Washington, DC (MPG) - The Internal Revenue Service has an important reminder for taxpayers who filed for an extension and face an Oct. 16 filing deadline: The adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from their 2015 return may be needed to electronically file their 2016 tax return.

For those taxpayers who have a valid extension and are in or affected by a federally declared disaster area may be allowed more time to file. Currently, taxpayers impacted by Hurricanes HarveyIrma and Maria as well as people in parts of Michigan and West Virginia qualify for this relief. See the disaster relief page on IRS.gov for details.

As a reminder, taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax returns and supporting documents for a minimum of three years. Prior year tax returns are even more important as the IRS makes changes to protect taxpayers and authenticate their identity.

Extension filers should plan ahead if they are using a software product for the first time. They should have kept a copy of their 2015 tax return or if not, will need to order a tax transcript, a process that may take five to 10 calendar days. The AGI is clearly labeled on both the tax return and the transcript.

Taxpayers who prepare their own electronic tax returns are required to electronically sign and validate their return. Using an electronic filing PIN is no longer an option. To authenticate their identities, taxpayers will also need to enter either of two items: their prior-year AGI or their prior-year self-select PIN and their date of birth. If married filing jointly, both taxpayers must authenticate their identities with this information.

Generally, tax-preparation software automatically generates the prior-year AGI and/or self-select PIN for returning customers. However, taxpayers who are new to a software product must enter the prior-year AGI or prior-year self-select PIN themselves.

How to Find AGI; Plan Ahead if a Mailed Transcript Needed

The adjusted gross income is gross income minus certain adjustments. On 2015 tax returns, the AGI is found on line 37 of Form 1040; line 21 on Form 1040A and line 4 on Form 1040EZ. Taxpayers who e-filed and did not keep a copy of their original 2015 tax return may be able to return to their prior-year software provider or tax preparer to obtain a copy.

Those who lack access to their prior-year tax returns also may go to irs.gov/transcript and use Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail. A transcript is a summary of the tax return or tax account. There are various types of transcripts, but the Tax Return Transcript works best. Look for the “Adjusted Gross Income” amount on the transcript.

Taxpayers must pass Secure Access authentication in order to access Get Transcript Online and immediately access their transcripts. Those who cannot pass Secure Access authentication should use Get Transcript by Mail or call 800-908-9946, and a transcript will be delivered to their home address within five to 10 calendar days.

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Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Parkinson Association of Northern California (PANC) is holding its Annual Education and Information Conference at the Sacramento Convention Center on Saturday, October 21st from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The event will provide information, education, and inspiration to people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) along with their carepartners and family members and interested members of the community. Featuring regionally recognized expert clinicians and therapists in the field of movement disorders, the conference will highlight the future of the disease along with inspiration and tools to help attain the highest possible quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Additional Information about the event and registration options can be found by visiting the PANC website at www.panctoday.org. The cost to attend the event which includes a full-day of presentations, exhibit fair, and lunch is $25 per registrant.

“Our annual conference is an upbeat event of community, learning and connection. We educate attendees about the latest in Parkinson’s disease research and therapies and connect individuals who share challenges and successes with PD. We’re excited to host this event for our Northern California constituents and look forward to an uplifting day,” says PANC president, Nancy Kretz.

Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed in more than 50,000 Americans each year. We are asking for the assistance of the media to help make this event a successful one and provide this information and event coverage to your audiences who may have PD, know someone with PD, or possibly be diagnosed in the future.

The Parkinson Association of Northern California has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s, their families, and carepartners since 1996. We facilitate over 30 regional Support Groups, host the Annual Conference, publish a quarterly newsletter (Parkinson Path), offer financial support for caregiver respite, support medical community collaboration across healthcare providers, and more. We live our motto, ”Until there is a cure…hope and healing every day.” For more information see www.panctoday.org

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to increase in California, according to new statistics from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). These diseases are reportable to the state and local health departments. The data are presented in CDPH’s 2016 STD Annual Report: a summary can also be found on CDPH’s website.

Over a quarter million cases of STDs were reported in 2016, a 40% increase compared to five years ago including, 198,503 cases of chlamydia, 64,677 of gonorrhea, and 11,222 of early syphilis. Particularly concerning to health officials, 207 cases of congenital syphilis were reported. If not caught early, syphilis during pregnancy can result in congenital syphilis leading to stillbirth or permanent, lifelong disabilities. Syphilis can also cause permanent loss of vision, hearing and other neurologic problems in adults. If left untreated, STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection and lead to lifelong reproductive health problems.

“The number of reported STDs in California is increasing at a concerning rate,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “This is the third year in a row that we have seen increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.”

These three diseases can be prevented by consistent use of condoms, and they can be cured with antibiotics, so regular testing and treatment is very important, even for people who have no symptoms.  

Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates are highest among people under age 30. Rates of chlamydia are highest among young women, whereas males account for the majority of syphilis and gonorrhea cases.

Regular screening for STDs is recommended for people who are sexually active. STD services also provide opportunities for further prevention of HIV through testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

“All Californians need to know how to protect themselves and their partners,” said Smith. “Getting tested regularly is one of the most important steps.” A directory of where to get tested can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage.

CDPH is collaborating with the California Department of Education and community groups to implement the newly enacted California Healthy Youth Act, which mandates comprehensive STD/HIV prevention education in schools. For more information, go to the CDPH Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Branch website at www.cdph.ca.gov

Source: CDPH

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Volunteers Needed for AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program

By Anaí Ibarra, AARP  |  2017-09-22

Last year, 2,841 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers helped more than 184,276 people file their federal and state tax returns. Photo courtesy AARP.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation's largest volunteer-run tax preparation service

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is looking to expand its team of volunteers for the upcoming tax season. Soon approaching its 50th year, Tax-Aide offers free tax filing help to anyone, especially those 50 and older, who can’t afford a tax preparation service. Tax-Aide volunteers make a difference in their communities by assisting many older, lower-income taxpayers who might otherwise miss out on the credits and deductions they’ve earned.

A recent AARP survey of working Californians, entitled “CA Dreaming or Struggling,” reveals that a large percentage of Californians are not ready for retirement; and while they remain optimistic, many are struggling with issues of housing affordability and difficulty in saving for retirement.

Programs like Tax-Aide, says AARP California State Director Nancy McPherson, can help.

“Considering the difficulty many Californians are having making ends meet, a program like Tax Aide, which helps people save every dollar they can, is that much more valuable,” she said.

Tax-Aide volunteers receive training and support in a welcoming environment. There is need for volunteer tax preparers, client facilitators, those who can provide technical and management assistance and interpreters. Every level of experience is welcome. Volunteer tax preparers complete tax preparation training and IRS certification.

Last year, 2,841 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers helped more than 184,276 people file their federal and state tax returns. The program is offered at approximately 378 sites in California, including senior centers, libraries and other convenient locations.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has grown remarkably since its inaugural team of just four volunteers in 1968. The program now involves nearly 35,000 volunteers and serves 2.5 million taxpayers annually at some 5,000 sites nationwide with free tax help. In 2017 taxpayers who used AARP Foundation Tax-Aide received $1.37 billion in income tax refunds and more than $222 million in Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). Taxpayers do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this program. 

To learn about our volunteer opportunities, visit www.aarpfoundation.org/taxaide  or call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277). AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in coordination with the IRS. 

AARP Foundation works to ensure that low-income older adults have nutritious food, affordable housing, a steady income, and strong and sustaining bonds.  AARP Foundation is the affiliated charity of AARP.      

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Hey Man, Let’s Talk Pot

By Corey Egel, CDPH  |  2017-09-18

CDPH Launches Cannabis Public Education Campaign

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has launched a health information and education campaign about what’s legal in California and potential health impacts of cannabis use. Senate Bill 94 (SB 94) - Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) - makes it legal for adults 21 or older to possess, consume and cultivate cannabis in California. Sale of cannabis from licensed retail outlets will become legal January 1, 2018. 

CDPH received funding to develop a campaign, as detailed in SB 94, describes: The scientific basis for restricting access of cannabis and cannabis products for persons under the age of 21 years; The penalties for providing access to cannabis and cannabis products to persons under the age of 21 years; The potential harms of using cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding; The potential harms of overusing cannabis or cannabis products.

“CDPH engaged in extensive conversations with stakeholders in California and partners in other states with legalized cannabis to target the most vulnerable populations and apply their lessons learned,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “We are committed to providing Californians with science-based information to ensure safe and informed choices.” CDPH has and will continue to incorporate the latest data available into public messages to increase awareness about how cannabis affects bodies, minds and health.

On CDPH’s website, individuals can find information about legal, safe and responsible use, and health information for youth, pregnant and breastfeeding women, parents and mentors, and health care providers. CDPH produced fact sheets with safe storage tips and the important things Californians need to know about purchasing and possessing cannabis for personal use. An educational digital toolkit for local governments and community organizations will be available in the future.                                                                                                                                               

For additional information, visit the Let’s Talk Cannabis web page at www.cdph.ca.gov

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Circus Vargas Comes to Town

MPG Staff  |  2017-09-18

Show Unveils Original New Production- SteamCirque!

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Circus Vargas returns to to the Sacramento region, embarking on a brand new epic adventure under the big top! The biggest American, Animal-Free traveling Big Top circus is making a splash across California and will be entertaining the Sacramento area Residents from September 21 through October 15, 2017 with its latest hit production, SteamCirque!

The Big Show includes goggles, gears, and gadgets setting the stage for Circus Vargas’ retro-futuristic new production.  Join them on a journey of fantastic proportions where children of all ages will marvel at the wacky and wonderful cast of characters that come alive in this exciting steampunk, science- fiction fantasy inspired circus odyssey!

Arrive 45 minutes early for an entertaining, interactive pre-show celebration, where kids can create their own magic under the big top, learning circus skills such as juggling, balancing and more!   Meet and mingle with the entire cast after each performance.  Capture the fun by posing for pics or selfies with your favorite cast members, all part of an unforgettable Circus Vargas experience!

The Storyline presents an eccentric group of adventure seekers stumble upon a traveling circus in an imaginary Victorian city, far, far-away. SteamCirque’s peculiar protagonist, part magician-part inventor, attempts to industrialize the circus by incorporating his steam powered mechanical contraptions into the ordinary, typical circus rigging, filling the big top with new,  imaginative acrobatic apparatus for the artists to perform their acts. It becomes a test of wills, the  steampunkers versus the circus folk,  who will win? Audiences will have to come and see to find out!!

For Circus Vargas performance dates, times and to purchase tickets, visit www.circusvargas.com, call 877-GOTFUN-1 (877-468-3861) or visit the box office at each location.

Follow Circus Vargas on Facebook and Twitter for updates, discounts and behind the scenes video.

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State Easing of Public Safety Laws Emboldens Criminal Behavior

From the Office of Senator Jim Nielsen  |  2017-09-14

Senator Jim Nielsen

 

Killer of Sacramento Sheriff's Deputy had Lengthy Record and Was Wanted by Federal Authorities

According to authorities, Thomas Daniel Littlecloud fired multiple shots at officers who knocked on the front door and walls of a motel room in their search for a different parolee's room. Littlecloud struck and injured two CHP officers before he attempted to exit through the back balcony. Using a high powered assault rifle, he shot Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Robert "Bob" French, who died on the way to the hospital.

"Convicted criminals like Thomas Littlecloud should not have been allowed out on our streets," said former Chair of the Board of Parole Hearings Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). "State laws, court decisions and initiatives have turned the criminal justice system inside out."

Senator Nielsen added, "The lack of meaningful penalties has emboldened career criminals like Littlecloud. This individual has been apprehended with firearms on multiple occasions."

Since the passage of Assembly Bill 109 and Propositions 36, 47 and 57, criminals like Littlecloud now face diminished to no consequences for their continued criminality.

Senator Nielsen and others have made many attempts to strengthen laws to protect police officers and the public.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature denied passage of his proposals to support public safety. Earlier this year, Senator Nielsen introduced Senate Bill 652 to change current law to require that felons with firearms would return to state prison if they had been previously convicted of a violent felony. Even this modest change was rejected in committee.

Unfortunately, the weakening of the state's criminal justice system allowed for the release of convicted felons like cop-killer Littlecloud whose criminal record spans 14 years.

The San Francisco Chronicle laid out the "extensive criminal history" of Littlecloud's life that included: Assault on officers and first responders; Drug possession; Robbery; Grand theft; Assault with stun gun; Battery on emergency personnel; Two counts of assault on peace officer or firefighter; Six counts of assault with or possession of firearms; Federal indictment on charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, using a counterfeit credit card and identity theft.

"Littlecloud's wide-ranging criminal behavior speaks for itself. Legislative acts, court decisions and initiatives facilitated this behavior," Senator Nielsen added.

Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba

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