What is Ransomware?

22 12 2015

Ransomware is one of the more dangerous types of malware. It can be downloaded from a compromised website or received as an email with a link or attachment. Once executed it can lock the computer or encrypt the files (documents, spreadsheets, PDF’s & pictures) on your computer and pop-up a message saying to recover your files you need to pay a ransom through some type of online payment method.

If your files have been encrypted, you are in trouble. Usually it is not possible to unlock the files because the decryption key is stored on the cybercriminal’s server. You could pay the ransom. I DO NOT recommend doing this. It does not guarantee that the criminal will unlock your files. The other option is to restore from a backup. This is one reason you should be backing up your important files regularly.

The first step in preventing ransomware from hitting you is to be cautious browsing online. Don’t open unexpected email attachments and be cautious when clicking on a suspicious web page or link. Installing a free browser extension like Web of Trust (www.mywot.com) will help you determine which websites you can trust when doing internet searches.

Add an extra layer of protection by keeping your computer Operating System up-to-date with the latest Security patches using Microsoft Updates and have anti-virus software installed and up-to-date to help protect from the latest viruses and malware.

Backup important files regularly either with an online service or to a local backup device. When using local backup devices, keep at least three backup copies of your data, each on a different media (hard drive, flash drive, etc.) and the third at an offsite location.

Andy 2013

Submitted by Andy Koetter, RBSK IT Consultant





Big changes to FAFSA

4 12 2015

Have a child going to college?  Big changes to the FAFSA were announced from the White House in September.  The changes become effective in October of 2016 and will have a big impact for families with graduates in the year 2017 and beyond.

The new method is referred to as “prior-prior-year” because student’s college financial aid eligibility will now be based off of a family’s income from two years prior to when a student enters college.  Students entering college in the 2017-2018 school year will be able to use income tax information from their parent’s 2015 tax return.  Also with the prior-prior-year method you will be able to file a FAFSA form as early as October (2016).

Currently a student’s financial aid eligibility is based off of the income tax return for the previous year, so the eligibility for school year 2015 – 2016 is based off the 2014 income tax return.  Aid can change throughout the college years with a family’s finances, but the first year of aid could be crucial in playing a part in where a student will choose to attend college.  With current deadlines for filing the FAFSA ranging from January – March, nearly 4 million students file the FAFSA before they have access to the latest tax return.

With these welcomed changes, it will help students determine the true cost of attending college much earlier in the process.  It means students will be able to apply for aid earlier and more easily, and make better informed decisions about where to apply and how to pay for college.

sm_christa

Submitted by Christa Dickson





Holiday Schedule

25 11 2015

The Holiday Season is quickly approaching.  RBSK Partners’ offices will be closed as follows:

Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 26th; Friday, November 27th.

Christmas – Thursday, December 24th; Friday, December 25th.

New Year – Noon on Thursday, December 31st; Friday, January 1st

RBSK Partners would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

holiday





Press Release – Barbara Bohman, CPA Passes CPP Exam

13 10 2015

RBSK Partners PC is pleased to announce that Barbara Bohman, CPA has passed the certification exam earning the title of Certified Payroll Professional (CPP).

The Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) designation is an exam-based payroll certification attained by individuals who possess a high level of professional competency through both the acquisition of knowledge and direct payroll experience.  A CPP candidate must verify employment in the payroll profession preceding the exam date. The CPP designation indicates that an individual has the experience and skills necessary to provide strategic payroll management and support to facilitate a company’s overall business goals.  The CPP Examination is voluntary, and certification is conferred by the APA Certification Board’s CPP Committee.

RBSK Payroll is a division of RBSK Partners PC with offices in Greensburg, Batesville, North Vernon and Brookville. RBSK Payroll serves the tri-state area and was recently created to provide a more focused approach to payroll and to offer other ancillary services such as time clock integration, employee self service portals, background checks, pay cards and more.

Barb is a Decatur County native with a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Indiana University. She has over 25 years of experience in tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll. Barb is a key member of the RBSK Payroll team working with many of our bookkeeping/payroll clients. Barb and her husband Lee reside in Greensburg where they raised their two sons.

Barb 2013

Barbara Bohman, CPA, CPP





5 Tips to keep your electronics cool this summer

4 06 2015

Summer is almost here.  As the days get warmer, make sure to keep your computer and other electronic gadgets nice and cool.  Extreme heat can potentially damage your expensive toys. So keep these five tips in mind as you go through the summer months: 

1. Allow for Airflow
Give your equipment a little breathing room. Make sure there is ample space around your devices – about 2-3 inches, and make sure the vents are clear and that there are no loose items that could obstruct airflow around your electronic devices.

Most printers, computers, routers and other electronic devices have vents located on the back or on the side.  This configuration allows cool air to be pulled in to the device from the front or from the sides and for the hot air to be forced out through the back or to the sides.    If the equipment is stored in an enclosed area, hot air tends to cycle through it making it hotter and hotter the longer it is running.

2. Position Electronics Away from Heat
Never place your computer by a window under direct sunlight.  Move the computer to a cooler and cleaner area.  It is best to position it along the path of airflow from a fan or air conditioner.  You will be amazed how this can help cool down your equipment.  Hot air rises, so store things on the basement or ground level if needed.

3. Don’t Stack Them
Electronic devices get hot enough on their own. Stacking them on top of each other produces and conducts even higher temperatures. Keep your devices spread out and use shelves whenever possible.

4. Keep It Clean
The fans inside your computer and other equipment are there to keep it cool. Dirt in the form of dust, human or pet hair, etc. may slow down the fan and eventually cause it to stop.  Use a can of compressed air to blow the dust away from all of your gadgets. Remember to keep all of the vents clean and unobstructed.

5. In Case of Emergency, Shut Down
If one of your gadgets begins to overheat and malfunction during the hot summer months, shut it down and disconnect its power supply. Let it sit and cool down until the casing is no longer hot to the touch, and then try to use it again. Make sure it’s not stacked with any other devices, and keep the area clear to allow for proper airflow.

Submitted by Jennifer Gunter

Jennifer 2013





Meet Ron Knueven

30 01 2015

Ronald J. Knueven, CPRonSMA, CVA is a partner of RBSK Partners PC. Ron specializes in delivering accounting and tax services to individual and closely-held business clients in a variety of industries, including retail, wholesale, professional services, agriculture, manufacturing, telecommunications, real estate, and nonprofit.

In addition to being a CPA, Ron is also a Certified Valuation Analyst, or CVA. As our director of Business Valuation Services, Ron provides essential valuation services to his business clients for gift and estate tax purposes, marital dissolutions, buy/sell agreements, and for the purchase or sale of a business. He has testified as an expert witness on business valuation matters.

Ron also serves as the manager of RBSK Partners’ Accounting and Auditing Department, ensuring proper accounting and auditing standards are followed and that financial reports produced for our clients are of the highest quality. He invests in ongoing education to stay current on and educate our staff and clients about all accounting, auditing, and business valuation developments.

Actively involved in his community and his profession, Ron is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, The Indiana CPA Society, and the National Association of CVAs. He has served as a member, officer, director, and committee chairperson of various community groups, including the Ripley County Community Foundation, Margaret Mary Community Hospital, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Ron has also presented on a variety of accounting and auditing related topics for clients and staff training sessions. He has also authored several business valuation articles that have been published in local newsletters.

Ron brings his significant experience and commitment to excellence to RBSK to make a difference for our clients. To contact Ron, email him at rknueven@rbskpartners.com or call him at 812-663-7567 extension 208.





Safer Tax Filing in Indiana

21 01 2015

Identity theft is a growing problem across the nation. In 2014, Indiana’s identity theft program stopped $88 million in attempted fraudulent refunds.

The Indiana Department of Revenue will be using a new identity protection program for the 2015 tax season to help combat the identity theft crisis. This year the Indiana Department of Revenue will use LexisNexis to confirm taxpayer’s identities. The LexisNexis automated identity verification database will verify identity information from individual income tax returns. It will help validate the taxpayer is who they say they are.

Another Indiana Department of Revenue safety feature is the Identity Confirmation Quiz which was introduced in 2014. Some taxpayers will receive a letter asking them to take this online quiz. Taxpayers chosen to take the quiz are not suspected of identity theft, but may have transposed numbers in their address or SSN or may have recently moved and the new address could not be verified.

Taxpayers who receive the letter will need to confirm the names and address on the letter match an Indiana income tax return that they recently submitted. They will then take the online quiz which consists of four questions that only the taxpayer will know the answers to. Additionally, taxpayers are given two attempts to pass the quiz. If a taxpayer does not pass after the first two attempts the taxpayer is given a special number to call the Indiana Department of Revenue. After completing the quiz successfully, the taxpayer can expect their refund within 14 days if filing electronically or 12 weeks if paper filing. RBSK Partners files all eligible individual returns electronically unless requested by the taxpayer to file on paper.

If a taxpayer receives a letter and the information is NOT reported correctly or they did not file a tax return for that year, they are asked NOT to complete the online quiz. Instead, they will need to contact the Indiana Department of Revenue at the phone number provided in the letter.

RBSK Partners or other tax preparers will NOT be notified by the Indiana Department of Revenue if any clients are selected to take the quiz. However, if you receive an Identify Confirmation Quiz and have any questions or would like our assistance, please contact us at 812-663-7567.

 

Submitted by Jean Ralston, CPA

Tax Manager, RBSK Partners PC

Jean 2013





IRS Starts 2015 Tax Season on Time

16 01 2015

The Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting and processing tax returns on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

The IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds within 21 days. The fastest way to get a refund is to e-file and choose direct deposit. It takes longer to process paper returns and in light of IRS budget cuts resulting in a smaller staff, it will likely take an additional week or more to process paper returns meaning that those refunds are expected to be issued in seven weeks or more.  RBSK Partners offers efiling for all eligible income tax returns.

This year’s return will include new questions to incorporate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (or ACA). Taxpayers who have qualifying health insurance all year will simply need to check a box to verify they have health insurance coverage. Other taxpayers will have to provide additional details to determine if they are eligible for the premium tax credit or subject to the individual shared responsibility payment (penalty).  If you have questions regarding the new ACA, please contact RBSK.

RBSK Partners has sent tax organizers to all existing individual clients.  If you haven’t received one, or are interested in becoming a client, please contact RBSK Partners.

 

Submitted by Jean Ralston, CPA

Tax Manager, RBSK Partners PC

Jean 2013

 





New Year, New Website, New Opportunities

7 01 2015

New Year: LisaSM

RBSK is excited to welcome in another new year. Like many of you, we are anticipating 2015 to be a great year and are setting our sights on achieving great things for our clients and staff.

New Website:

We want to take this opportunity to invite you to visit our new website–designed with YOU in mind! We think you will find it has a cleaner look, improved navigation and helpful content. We welcome your feedback and comments. www.rbskpartners.com

New Opportunities:

“Opportunity Season” (formerly known as “busy season” or “tax season”) is fast approaching. We are poised and ready to help you achieve the goals you have set for 2015 and to take advantage of opportunities to grow and strengthen your business and personal wealth . Please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance and to also spread the word about us to family, friends and colleagues in need of tax, accounting or IT services.  Business is great and we are looking for more!

Here’s to a SUPER 2015!!!!

 





Meet John Seale

31 12 2014

JohnSMJohn G. Seale, CPA.CITP is the managing partner of RBSK Partners with overall responsibility for achieving the firm’s goals and growth plans. He is ultimately responsible for employee and client satisfaction for the firm. He has specific oversight of audit and accounting and the firm’s technology practice. He is experienced in fraud investigations and is a qualified peer review team captain.

Before beginning his career at RBSK thirty years ago, John graduated from Brookville High School as the highest ranking male in his class. While in high school, he won the Indiana state mathematical award and was president of the National Honor Society. After high school, he received a congressional appointment to West Point and an alternate appointment to the Air Force Academy. Choosing not to go the military route, he attended Eastern Kentucky University and attained a BBA in Accounting. From there he was employed by the Indiana State Board of Accounts, where an audit in Greensburg sparked his interest in public accounting.

Through his position as a CPA, John has been able to serve on the Peer Review Committee and Report Acceptance Board of the Indiana CPA Society, and he is a former member of the AICPA Information Technology Committee. Additionally, he is a director of MainSource Financial Group (MSFG).

John and his wife Julie reside in Brookville with their son Austin, a senior at Franklin County High School. Austin plays on the golf team and is an avid hunter. Austin has been able to hunt deer, bear, alligator, Corsican Ram, coyote, sting rays, and other small game. John enjoys accompanying Austin on his hunting trips; he also enjoys boating and travel.

John brings experience, commitment, and excellence to RBSK to gain the trust and confidence of our clients. John can be reached via email jseale@rbskpartners.com or by phone at 663-7567, extension 221.