SACRAMENTO REGION, CA - The Internal Revenue Service today offered taxpayers still working on their 2017 taxes a number of tips. These basic tips are designed to help people avoid common errors that could delay refunds or cause future tax problems. 

As the April 17 deadline approaches, the IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. Doing so, whether through e-file or IRS Free File, vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. Free File Fillable Forms means there is a free option for everyone.

Request extra time

Anyone who needs more time to file can get it. The easiest way to do so is through the Free File link on IRS.gov. In a matter of minutes, anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an extension on Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and pay any amount due.

Alternatively, people can complete a paper copy of Form 4868 and mail it to the IRS. The form must be mailed with a postmark on or before April 17. Download, print and file it anytime fromIRS.gov/forms.

Taxpayers are reminded, however, that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. Tax payments are generally due April 17, and taxpayers should pay as much as they can to avoid possible penalties and interest.

Make a payment, get an extension

In addition to using Free File to get a filing extension, taxpayers can pay all or part of their estimated income tax due and indicate that the payment is for an extension when using IRS Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or paying by a credit or debit card. By selecting “extension” as the reason for the payment, the IRS will also accept the payment as an extension – no need to separately file a Form 4868. Taxpayers will also receive a confirmation number after they submit their payment. When paying with Direct Pay and EFTPS taxpayers can sign up for email notifications.

Any payment made with an extension request will reduce or, if the balance is paid in full, eliminate interest and late-payment penalties that apply to payments made after April 17. The interest rate is currently 5 percent per year, compounded daily, and the late-payment penalty is normally 0.5 percent per month.

Refunds

The safest and fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to have it electronically deposited into their bank or other financial account. Taxpayers can use direct deposit to deposit their refund into one, two or even three accounts. See Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, for details.

After filing, use “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or download the IRS2Go Mobile App to track the status of a refund. It provides the most up-to-date information. It’s updated once per day, usually overnight, so checking more often will not generate new information. Calling the IRS will not yield different results from those available online, nor will ordering a tax transcript.

The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.

Special instructions for paper filers

Math errors and other mistakes are common on paper returns, especially those prepared or filed in haste at the last minute. These tips may help those choosing this option:

  • Fill in all requested Taxpayer Identification Numbers, usually Social Security numbers, including all dependents claimed on the tax return. Check only one filing status and the appropriate exemption boxes.
  • When using the tax tables, be sure to use the correct row and column for the filing status claimed and taxable income amount shown.
  • Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign.
  • Attach all required forms and schedules.
  • Mail the return to the right address. Check Where to File on IRS.gov.    

 

Penalties and interest

 

By law, the IRS may assess penalties to taxpayers for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline. Taxpayers who are thinking of missing the filing deadline because they can’t pay all of the taxes they owe should consider filing and paying what they can to lessen interest and penalties. Penalties for those who owe tax and fail to file either a tax return or an extension request by April 17 can be higher than if they had filed and not paid the taxes they owed.

The failure-to-file penalty is generally 5 percent per month and can be as much as 25 percent of the unpaid tax, depending on how late the taxpayer files. The failure-to-pay penalty, which is the penalty for any taxes not paid by the deadline, is 0.5 percent of the unpaid taxes per month.

Installment agreements

Qualified taxpayers can choose to pay any taxes owed over time through an installment agreement. An online payment plan can be set up in a matter of minutes. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement application to set up a short-term payment plan of 120-days or less, or a monthly agreement for up to 72 months.

Alternatively, taxpayers can request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request. This form can be downloaded from IRS.gov/forms and should be mailed to the IRS along with a tax return, IRS bill or notice.

Owe tax?

Taxpayers who owe taxes can use IRS Direct Pay or any of several other electronic payment options. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment. Or, mail a check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury” along with a Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher.

For further help and resources, check out the IRS Services Guide.

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Coach Guy Anderson Honored by the ABCA

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-04-13

Recipients of the 2018 ABCA Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award: Longtime Stanford Cardinal head coach Mark Marquess (left) and Guy Anderson (right) with award committee chair Tom O’Connell. Photo courtesy American Baseball Coaches Association

Discusses Storied Career and the Current State of Baseball

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - “I’ve been accused of being old school; which I am,” professed legendary baseball coach Guy Anderson.

I sat down with the winner of 927 high school ballgames for a cup of coffee in Gold River on what was a perfect day for baseball. I showed up early, but Anderson was already there, sitting outside. Meeting with him for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only heard stories.

Despite the crowded patio, I knew exactly who Anderson was. You can always tell with baseball guys. We quickly jumped into conversation, as if we’d picked right back up from our last one. The spry, 85-year-old had freshly returned from a Spring Break tournament in Anaheim. Now the assistant coach for Capital Christian High School, Anderson led the Cordova Lancers program for 45 years, winning 17 league titles, five section titles and coaching 24 players who would eventually be drafted by Major League organizations.

Earlier this year he received the American Baseball Coaches Association Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award. He attended the awards ceremony at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis to accept the award last January. Anderson told me what an honor the award was and how much it meant to him, but also how fortunate he is to have been able to coach such great players throughout the years.

“I compare coaching a little bit to being a jockey,” he explained. “You don’t win on a donkey; you’ve got to have a stallion to win the big ones. I’ve had some pretty good guys that could play the game very well.”

For a man who has dedicated much of his life to coaching and teaching others, he has enjoyed the fact that this award is not just about him, but a recognition of who he is and what he so proudly stands for. “This award was outstanding for me, I’ve been fortunate to be put in a few Hall of Fames. Like I said, you’ve got to have the stallions - it’s important to have the players - but this one here was more, to me, about who I am.”

I asked the self-proclaimed “old school” coach how the game has evolved over the many decades of ballgames that he has taken part of. “If you start at the Major League level, it’s the money. The money is a big difference now and it’s an entertainment rather than a sport.”

Anderson then addressed the collegiate level, summarizing a recent game that he and his Capital Christian team attended when they were in Southern California for their tournament. “The college level is still good baseball and I’ll give you an example. The leadoff batter gets a base hit and the next guy lays down a sacrifice bunt. Early in the game, go get that first run.”

What Anderson stressed throughout our conversation about today’s game was that sacrifice bunting, or any sort of personal sacrifice at all, is a dying art – especially at the pro level. In last year’s 2017 MLB season, a record 6,105 home runs were hit, topping the 5,963 belted in 2000 at the height of the Steroid Era. Strikeouts set a record for the 10th straight season at 40,104 and sacrifice bunts fell to their lowest level since the year 1900 at 925. To put that last number into perspective, there were only eight teams in 1900 and they played anywhere between 140 and 146 games compared to the 30 teams and 162 game schedule in today’s game.

But individual numbers can mean a lot more than team wins and the kind of contributions that won’t show up in the box score to today’s young players. The pressures to perform at a high level have trickled down to a lower age group, making the game a more individualistic sport. Whereas only seniors used to worry about playing at the college level, now underclassmen are receiving recruitment letters and are forced to think about the future rather than living in the moment.

“Play now, play the best you can and good things will happen,” said Anderson. “Don’t worry about next year or you may not get there.” From early recruitment to travel ball to personal coaches and trainers, there are new politics in the game of baseball.

But Anderson also understands that when you’re in the game as long as he has been, things are bound to take on a different shape over time. That’s part of life. “We lost one thing in basketball a few years ago, and we’re losing it in baseball now, and that’s the same color shoes,” Anderson joked. “You go back to the military. You’re a team when you all look alike. And that’s why I’ve always liked the Yankees; they never put the name on the back.”

Coach Guy Anderson is the very embodiment of America’s pastime - a true throwback in every sense of the word; rich in history and accolades, but willing to accept the evolution of the game, whether he fully agrees with it or not. And that’s what great coaches do. They lay down a stern foundation of the history and fundamentals of the game, and the rest, the improvisation, is up to you. And when it comes right down to it, Anderson and the game of baseball may have evolved, but they’ll never truly change.

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CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Beginning with 2018-19 school year, students enrolled in The San Juan Unified School District will begin studying history and social sciences through a new lens, one that will push them to engage more deeply, think and write more critically and leave high school with a deeper understanding of state and local civics processes.

Also, a new law requires the inclusion of the study of historical contributions by individuals who have heretofore been omitted from the curriculum: members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, as well as those living with disabilities.

The changes, says Nicole Kukral, program specialist with The District’s Division of Teaching and Learning, stem from the 2012 adoption of Common Core standards, as well as mandates under The FAIR Act, established with the 2012 passage of SB 48.  Parents and members of the community will have a chance to preview the pending curriculum changes at an information night at the district’s offices on Tuesday, April 17 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the San Juan Unified board room at 3738 Walnut Ave., Carmichael.

So what’s changing exactly?  According to Kukral, new standards and texts (secondary materials) will require students to go beyond rote memorization of events, dates and facts.  They will need also to demonstrate an ability to analyze events critically, draw their own conclusions and express their views verbally and in writing.

Students also will be spending more time studying “primary” materials, such as copies of historical documents, journals, letters and maps created by historical and cultural figures of import.  For example, the study of Colonialism and Christianity in California has historically involved a somewhat one-dimensional lesson on the Franciscan Priest, Junipero Serra and perhaps an assignment to build a replica of one of the 21 California missions, with scant focus on the plight of the indigenous people who were converted in the process.

Under the new standards, students may study journals, not just by Father Serra himself, but also the writings, art work, letters and other documentation produced by the Mission Indians themselves to gain a broader understanding.

“Instead of being told what to think, students will be grappling with bigger questions, attempting to understand history and the social sciences through a multi-perspective lens,” said Kukral.  “The idea is that we are really shifting into understanding that history is more than just a collection of facts.”

The FAIR Act, says Kukral, widens the study of individuals who have helped shape historical change or events. Kukral said some of the changes may ruffle feathers, but she wants to reiterate that the new curriculum will focus on individuals’ contributions to society, not their personal lives.

“We know some of the changes, especially those following the law, will give some pause,” said Kukral.  “But The FAIR Act requires the study of the contributions from certain people and that we have students talk about their struggles for civil rights.  Where it applies, we will call out the fact that there are people in history who are or were lesbian and or gay.  But by no means do we intend to study the personal lives of these individuals.”

In May parents will have a chance to see the new text books, Kukral said.  Full implementation of the new materials and frameworks will take place during the 2019-2020 school year.

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Vietnam Veterans Officially Welcomed Home

By Elise Spleiss  |  2018-04-13

L-R: Gregory A. Miyata, Army Specialist 4, served as a medic in Vietnam 1970-1971 and Raymond M. Chow, E-3, U.S. Navy, 2 tours from 1968, on U.S.S. Sacramento munitions transport ship in Vietnam. Photo by Gigi Rayford

March 29 is Official Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - On March 29 Stones Gambling Hall, partnering with American Legion (AL) Post 637, sponsored a breakfast in honor of Vietnam War Veterans and the one-year anniversary of the signing into law of the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act.  

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania sponsored the bill during the 115th Congress.  It was signed into law by President Donald Trump, on March 28, 2017 to honor all Vietnam War veterans. March 29 is now officially among those days on which the American flag should be displayed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mayor Steve Miller thanked Stone’s and AL Post 637 for partnering to put the event together.  He said, “You left the warmth of family to serve a country you love.  You braved the line of fire and cast yourself into harm’s way to preserve the liberties we all hold dear. This is a story many of you here today know, and sadly it a story of many who never returned.”

Former mayor of Citrus Heights and now a Sacramento County Supervisor, Sue Frost, gave a short history of the Vietnam War / conflict.  She said, “The U.S. became involved in the Vietnam War because policy makers in the U.S. believed that if Vietnam fell to the Communist government that communism would spread throughout the rest of South East Asia.” 

She noted, “This day is set aside as a day for Americans to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who served in the Vietnam War, long deserved, and we all celebrate you today.”

Frost announced that the Sacramento Board of Supervisors recently voted unanimously to establish a Veterans Advisory Commission to keep the board of supervisors advised on issues related to veterans. This was the result of feedback from veterans she has met in the field who feel they do not have a voice in the county.

Kermit Schayltz, a partner at Stones, spoke about a five-day trip to Vietnam from which he had just returned.  He and some friends revisited some of the locations where he had served as an 18-year old in the 25th Army Infantry during two tours of service from 1968 to 1970.  While there he was introduced to two former Viet Cong, now in their 80’s. Schayltz said in a phone interview that he believed it was a healing process for both of them.

It is common belief by many that this bill is long overdue, especially in light of the negative and often hateful reception which many veterans returning home to the United States received following their tours of duty.

Therefore, in appreciation of Trump’s actions as the first president to recognize Vietnam veterans in this way, AL Commander Paul Reyes read a letter he wrote to Trump showing the post’s appreciation. Vietnam veterans attending the event signed the letter to be mailed by Reyes to the White House.

Reporter’s note: *While the term war is used, there was no official declaration of war.  Fighting began November 1, 1955; the U.S. entered the conflict / war 53 years ago on March 8, 1965 when the first American combat troops waded ashore at China Beach north of Da Nang.  The conflict / war ended April 30, 1975 when Saigon fell to the Communists.

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Center for Freedom and Flight to host event honoring the Legendary Tuskegee Airmen

By the Center for Freedom and Flight  |  2018-04-12

About the Center for Freedom and Flight:  Our mission is to honor America’s aviation heroes and technology of the past, present, and future. By providing impactful experiences through compelling exhibits, we provide a unique environment to cultivate interest and education to further the aviation industry.

A First of Its Kind Event on the West Coast

VACAVILLE, CA (MPG) - Heritage, The Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen is a first of its kind event in Northern California on Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd-3rd, 2018. The inaugural weekend long event will be held at the world-famous Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville, CA at the Center for Freedom and Flight. The purpose of this event is to honor the members and their families of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, educate today’s youth, and inspire future leaders in aviation.

Hosted by The Tuskegee Airmen Heritage Chapters of Greater Sacramento and Lee Archer Jr. (Travis AFB), Center for Freedom and Flight, Unsung Heroes: A Living History Project and EAA Chapter 1230 Nut Tree Airport.

Event highlights include Tuskegee Airmen and Heritage families in attendance, mobile Tuskegee Airmen museum, fly in with historically significant aircraft.

A fun-filled dinner and dance will be hosted on Saturday, June 2, 2018. The dinner dance will include a VIP cocktail hour, dinner, a hosted bar and music provided by the Harley White Jr. Orchestra. A free Community Open House will be held on Sunday, June 3, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/heritage-swing-under-the-wings-tickets-44894283009?aff=erelpanelorg

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Eagle Scout and Tenderfoot Scout to be honored with the Hornaday Award and Award for Heroism

ORANGEVALE, CA (MPG) - On Tuesday, April 17, Boy Scout Troop 107 of the Golden Empire Council will be conducting a Court of Honor which will include presentation of two National Scouting awards by the BSA.

Eagle Scout Gabriel Cline will be honored for work in the field of environmental conservation with the presentation of the William T. Hornaday award.  Named after the former director of New York Zoological Society and founder of our National Zoo, The Hornaday award recognizes scouts (youth) and scouters (adults) for excellence in resource conservation and stewardship.  On average, only 14 Hornaday awards are presented nationally each year.

Tenderfoot Scout Joseph Hudeck will also be honored by the BSA with the National Heroism award. Joseph (Joey) Hudeck, as a Cub scout at eight years old, took action to save a woman from drowning on Combie lake, near Lake of the Pines, CA by kayaking to the woman in distress and pulling her to shore.

The court of honor will be held in the large fellowship hall of First Baptist Church, Fair Oaks, 4401 San Juan Ave, beginning at 7pm. The national award recognition will be at the beginning of the program.

For additional information please contact David Hyde, Troop 107 Charter Organization Representative, at Hydeout5@comcast.net.

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SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today responded to the federal government’s request for additional California National Guard personnel with the following letter. The accompanying agreement, submitted this afternoon for review and approval by the federal government, can be found here.

April 11, 2018

Dear Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Mattis:

Pursuant to your request, the California National Guard will accept federal funding to add approximately 400 Guard members statewide to supplement the staffing of its ongoing program to combat transnational crime. This program is currently staffed by 250 personnel statewide, including 55 at the California border.

Your funding for new staffing will allow the Guard to do what it does best: support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, the coast and throughout the state. Combating these criminal threats are priorities for all Americans – Republicans and Democrats. That’s why the state and the Guard have long supported this important work and agreed to similar targeted assistance in 2006 under President Bush and in 2010 under President Obama.

But let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission. This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.

Here are the facts: there is no massive wave of migrants pouring into California. Overall immigrant apprehensions on the border last year were as low as they’ve been in nearly 50 years (and 85 percent of the apprehensions occurred outside of California).

I agree with the Catholic Bishops who have said that local, state and federal officials should “work collaboratively and prudently in the implementation of this deployment, ensuring that the presence of the National Guard is measured and not disruptive to community life.”

I look forward to working with you on this important effort.

Sincerely,

Edmund G. Brown Jr.

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