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Alex S. Gabor
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Alex S. Gabor is freelance investigative journalist, bank stock analyst, and financial consultant. He does not personally get paid from anyone for anything published here at Seeking Alpha.
My company:
Church of Infinitology
My blog:
You, Me and the SEC
My book:
Confessions of a Sex Crazed Money Man
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  • FTC Announces Agenda, Panelists For Upcoming Senior ID Theft Workshop

    Consumer advocates, government officials and representatives of private industry will take part in the May 7 Federal Trade Commission workshop titled "Senior Identity Theft: A Problem in this Day and Age." The workshop will take place during Older Americans Month and address areas of identity theft that have a significant effect on seniors.

    The workshop will be free and open to the public. It will be held at the FTC Conference Center at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C.

    FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez will provide opening remarks at the workshop. Among the topic areas to be discussed are tax and government benefits identity theft, medical identity theft, and identity theft in long-term care. Participants also will address the most effective ways to reach older Americans with information on how to prevent and respond to identity theft.

    The tentative agenda is included below. Any updates, along with logistical information for those planning to attend, can be found on the workshop's website.

    9:00 Welcoming Remarks

    Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Federal Trade Commission

    9:15 Panel 1: Tax & Government Benefits Identity Theft

    This panel will explore tax and benefits identity theft among older Americans. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to this crime because their personal information may be easily accessible by numerous individuals. Panelists will examine the scope of the problem; what caregivers and support professionals can do to prevent it; and steps to remedy it. Finally, the panelists will discuss the unique identity theft challenges to seniors as the government moves to deliver benefits through prepaid, reloadable debit cards.

    Moderator:

    Steven Toporoff, Federal Trade Commission

    Panelists:

    Amber Smith, Internal Revenue Service, Office of Privacy and Information Protection
    Christopher Lee, Internal Revenue Service, Taxpayer Advocate Service
    David Lindner, Social Security Administration, Office of Privacy and Disclosure
    Susan Morgenstern, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
    Robert Kerr, National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)
    John Morton, Green Dot Corporation

    10:45 Break

    11:00 Panel 2: Medical Identity Theft

    Panelists from the government, the private sector, and advocacy groups will discuss seniors' vulnerability to identity theft in the health care arena. The panelists also will consider the impact of new laws related to the issue, as well as best practices for seniors and their advocates to detect, prevent, and remedy medical identity theft.

    Moderator:

    Megan Cox, Federal Trade Commission

    Panelists:

    Pam Dixon, World Privacy Forum
    Andy McKee, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General
    Rick Kam, ID Experts
    Robin M. Slade, Medical Identity Fraud Alliance

    12:15 Lunch - on your own

    1:30 Panel 3: Identity Theft in Long-term Care

    This panel will explore senior identity theft in the long-term care context, including nursing homes, assisted living, and in-home care. Senior citizens in long-term care are at risk of identity theft because their personal information is readily accessible by numerous individuals. Panelists will examine the scope of the problem; what caregivers and support professionals can do to prevent identity theft in long-term care; the challenges of assisting seniors with diminished capacity; steps to remedy identity theft; and possible solutions.

    Moderator:

    Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, Federal Trade Commission

    Panelists:

    Lori Stiegel, ABA Commission on Law and Aging
    Becky Kurtz, Department of Health and Human Services, Long-term Care Ombudsman Programs
    Naomi Karp, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office for Older Americans
    Neal Walters, AARP
    Sarah Wells, Consumer Voice

    2:45 Break

    3:00 Panel 4: Reaching Older Consumers

    This panel will discuss how to reach consumers ages 65 and older with educational messages. As a massive and growing demographic, older consumers are frequent targets of marketers and educators alike. But how can consumer advocates find this audience, get our messages in front of them, and convince them to listen - and even act? Are approaches different for different segments of the older population? What about when older consumers aren't actively seeking the information - and might not really want it? Panelists will share experiences and ideas about best practices to reach older consumers with educational messages. Audience participation is encouraged.

    Moderator:

    Jennifer Leach, Federal Trade Commission

    Panelists:

    Elinor Ginzler, Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington, Center for Supportive Services
    Teresa A. Keenan, Ph.D., AARP
    Aaron Tax, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (NASDAQ:SAGE) and The Diverse Elders Coalition
    Andrew Tuck, Ph.D., Applied Research & Consulting
    Erin Van der Bellen, WUSA-9

    4:15 Concluding Remarks

    Charles A. Harwood, Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission

    4:30 Adjourn

    The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a short position in C, JPM, WFC, BRK.A, GS, BAC over the next 72 hours.

    Additional disclosure: The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. The International Bank Activities Reform Commission has filed an anti trust complaint with the FTC regarding the price fixing of mortgages by Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

    Apr 25 9:37 PM | Link | 1 Comment
  • Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration's Information Reporting Provisions

    AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: IMPLEMENTATION OF KEY INFORMATION REPORTING PROVISIONS

    Issued on March 29, 2013

    Highlights

    Highlights of Report Number: 2013-43-033 to the Internal Revenue Service Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.

    IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act) were signed into law in March 2010. Revenue provisions contained in the legislation are designed to generate $438 billion to help pay for the overall cost of health care reform. More than 40 of these provisions added to or amended the Internal Revenue Code and represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years.

    WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT

    This audit is part of TIGTA's strategy to monitor the IRS's implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The overall objective of this review was to determine whether the IRS is effectively implementing select Affordable Care Act reporting requirements.

    WHAT TIGTA FOUND

    The IRS continues to make progress in implementing the information reporting requirements relating to Provisions 1502, 1514, 9002, and 9010 of the Affordable Care Act. However, the implementation plan for Provision 9002 that requires the inclusion of employer health coverage on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, does not address how the IRS will use the information and how the IRS will ensure employer compliance with this information reporting provision.

    Many of the tax provisions included in the Affordable Care Act are interrelated. As such, planning efforts should identify the relationships among the various tax and information reporting provisions. The IRS must ensure that all the information needed to accurately and effectively administer these provisions is provided by employers, insurers, and taxpayers. By doing so, the IRS can significantly improve its ability to manage the burden placed on employers, insurers, and taxpayers who must comply with the various Affordable Care Act requirements, as well as improve its ability to accurately administer Affordable Care Act fees, penalties, and tax credits.

    Therefore, the IRS should consider collecting additional third-party information that could expand its ability to ensure taxpayer compliance with the Affordable Care Act provisions and requirements. Creating separate implementation plans and assigning responsibility to different IRS offices may result in the IRS not evaluating these provisions collectively to ensure that it is requesting all the information needed to effectively verify employer, insurance provider, and individual compliance with the Affordable Care Act.

    WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED

    TIGTA recommended that the IRS update the implementation plan for Provision 9002 to identify the actions needed to verify that employers are accurately reporting the total dollar value of health insurance coverage provided to an employee. The IRS should also ensure that all information necessary to maximize the IRS's ability to verify compliance with other tax-related provisions within the Affordable Care Act is requested from third parties and processes are developed to use the information effectively.

    The IRS agreed with our recommendations. In their response to the report, IRS officials stated that the IRS has updated the Compliance Plan for Provision 9002 to include steps for verifying reporting compliance. The IRS also indicated that executive oversight by the Director, Affordable Care Act Office, and the Director, Implementation Oversight and Non-Exchange Provisions, ensures that the overall planning for all Affordable Care Act provisions, including the ones affecting information reporting, is coordinated.

    READ THE FULL REPORT

    Apr 25 9:27 PM | Link | Comment!
  • IRS Releases Final Report On Tax-Exempt Colleges And Universities Compliance Project

    WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service today released its final report summarizing audit results from the IRS' colleges and universities study, which began in 2008. This final report describes the agency's multi-year project on a major segment of tax-exempt organizations.

    "The audits identified some significant compliance issues at the colleges and universities examined," said Lois Lerner, Director, Exempt Organizations division. "Because these issues may well be present elsewhere across the tax-exempt sector, all exempt organizations need to be aware of the importance of accurately reporting unrelated business income and providing appropriate executive compensation."

    The attached final report focuses on two primary areas within the examinations: reporting of unrelated business taxable income, and compensation, including, employment tax and retirement plan issues.

    The interim report issued in 2010 focused on results from the questionnaires submitted by tax-exempt colleges and universities.

    Apr 25 7:51 PM | Link | 1 Comment
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