Last Thursday, the Manitowoc Herald Times published a story entitled: “Walker’s top 2015 priority: Cut property taxes.” In this story, Governor Walker said he remains committed to cutting property taxes. He added – “My goal going forward, as we put together the next budget, is to continue this trend so that four years from now, in December 2018, we can look back and say ‘Property taxes are lower in ’18 than they were in ’14.”This is good news for WIB and its members. Property tax relief is a top legislative priority and elimination of the state’s personal property tax would be wholly consistent with the Governor’s goals.
Cheaper Gas and Diesel in 2015
Earlier this month, the United States Energy Information Agency (EIA) announced its latest petroleum price projections for 2015. According to the EIA, regular gasoline retail prices are projected to average $3.37/gallon in 2014 and $2.60/gallon in 2015. Diesel fuel prices are projected to average $3.82/gallon in 2014 and $3.07/gallon in 2015.If these projections hold, American consumers will be spending far less at the pump and businesses will see a reduction in shipping costs. The benefits of lower fuel prices extend beyond relief at the pump.Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the nation’s economy. Lower gas prices are expected to save American consumers about $100 billion next year – money that is likely to flow back into the local economy.
Scam Alert: Tax Preparation Fraud
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is asking for help from the public to be on the lookout for questionable tax and loan practices and to report any suspicious activity to the agency. In particular, DATCP is concerned about one type of tax and loan scam that has repeatedly surfaced over the past couple of years which involves tax preparation businesses filing returns on behalf of consumers without their consent. These businesses initially solicit the consumers’ business with a promise of providing short-term loans. DATCP offered the following tips to businesses to avoid tax preparation fraud:
a) be alert to promotions such as “holiday loans” or other
short-term loans that can be used to gain the personal
financial information needed to file an individual’s tax return;
b) be careful providing personal financial information to a
business unless you want the preparer to file your taxes.
Make sure you provide clear direction and that the company
specifically advises you on whether they intend to file your
c) never sign an authorization permitting a company to file
your taxes if you do not want the company to do so;
d) never sign a document without first reading and
understanding what it says;
e) always insist upon receiving copies of all documents that
you are required to sign or that identify the terms of a
transaction and the charges you will be required to pay; and
f) confirm, before signing, that you will receive copies. If a
business does not agree to provide copies, don’t sign.
DATCP works with the Wisconsin Departments of Justice and Revenue to detect tax preparation fraud. Anyone suspecting fraudulent activity is encouraged to file a complaint with DATCP.
Complaints can be filed online through the DATCP website (http://datcp.wi.gov) or a complaint form can be requested by calling the state’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-422-7128.
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Wisconsin Independent Businesses