A reader: I am writing regarding your column in the Fresno Bee on Dec. 27, 2016. I would suggest a bit of clarification to your comment that “Only ‘enrolled agents’ can represent you before the IRS if there is a mistake on your tax return.” Actually the IRS allows three types of credentialed tax preparers to represent taxpayers:
1. Enrolled agents
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The term “enrolled agents” has a specific meaning to the IRS and requires an individual meet certain requirements and pass a multi-part exam. For more information, see ‘IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2016-02, January 15, 2016’ at fblinks.com/taxtip
Action Line: Thank you for the clarification. I am happy to share this with our readers, and now another question from another reader.
A reader: Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get fit. I don’t know why I do this to myself every year but I managed to pick up five pounds over the holidays. I’m going to join a fitness club. I just need some help to make sure I pick the right one. Can you offer any advice?
Action Line: First, shop around. Visit the gym to see if it is the right atmosphere for you. Then:
▪ Read the renewal policy: Make sure you understand how to cancel or approve a new contract and keep track of that date.
▪ Know the terms after the introductory offer ends: Many gyms lure new members by using an introductory special, discounts, or free months. Be sure to read the fine print and know exactly what the payments will be after the special ends.
▪ Know how to get out of your contract: Some gyms charge early termination fees for breaking your contract before your renewal date. Be sure to read the contract carefully so you know what steps to take just in case you do have to cancel.
▪ Don’t allow the gym to automatically withdraw money from your checking account: Always use a credit card or electronic bill pay instead to avoid the risk of the gym withdrawing money after ending your contract.
▪ Don’t give into high-pressure sales tactics: Take your time when choosing a new gym. Don’t feel pressured to sign right then and there. Any reputable gym or fitness club will give you plenty of time to thoroughly read your contract, give you a tour of the facility, and answer any questions you have.
▪ Get everything in writing: If an employee at the gym promises you something to entice you, then make sure to get it in writing. That way there is no dispute later on. Also, always read the fine print in your contract and know exactly what you are signing.
Before signing up with any gym or weight loss program check the company out at bbb.org. If you have any problems or issues with the service, feel free to provide us with a customer review about your experience.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.