, check my licenses--all of them are available for public inspection online except for my Enrolled Agent license with the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.  They will gladly conduct a license check if you write the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Back to the police.  They are not licensed.  POST certification is not a license.  It is a certification.  While POST certification can be revoked, it is exceedingly rare.  Professional licensing generally requires continuing education, accountability to a licensing authority, adherence to a code of ethics, public inspection of license, sometimes bonding and/or insurance requirement, and the ability of the licensing authority to discipline licensees.  A professional license can be revoked or suspended; thereby, making it impossible to work in that profession.

The media has succeeded where the government has failed, insofar as they have created a database of police officers who have been disciplined.  Unfortunately, this database does not cover all 50 states, but it is a tremendous tool that the government and the police have failed to implement on their own accord.

USA Today, along with several other media outlets, has investigated police misconduct nationwide and have released this report:

We found 85,000 cops who’ve been investigated for misconduct. Now you can read their records.

You can search their database of de-certified officers here (unfortunately California is one of the states not covered in this report):

Search the list of more than 30,000 police officers banned by 44 states.

Transparency is a wonderful thing, and because of the First Amendment we have a (mostly) free press that can be critical of the government and provide transparency and accountability when the government tries to frustrate these basic tenants of a free society.

My Resignation from the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School

Dear Students and Colleagues,

On Friday, February 15, 2019, I resigned my teaching position at the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School.  My resignation was accepted by the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District on Thursday, February 21, 2019.  Without going into details, I will say that this was not a decision that I took lightly.  I will miss working with my amazing students and colleagues.  I plan on teaching accounting and financial crimes at another school in the not too-distant future.  For those trying to access my teacher page, it has been disabled by the administrators.  I have migrated some of the information from my teacher page to this website.

Steve M. Windham

Financial Crimes Course (Fall 2019)

Hello Everyone!

I am updating the Financial Crimes survey course, and I am also trying to offer a new course called “Retail and Restaurant Loss Prevention.”  As I have recently resigned my teaching position at the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School, I am looking for another school where I can domicile my Financial Crimes courses.

There is also more information for the Financial Crimes Survey course here:

FINANCIAL CRIMES SURVEY COURSE RESOURCES LIBRARY

If you are interested in taking this course, or my new course (currently under development), “Retail and Restaurant Loss Prevention,” please contact me.

 

FRAUDULENT caller posing as IRS (Phishing scam alert!)

Yesterday, I received a telephone call from a 305 area code (Miami).  After listening to the message, I called them back.  They claimed to be from the Internal Revenue Service and that I had owed a past due amount and that they were going to pursue criminal charges against me.  Today, a client called me and informed me that she had received a similar call.

In both cases, these were phishing scams and not the Internal Revenue Service!  I refused to give them any information, and when I informed them that they were not the IRS they hung up on me.

DO NOT give these people any information!  The IRS does not call you if you owe them money.  When you owe the IRS money, you will be sent numerous notices via USPS First Class Mail.  It is very rare for the IRS to call a taxpayer!  They nearly always use USPS First Class Mail to contact taxpayers, especially if this is an initial contact!

When in doubt, ask for their name, badge number, and a number where your accountant or attorney can call them back.  Then hang up.  Do not give them any personal information whatsoever over the phone–do not confirm any personal information!  When in doubt about any collection proceedings from any tax authority, contact your tax professional.

Also, note that it is extremely rare (never to the best of my knowledge) for the IRS to use email when dealing with tax payers.

See the following Internal Revenue Service links below for more information:
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-phone-calls-continue-irs-identifies-five-easy-ways-to-spot-suspicious-calls
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/phishing-schemes-lead-the-irs-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams-for-2017-remain-tax-time-threat
https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing

See the following California Franchise Tax Board links below for more information:
https://www.ftb.ca.gov/online/Fraud_Referral/index.shtml
https://origin-www.ftb.ca.gov/aboutFTB/press/2017/02-02172017.shtml
https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing

Google’s Project Maven for the Department of Defense

Google is presently working on an artificial intelligence drone project.  The International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) has sent an open letter to Google urging them to withdraw from Project Maven and to commit to not weaponizing it’s technology.

Click here to read the letter.

Considering implanting a micro-chip under your skin?

Last week, we had an ethics discussion in my Accounting II class about the rise of technology.  While the discussion was primarily focused on MotoBot as representing the threat of the rise of robots and artificial intelligence that is designed to exceed human performance, we also discussed micro-chipping people and what incentives could be used, or misused, to encourage people to be micro-chipped.  Aside from Christian religious arguments (Revelations 13) against micro-chipping people, there are numerous ethical obstacles that anyone contemplating this procedure should consider.

Click here for the Business Insider article on micro-chipping people.

Journal of Accountancy Podcast, “What CPAs need to know about providing services to marijuana businesses”

Whether or not you are a CPA, if you are an accountant and wish to provide services to a marijuana business, you should listen to this podcast.

 

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/jofa/episodes/2018-04-18T15_11_28-07_00

Medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the USA — John Hopkins University study

A recent study from John Hopkins University suggests that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.  The only two things that cause more deaths per year in the United States are heart disease and all cancers combined.  What this means is that 9.5 percent of all deaths in the United States are caused by medical errors.

Consider the implications… Nearly one out of ten people in the United States who died, died because their medical professionals made an error.  Why is this acceptable?  Why is the cost of medical care so high, if the quality is often so low?  What is being done to improve the medical system?  How can consumers protect themselves?

In the SoundCloud podcast, one of the authors, Martin Makary, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, discusses how settlements often include gag orders that prohibit discussion of the details of the case.  Professor Makary notes that in aviation when there is an airplane crash, the crash is investigated, and the analysis is published so that pilots can learn from the mistakes of others.  He goes on to note that this is not the case in medicine, and the same mistakes are made over and over again.

Click here to read the John Hopkins University article on the study.

Click here for the BMJ article and SoundCloud clip.

Click here for the PBS YouTube video featuring Dr. Makary on medical errors.

Click here for Dr. Brian Goldman’s TED Talk: Doctors make mistakes.  Can we talk about that?

Click here for Dr. Leana Wen’s TED Talk: What your doctor won’t disclose.

IRS Annual Filing Season Program Credential

Recently, I was notified by the Internal Revenue Service that I qualified for the Annual Filing Season Program certification.  The only thing that I had to do was fill out an online application.  Since I am already an Enrolled Agent, this credential does not confer any additional benefits, but it does show that I am maintaining my continuing education requirements.

 

Captain Ian Schmutzler, “The Police Chief Magazine” Article

My good friend, Captain Ian Schmutzler, of the Vacaville Police Department recently had an article published in The Police Chief Magazine(Click here for a link to the article.)  His article discusses the complex issue of mental illness and homelessness and how police are forming partnerships with community stakeholders to ameliorate this difficult and unfortunate situation.

Captain Schmutzler will be one of the guest speakers for my Financial Crimes class at the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School this coming Fall Semester.   He will be speaking primarily on counterfeiting, identity theft, and the crimes that have been occurring since the legalization of cannabis because of the large amounts of cash involved.

On a personal note, I would like to recognize Captain Schmutzler for his frank and open dialogue when it comes to local police issues, as well as his forward-thinking and progressive approach to proactive community policing.  Captain Schmutzler is considerate of alternative viewpoints, and he is very much willing to “think outside of the box.”  Captain Schmutzler sets a very high standard at the Vacaville Police Department.

 

What is happening to Home Economics?

Home Economics is an interdisciplinary field of study that covers various subjects such as: family studies, food/nutrition, clothing/textiles, and consumer economics/personal finance.  In  recent years the field of study that was once referred to as Home Economics has been re-branded to Family and Consumer Sciences.

Most high schools, adult schools, colleges, and universities offer some or many of the courses that one would find in a Family and Consumer Sciences program.  In the local area the Greater San Francisco Bay Area / Greater Sacramento Metropolitan Area, there has been significant changes in the course and degree offerings at the college and university levels.

Solano College used to offer a degree in Home Economics.  This degree and certificate option was last listed in their 2011-2012 catalog.  View the Solano College 2011-2012 catalog here: http://www.solano.edu/catalog/1112/SCCCatalog201011.pdfSolano College still offers some Home Economics related classes, but the major no longer exists there.

UC Davis is in the process of phasing out their Textiles & Clothing and Fiber & Polymers degree programs.  See the links below for more information:

UC Davis Aggies Article:
+
UC Davis Textiles and Clothing Webpage Announcement:
https://www.ucdavis.edu/majors/textiles-and-clothing/
+
UC Davis Fiber and Polymers Webpage Announcement:
https://www.ucdavis.edu/majors/fiber-and-polymer-science/
 +

California State University Sacramento currently has a Family and Consumer Science program with four different areas of study.  For more information, visit their website at: http://www.csus.edu/facs/

This article is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all of the colleges and universities in the area that offer courses and majors in Family and Consumer Science, but rather to demonstrate the trend in Home Economics / Family and Consumer Science in education.  For those who are interested in Family and Consumer Sciences, there are various professional groups and organizations dedicated to Family and Consumer Sciences.  Among these are:

The Fairfield-Suisun Adult School offers several “Home Economics / Family and Consumer Science” courses.  Please visit us at: https://www.fsusd.org/fsas.  This summer, I will be teaching Consumer Economics and Personal Finance at the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School.

The Accounting Equation (ALE) and Expanded Accounting Equation (ALICE) Explained

Understanding the Accounting Equation (ALE) and the Expanded Accounting Equation (ALICE) is critical to your success in accounting.  The image below is downloadable as a PDF (see link at bottom of post).

Click here for a PDF of the above image.

An Ethical Dilemma–Do Not Resuscitate

Though not a strict Accounting or Business ethical dilemma, an unconscious patient was brought into the emergency room with "Do Not Resuscitate" and his signature tattooed across his chest.  What is the ethical thing to do?  What would you do?  How is this related to business and accounting?  Risk management, mostly.

Read the article...

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1713344#t=article

Questions to ask on your next job interview

Chances are that you have been to a job interview at some point in your life.  Have you ever been asked the question, “Do you have any questions for us?”  How did you answer?

Forbes magazine has a list of ten interview questions that will show a potential employer that you are forward thinking and are looking for a position that will be a good fit.

View the article here: http://www3.forbes.com/leadership/never-ever-take-a-job-before-asking-these-ten-questions/?utm_campaign=Nine-Things-That-Should-Never-Happen-At-The-Office&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=referral

Hello from Mobile, Alabama

Hello everyone!  As many of you know I am in Mobile, Alabama for litigation.  I am staying at the Malaga Inn on Church Street in the historic district of downtown Mobile.  The Malaga Inn was built in 1861-1862, and is supposedly haunted.  Here are some photos of the Malaga Inn and downtown Mobile…

Malaga Inn, view of the courtyard from the balcony in front of my room.

 

Malaga Inn, view from Church Street.

 

Malaga Inn, view from Church Street.

 

Malaga Inn, courtyard fountain.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

Mobile, Alabama.

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

 

Mobile, Alabama.

Constitution Day 2017

CONSTITUTION DAY 2017

Constitution Day 2017 was on Sunday, September 17, 2017, but many schools, businesses, and others celebrate Constitution Day today, Monday, September 18, 2017.  To learn more about the US Constitution, visit this link.  To view the US Constitution as a PDF, view US CONSTITUTION.  To view the Amendments to the US Constitution as a PDF, view AMENDMENTS TO THE US CONSTITUTION.

Banned Book Week (September 24-30, 2017)

 

I urge everyone to stand up to censorship!
Celebrate your First Amendment right and the right to read!

When a government or society or any other group censors something, whether it is art, literature, music, news, or anything else because they find it “offensive” or “vulgar” or “controversial,” it creates a slippery slope that is both arbitrary and dangerous to our freedoms.  Whether or not something is offensive, vulgar, or controversial is most often subjective because what is offensive, vulgar, or controversial to one person may not be to another and vice versa.  The US Constitution, via the First Amendment protects, among other things, the freedom of speech, including symbolic speech.  Americans are uniquely positioned in that the US Constitution places limits on the government over the governed.  Americans must embrace their rights and oppose censorship at all  levels.  Freedom of speech is far more important than someone finding something offensive–freedom of speech is the cornerstone of our liberties.

Taken from www.bannedbooksweek.org:
“According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) – which tracks reports of book challenges and bans and compiles an annual Top Ten Challenged Books List – there was an alarming 17% increase in book censorship complaints in 2016. Since most challenges are not reported, the actual number is probably much higher. Even more disturbing, while only 10% of the titles reported to OIF are normally removed from the institutions receiving the challenges, half of the most frequently challenged books were actually banned last year.”
http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/node/12963

More interesting articles on banned books:

“my Social Security” Account

With “my Social Security” you can set up an online account with the Social Security Administration to handle several tasks online.  According to the Social Security Administration website, your “my Social Security” account can be used for the following:

If you do not receive benefits, you can:

  • new Request a replacement Social Security card if you meet certain requirements;
  • new Check the status of your application or appeal.
  • Get your Social Security Statement, to review:
    • Estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits;
    • Your earnings once a year to verify the amounts that we posted are correct; and
    • The estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.
  • Get a benefit verification letter stating that:
    • You never received Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicare; or
    • You received benefits in the past, but do not currently receive them. (The letter will include the date your benefits stopped and how much you received that year.); or
    • You applied for benefits but haven’t received an answer yet.


If you receive benefits or have Medicare, you can:

Solano College DACA Letter to Students and Resource Link

On Tuesday, September 05, 2017, Solano Community College Superintendent/President, Dr. Celia Esposito-Noy issued the following letter to SCC students in response to President Trump’s rescinding DACA.

DACA LTR SCC 09.05.2017

Students at the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School should note that the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District has yet to issue a statement concerning the recent DACA developments.

Solano Community College DACA Resource Page: http://blogs.solano.edu/news/?p=1124

2017 Tax Software Survey

The Tax Adviser conducts an annual survey on tax software.  The link can be found here: http://www.thetaxadviser.com/issues/2017/aug/2017-tax-software-survey.html?utm_source=mnl:cpald&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=01Aug2017

Personally, I have used four of these tax software packages, having used three of them for a significant amount of time.  These are: 1) Lacerte, 2) CCH Prosystem fx, 3) Drake, and 4) ProSeries.  My experience with ProSeries is very limited, so I have little to say about it.  Between Lacerte, CCH Prosystem fx, and Drake, each has its’ benefits and drawbacks.

Lacerte is very robust (there are only a handful of tax forms it does not handle), fairly easy to use, good customer support, and has many options that tax practitioners may find useful (such as printing out all of the input data in all of the input fields–something not found on all tax software).  The downside to Lacerte, and why I quit using it was the price.

CCH Prosystem fx is slightly more robust than Lacerte (it handles more of the international tax forms than Lacerte),  has good customer support, and it comes in a cloud-based version, CCH Global Prosystem fx.  The cloud-based version allows multiple users to access from anywhere in the world where there is a high-speed Internet connection.  The downside of CCH Prosystem fx is that it is cumbersome, glitchy, not very intuitive, and expensive.  Having worked with CCH Global Prosystem fx and CCH Prosystem fx for several years, I would not recommend it.

Drake is easy to use, inexpensive, and has great customer support.  There are drawbacks; it is not as robust as Lacerte or CCH Prosystem fx, and data input cannot be printed out the way it can be in Lacerte.  I switched to Drake from Lacerte for Windham Solutions in 2013, and I have no plans on going back to Lacerte.

Another Northern California Restaurant Tax Crime Conviction

Yaowapha Ritdet, a restaurant owner from Ukiah, California,  was sentenced on April 26, 2017 to 24 months in prison for corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the Internal Revenue Code and harboring illegal aliens for profit.

For more, see:
https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndca/pr/northern-california-restaurant-owner-sentenced-24-months-prison-obstructing-tax-laws

San Francisco Bay Area Chinese Food Buffet Wage and Tax Law Violators Sentenced

Owners and managers of a San Francisco Bay Area Chinese restaurant chain have been convicted and sentenced to prison for violating California wage laws and failure to pay California taxes.

For more on this story, please visit:
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/20/former-restaurant-owners-hit-with-6-1-million-restitution-prison-sentence-in-massive-wage-theft-case/

IRS Can No Longer Charge User Fees For PTINs

The IRS recently lost a class action lawsuit on how they manage and charge for the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) program.  The IRS PTIN program was updated to include an annual renewal and annual renewal fees several years ago.  This was ostensibly to combat tax preparer fraud, yet the IRS was never quite able to articulate how it combated fraud and how much fraud it prevented.  The 2014 Loving case is a related case in which the IRS lost the ability to regulate tax preparers.

For more see:
https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/irs-loses-lawsuit-over-ptin-fees-suspends-ptin-system-and-and-may-be-forced-to-refund-preparers

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2017/06/05/irs-loses-175-million-class-action-lawsuit/#201714341d02

http://www.ptinclassaction.com/

http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2016/oct/ptin-class-action-lawsuit-201615343.html

 

Possible Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Breakthrough

Admittedly, this post has nothing to do directly with business and accounting.  I am posting this because I have had clients, friends, and students who have loved ones who are affected by autism spectrum disorder.  The link below was published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

Abstract

Objective

No drug is yet approved to treat the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Low-dose suramin was effective in the maternal immune activation and Fragile X mouse models of ASD. The Suramin Autism Treatment-1 (SAT-1) trial was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, translational pilot study to examine the safety and activity of low-dose suramin in children with ASD.

Methods

Ten male subjects with ASD, ages 5–14 years, were matched by age, IQ, and autism severity into five pairs, then randomized to receive a single, intravenous infusion of suramin (20 mg/kg) or saline. The primary outcomes were ADOS-2 comparison scores and Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test (EOWPVT). Secondary outcomes were the aberrant behavior checklist, autism treatment evaluation checklist, repetitive behavior questionnaire, and clinical global impression questionnaire.

Results

Blood levels of suramin were 12 ± 1.5 μmol/L (mean ± SD) at 2 days and 1.5 ± 0.5 μmol/L after 6 weeks. The terminal half-life was 14.7 ± 0.7 days. A self-limited, asymptomatic rash was seen, but there were no serious adverse events. ADOS-2 comparison scores improved by −1.6 ± 0.55 points (n = 5; 95% CI = −2.3 to −0.9; Cohen’s d = 2.9; P = 0.0028) in the suramin group and did not change in the placebo group. EOWPVT scores did not change. Secondary outcomes also showed improvements in language, social interaction, and decreased restricted or repetitive behaviors.

Interpretation

The safety and activity of low-dose suramin showed promise as a novel approach to treatment of ASD in this small study.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acn3.424/full?wol1URL=/doi/10.1002/acn3.424/full&regionCode=US-CA&identityKey=192e9410-d065-4eb5-88c8-62e6edf6dfdf

Recent Changes in the California CPA Exam Educational Requirements

As of January 01, 2017, the California Board of Accountancy implemented additional educational requirements to sit for the California CPA exam.  The California Board of Accountancy now requires:

1) A baccaleaureate degreefrom an accredited college or university (any subject),
2) 150 semester hours of total college/university study,
3) 24 semester units of accounting study,
4) 24 semester units of business-related subjects study,
5) 20 semester units of accounting study,
6) 10 semester units of ethics study, to include one 3 unit semester (or 4 unit quarter) course in accounting ethics or accountant’s professional responsibility.

The above-listed educational requirements are in addition to verified work experience where the CPA exam applicant must have documented work experience under a licensed CPA.  See the California CPA Applicant Licensing Handbook for more information about the experience requirement.

PDF   California CPA Exam Tip Sheet
LINK   California Board of Accountancy Educational Requirements
LINK
  California CPA Applicant Licensing Handbook
LINK   Uniform CPA Exam

 

My Career Technical Education Teaching Credential

Today (Saturday, March 25, 2017) was my last day of classroom studies for my Career Technical Education teaching credential.  Neither CSU Sacramento, nor the Sacramento County Office of Education offer this credential program any longer.  As such, I enrolled in the Ventura County Office of Education Career Technical Education teaching credential program.  They offered a Santa Cruz cohort class that I was able to enroll in; thereby decreasing my commute from Ventura to Santa Cruz. This was my third and final trip to the Santa Cruz training facility.

PRELIMINARY CTE CREDENTIAL

While my Adult Education teaching credential covers the same subject matter as my Career Technical Education teaching credential, I feel that the additional training and insights I have received will help make me a better educator and that in turn should result in a better educational experience for my students.  My credential should be clear by this summer!