Vol. VII No. 11 - Tuesday
March 11, - March 17, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


BUSINESS & TRAVEL
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

I.R.S. Update on Economic Stimulus Payments

Convention and Exhibition Bureau offers free e-survey facility

Warning - Phishing scams involving proposed I.R.S. advance payment checks

Tee-off at Angkor

Government declares March 13 as National Elephant Day

ICCM “litter-pick” a great success

I.R.S. Update on Economic Stimulus Payments

“File your 2007 return - we’ll do the rest”

The Internal Revenue Service is advising taxpayers that in most cases they will not have to do anything extra this year to get the economic stimulus payments beginning in May. “If you are eligible for a payment, all you have to do is file a 2007 tax return and the IRS will do the rest,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff. The IRS will use information on the 2007 tax return filed by the taxpayer to determine eligibility and calculate the amount of the stimulus payments.
The IRS will begin sending taxpayers their payments in early May after the current tax season concludes. Payments to more than 130 million taxpayers will continue over several weeks during the spring and summer.
Stimulus payments will be direct deposited for taxpayers selecting that option when filing their 2007 tax returns. For taxpayers who haven’t filed their 2007 returns yet, the IRS reminds them that direct deposit is the fastest way to get both regular refunds and/or stimulus payments. Most taxpayers just need to file a 2007 tax return as usual. No other action, extra form or call is necessary.
The law also allows for payments for select taxpayers who have no tax liability, such as low-income workers or those who receive Social Security benefits or veterans’ disability compensation, pension or survivors’ benefits received from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007. These taxpayers are eligible to receive a payment of $300 ($600 on a joint return) if they had at least $3,000 of qualifying income.
Qualifying income includes Social Security benefits, certain Railroad Retirement benefits, certain veterans’ benefits and earned income, such as income from wages, salaries, tips and self-employment. While these people may not be required normally to file a tax return because they do not meet the filing requirement, the IRS emphasizes they must file a 2007 return in order to receive a payment. “Some people receiving Social Security and veterans’ benefits may not realize they will need to file a tax return to get the stimulus payment,” Stiff said. Eligible taxpayers who qualify for a payment will receive an additional $300 for each child who qualifies for the child tax credit.
Payments to higher income taxpayers will be reduced by 5 percent of the amount of adjusted gross income above $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for those filing jointly.
Taxpayers must have valid Social Security Numbers to qualify for the stimulus payment. If married filing jointly, both taxpayers must have a valid Social Security Number. And, children must have valid Social Security Numbers to be eligible as qualifying children.
Contributed by Joseph E. Krebs, CPA, a Thailand based U.S. tax practitioner. For additional information, go to http://www.us-taxpayers.com.


Convention and Exhibition Bureau offers free e-survey facility

Meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau has launched a new e-survey service that gives Thai meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions suppliers a free in-depth market research and analysis product.
The e-survey, which has been on a trial run since November last year, allows event organisers to make use of TCEB’s survey and analysis system in a format that can be customised for each event. The system is expected to lessen the use of paper surveys and save time with its automated analysis report feature. TCEB has so far provided e-survey and analysis reports to four events in Thailand, including the Bio Asia 2007 exhibition and conference held in Bangkok from November 7 to 9, 2007 by SLM Management and Thailand’s National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
SLM Management marketing director, Ms Nonglak Jitjeankhan, said TCEB’s e-survey had proved useful as it obtained delegates’ feedback on a macro basis by regarding Thailand as a MICE destination and hence allowed the company to learn more of delegates’ travelling patterns and needs. TCEB president, Mr Natwut Amornvivat, said the e-survey would help enhance the global competitiveness of the local MICE suppliers who could use the survey results to effectively respond to both event delegates’ needs and the fast-changing global market. (TTG)


Warning - Phishing scams involving proposed I.R.S. advance payment checks

Beware of emails and phone calls using I.R.S. name!

IRS officials are cautioning taxpayers to be aware of scams involving proposed advance payment checks. Although the government has not yet enacted an economic stimulus package in which the IRS provides advance payments, known informally as rebates to many Americans, a scam using the proposed rebates as bait has started. The goal of the scams is to trick people into revealing personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, which the scammers can use to commit identity theft. Some examples of scams are listed below.
Rebate phone call
Scam: Consumers receive a phone call from someone identifying himself as an IRS employee. The caller tells the targeted victim that he or she is eligible for a sizable rebate for filing his or her taxes early. Fact: The IRS does not gather the information by telephone.
Refund e-mail
Scam: The IRS has seen several variations of a refund-related bogus e-mail, which falsely claims to come from the IRS, telling the recipient that he or she is eligible for a tax refund for a specific amount. Fact: The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mail about tax account matters to individuals or businesses.
Audit e-mail
Scam: An e-mail notifies a recipient that his or her tax return will be audited. It may contain a salutation in the body addressed to the specific recipient by name. Fact: The IRS does not send unsolicited, tax-account related emails to taxpayers.
Paper check phone call
Scam: In a current telephone scam, a caller claims to be an IRS employee who is calling because the IRS sent a check to the individual being called. The caller states that because the check has not been cashed, the IRS wants to verify the individual’s bank account number. Fact: The IRS does not contact taxpayers to verify bank information.
The only official IRS web site is located at www.irs.gov.
People who have received a questionable e-mail claiming to come from the IRS may forward it to a mailbox the IRS has established to receive such emails, [email protected] Those who have received a questionable telephone call that claims to come from the IRS may also use the [email protected] mailbox to notify the IRS of the scam.
Contributed by Joseph E. Krebs, CPA, a Thailand based U.S. tax practitioner. For additional information, go to http://www.us-taxpayers.com.


Tee-off at Angkor

Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa hotel in Cambodia has inked a partnership agreement with the new Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap, which opened in December 2007.
Its guests can play at the Nick Faldo designed, 18-hole PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association)-standard championship golf course at discounted green fees and at preferred tee-off times. They can also use the services of four caddies dedicated to Victoria Angkor’s guests.
The golf course is located 10 minutes away from the hotel by car and transfer is provided at no extra charge. (TTG)


Government declares March 13 as National Elephant Day

Ngan Chang Event to open at Airport Plaza

The Press Launch of the ‘Inspired Creativity Collection’,
at Denchai Trading Estate. Anchalee Kalmapijit, (second left),
wears one of the designs, together with Junnapong Saranak, (centre),
the Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s northern office.

The Thai Government has declared that National Elephant Day in Thailand will be on March 13. Anchalee Kalmapijit, in her role as the President of the ‘Hug Elephant Club’, along with Maetaman Elephant Camp, will exhibit 40 creations from the ‘Inspired Creativity Collection” at Ngan Chang event in the Northern Village area of Central Airport Plaza situated on the first and second floors. The event will run from Thursday March 13 until Monday March 31. The British designer Lawrence Goldberg and the Thai designer Apinporn Kiratibhumidhama collaborated to produce over 40 unique designs which were then painted by elephants at the Elephant Life Experience. The objectives of the exhibition are to publicize the development of Elephant Art in Thailand, and to fund the Thai Elephant conversation campaign.


ICCM “litter-pick” a great success

Lanna International School students join in

Joint forces clean up the environment.

This week is a week for celebrating. One of Chiang Mai’s most beautiful tourist spots was made even more beautiful by the combined powers of two groups of community-minded locals. The International Citizens of Chiang Mai joined forces with the Lanna International School Community Service Group to take part in a litter pick at the Huay Kaew waterfall near the base of Doi Suthep.
Armed with little more than plastic gloves, black bags and civic pride the group managed to gather at least seven full bags of litter from the popular waterfall. “It was hard,” said one of the Lanna students, “because most of the litter we were collecting was small items like beer bottle tops and cigarette ends”. The most unusual thing found by the team was a discarded pair of men’s underpants. How someone loses their underpants at a waterfall was the topic of much discussion.
The team was thanked by the park authorities for the positive contribution they were making to the local environment, and hoped that their high profile visibility would be a positive influence on people visiting the waterfall at the time. It seems this may well have been the case; one volunteer, John Richard, described how one group of picnicking visitors had not only contributed their own garbage but actively helped by picking up other litter in their vicinity.
The success of the venture means that there will be another litter-pick organized in the not too distant future, possibly looking at one of the waterfalls further up the mountain in the park. Anyone interested in getting involved and helping to keep this beautiful area beautiful can contact the International Citizens of Chiang Mai on gumhakdoisuthep @yahoo.com.



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