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Liens filed in Berks county by IRS

The following liens were filed in Berks County Courthouse by the U. S. Internal Revenue Service:  

 

Heat and Cool, 219 Sunride Road, Reading; amount: $1,279. 

Kreibel Culinary Services, 706 Brownsville Road, Reading; amount: $8001. 

Northeast Industrial Services Inc., 507 N. Shamokin St., Shamokin; amount: $27,511. 

Shanesville Tavern Inc., 4 Cleaver Road, Oley; amount: $96. 

 

The following liens were filed in Berks County Courthouse by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to the use of Unemployment Compensation Fund for unpaid unemployment compensation contribution, interest and penalties: 

Andre’s Towing & Auto Repair, 620 E. James Alley, Kutztown; amount: $1,958.  

Top Shelf Closets & Cabinetry Inc., t/a Casework Technology, 1000 Heritage Dr., Elverson; amount: $28,052. 

Eliset Home Furniture Inc., t/a Online Furniture Retail, 418 Windsor St., Reading; amount: $3,522. 

Franks Trattoria Inc., 440 Lehigh St., Reading; amount: $5,519. 

HD Auto Sales Corp., 498 Muhlenberg St., Reading; amount: $2,301. 

New ODR Enterprise Inc., t/a New Smithville Diner, 2299 Golden Key Road, Kutztown; amount: $3,655. 

Scott Ziegler Electric, 80 Fourth Ave., Birdsboro; amount: $12,118. 

Service Access & Management Inc., 19 N. Sixth St., Reading; amount: $35,468. 

 

The following liens were filed in Berks County Courthouse by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.  

Biospeciman LLC, 801 Tomahawk Dr., Kutztown; amount: $17,622.  

CMRWG LLC, grantee, POB 7454, Reading; amount: $4,060.  

 

Compiled by Terry Reed  

(Abbreviations: dba doing business as; fdba formerly doing business as; ta trading as; iata individually and trading as.) 

 

Note: Due to delays in the reporting of liens by the federal and state governments and the courts, the information above may be dated.   

The Business Journal is not responsible for these information-reporting delays. 

If your business has satisfied a lien that has appeared in this column, please contact us. We will publish any lien satisfaction upon receiving a copy of the satisfaction notice (on letterhead of the government agency involved), which can be sent to 65 E. Elizabeth Ave., Suite 700, Bethlehem, PA 18018, Attn: FYI, or faxed to us at 610-807-9612. Please make sure your business’s name and county of filing are clearly identified in your correspondence and identify the issue in which the notice appeared   

 

‘Revenue department’ fraudsters scamming Pa. Businesses

Businesses in Pennsylvania are being warned that scam artists may be preying on them. 

According to the Pa. Department of Revenue, the scammers are impersonating the department by sending Pennsylvania business owners fraudulent letters in the mail, which direct them to turn over their accounting records.  

The goal of this ploy, according to the department, is to trick unsuspecting taxpayers into providing sensitive financial information, which the criminals behind the scheme can use for a number of illicit activities that could seriously harm a business’ financial standing.   

“This is a prime example of fraudsters impersonating a government agency as they try to convince hardworking Pennsylvanians to turn over sensitive information about their businesses,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “We are urging Pennsylvania business owners to be on high alert if they receive a suspicious notice that includes the Department of Revenue name and logo. If you have any doubt at all about the legitimacy of a notice from the department, please use the contact information listed on our website, revenue.pa.gov. This is the best way to ensure you are speaking with a legitimate staff member at the Department of Revenue.” 

He said the goal of this scam is to make the recipient of the letter believe they are being investigated by the Department of Revenue for an “alleged violation of delinquent sales tax liability.”  

The letter also threatens taxpayers by saying penalties will be imposed on their accounts. Further, the letter includes contact information for a “Resolution Officer” and urges the business owner to provide accounting records prepared by a licensed professional, such as an attorney or CPA. 

Providing this information allows the scammers to comb through the accounting records for sensitive information such as bank account numbers and other financial data, which could be used to make unauthorized transactions, request fraudulent tax refunds, and even apply for loans under the name of the business. 

Although these counterfeit notices bear the department’s name and logo, the notices include suspicious and inaccurate details that can help differentiate between a counterfeit notice sent by a scam artist and a legitimate notice sent by the Department of Revenue, he said.  

There are signs that business professionals can look out for according to the department: 

  • The counterfeit notice does not include a return address. A notice from the Department of Revenue will always include an official Department of Revenue address as the return address.
  • The counterfeit notice addresses the recipient as “Dear Business Owner.” When the Department of Revenue attempts to contact a business through a notice in the mail, the notice typically addresses the business owner or business name.
  • The counterfeit notice is sent by the “Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Tax Investigation & Enforcement Unit” and claims the business is “under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Revenue and Cash Disbursement Unit.” While the department does conduct criminal tax investigations and tax enforcement, the units listed on the counterfeit notice are phony. Reach out to the department directly, as advised below, to determine if the “Unit” named exists.
  • The counterfeit notice claims that the business has not registered their “entity with the Pennsylvania Department of State and The Sales and Use Tax Division.” If you are an established business in Pennsylvania, it is likely that you already registered your business with the Pennsylvania Department of State and have registered for a sales tax license by completing the Department of Revenue’s PA Online Business Entity Registration (PA-100).

The Department of Revenue is encouraging Pennsylvania businesses to keep the following tips in mind to safeguard against this scam: 

  • Ensure You Are Speaking With Legitimate Representatives of the Department: This scam uses the Department of Revenue’s name and logo to pose as a government entity. If you have any doubt at all about the legitimacy of a notice from the department, you should reach out to a department representative by using the Online Customer Service Center. This allows the taxpayer to securely submit a question through a process that is very similar to sending an email. 
  • Examine the Notice: This counterfeit notice used vague language to cast a wide net to lure in as many victims as possible. Examine the notice for identifying information that can be verified. Look for blatant factual errors and other inconsistencies. If the notice is unexpected and demands immediate action, take a moment, and verify its legitimacy. 
  • Conduct Research Online: Use the information in a potentially counterfeit notice, such as a name, address or telephone number, to conduct a search online. The Department of Revenue’s website, revenue.pa.gov, is the best source to verify information contained in a legitimate notice from the department.  

Anyone concerned about a fraudulent notification can visit the department’s Verifying contact by the Department of Revenue webpage for verified phone numbers and contact information. This will help individuals know they are speaking with a legitimate representative of the department. 

 

Revenue department extends personal income tax return deadline

Taxpayers in the commonwealth have an extra 90 days to file their 2019 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns, as the deadline has been extended from April 15 to July 15.

Penalties and interest on 2019 personal income tax payments have also been waived through this new deadline, according to a recent announcement from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

State revenue department officials announced changes last week to the due date for filing personal income tax returns amid Gov. Tom Wolf’s mandated closure of non-life-sustaining business operations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The extension falls in line with the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) extension of the federal filing of tax returns to July 15.

“This is a necessary step that will give Pennsylvania taxpayers extra time to file their returns and make tax payments during a difficult time for everyone,” said state Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell. “Particularly for those who plan to meet with a tax professional to prepare their returns, the new deadline will help everyone follow the governor’s guidance to stay at home as we all work to prevent the spread of the virus.”

State revenue department officials are still urging taxpayers who are able to file their returns electronically to do so, which will enable the department to continue to process returns while commonwealth offices are closed.

 

Trade groups request, receive sales tax waiver from Pa. Revenue Department

Businesses will not be penalized for failing to meet the March 20 Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) deadline, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue confirmed to Lehigh Valley Business.

The decision to waive the AST deadline, which normally occurs the 20th of every month, comes after trade groups asked the state to accommodate businesses whose cash flow has come to a halt because of mandated statewide closures in response to the coronavirus.

As for upcoming sales tax payment deadline in April, Revenue Department officials said they will waive the AST prepayment requirement, instead requesting that businesses remit the sales taxes collected in March.

Melissa Bova, vice president of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA), said the trade group was in talks with government officials to negotiate support for small businesses grappling with revenue shortfalls and that the top concern for the trade organization was the March 20 sales tax payment deadline.

“The situation is changing every hour and the focus of PRLA is the safety and welfare of hospitality industry employees, guests, and communities,” PRLA CEO John Longstreet said in an official statement from the trade group.

“We are advocating for the relief and recovery of the industry which includes economic and financial assistance, creating programs that commit funds to restaurants and hotels to survive closures and provide jobs for employees to return to,” he said.

Bova said cash flow is currently nonexistent in the industry her trade group represents and small businesses will need to save what money they do have to re-start once mandated closures of non-essential business operations have been lifted.

“Our businesses with rapidly depleting cash flow need economic stimulus or relief to survive these urgent times,” the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association said in an official statement. “PRLA suggests that Pennsylvania lawmakers delay the March 20 deadline for sales tax remittance and establish a sales tax holiday for businesses and consumers until this pandemic passes.”

Industry lobbyists are also working with regulators to expedite processing of unemployment benefits for the 120,000 Pennsylvanians who submitted claims this week following mandated statewide closures of non-essential and non-life-sustaining businesses.

“Legislators on both sides of the aisle have expressed support and agreement,” Bova said. “We believe this can be solved by fast-tracking benefits claims and doing their due diligence to get those benefits into our employees hands as fast as possible.”

State revenue up for the year, down for December

The state took in $2.9 billion in general fund revenue last month, which was $91.5 million short of projections, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue reported.

But even though December’s numbers were roughly 3.1% below expectations, Revenue Secretary C. Daniel Hassell said year-to-date general fund collections of $15.6 billion, $75 million, or 0.5%, above estimates.

Highlights from the December report included:

  • Sales tax receipts: $981.4 million, $6.7 million below estimates. Year-to-date total: $5.8 billion, up $42.7 million, or 0.7%.
  • Personal income tax revenue: $1 billion, up $18.9 million. Year-to-date PIT collection: $6.2 billion, up $93 million, or 1.5%.
  • Corporation tax revenue: $542.2 million, $80.7 million below estimates. Year-to-date: $1.7 billion, down $126.7 million, or 7.1%.
  • Inheritance tax revenue: $94.7 million, $7.7 million below estimates. Year-to-date: $555.7 million, up $14.3 million, or 2.6%.
  • Realty transfer tax: $53.4 million, down $6.1 million. Fiscal-year total: $281 million, down $2.8 million, or 1%.
  • Cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and gaming taxes: $183.2 million, down $1.9 million. Year-to-date: $930.6 million, down $3.4 million, or 0.4%.
  • Non-tax revenue: $24.2 million, down $7.3 million. Year-to-date: $261.5 million, up $57.8 million, or 28.4.
  • In addition to the general fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $206.3 million, up $8.4 million. Year-to-date: the fund, which includes gas and diesel taxes, licenses, fines and fee revenues, $1.4 billion, down $5.8 million, or 0.4%.
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