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07 Mar 2016 
The following is a script from "The Future of Money" which aired on Nov. 22, 2015. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Shachar Bar-On and Alexandra Poolos, producers.

Tech giants like Google, Facebook, and PayPal are all steadily rolling out new-fangled services to turn our smartphones into digital wallets -- replacing cash and checks. And it's been reported that Apple is working on a new payment option to let iPhone users send money directly to one another -- as easily as a text message.

If this all seems cutting edge, you may be surprised to learn there's one country that adopted mobile money years ago: Kenya. Here in the U.S., we can use smartphones to pay for things, but you typically need to be linked to a bank account or credit card. In Kenya, you don't need a bank account, you don't need a credit history, or very much money for that matter, making this country in East Africa a giant experimental laboratory defining the future of money.

cellphonejpg.jpgAt a bus station in Nairobi, buses were not only loaded with humans and cargo, but with cash. It used to be the only way for people working in the cities to get money to relatives back in their remote villages.

Bob Collymore: You give the cash to the bus driver, and then you say, "When you get up to the village in Kakamega -- you will see someone at the crossroads. Give the money to him." Guess what happens? The money evaporates.

Bob Collymore, the CEO of Kenya's largest cell phone provider, Safaricom, says his company sought to solve the problem. While a majority of Kenyans don't have a bank account, eight in 10 have access to a cell phone. So in 2007, Safaricom started offering a way to use that cell phone to send and receive cash. They call it M-PESA: m stands for "mobile;" "pesa" is money in Swahili.

Bob Collymore: It is often referred to as Kenya's alternative currency. But safer and more secure.

Lesley Stahl: You're texting money?

Bob Collymore: You are effectively texting money.

"It is often referred to as Kenya's alternative currency. But safer and more secure."

Lesley Stahl: How sophisticated is the phone that you use for M-PESA? Is it a smartphone?

Bob Collymore: No, it's the cheapest phone you can have. It was designed to work at the lowest level of technology.

To get this currency you go to an M-PESA kiosk. I give the agent 3,000 shillings -- about $30 in cash, and she converts it to virtual currency on my account.

Lesley Stahl: This is pretty easy. It's not like opening a bank account.

There are 85,000 agents like her across Kenya, creating a giant grid of human ATMs. For most this is a side business: so a pharmacy will sell M-PESA or a roadside spice shop; this barber will give you a shave and Wayne Lippman M-PESA. And, yes, you can even buy M-PESA here.

Bob Collymore: This is bankless banking.

Lesley Stahl: You don't need all those branches.

Bob Collymore: You don't need the branches.

Lesley Stahl: You don't need the ATMs, windows.

Bob Collymore: Absolutely not.

Scrolling down the options on the phone menu: you can send money, withdraw cash, pay a bill, or buy goods and services. And everyone uses a PIN number for security. But this is not like paying with your smartphone in the U.S., because our devices are linked to a bank account or credit card. Most Kenyans who use M-PESA don't have a bank account: the phone is it.

kenyamain.jpgLesley Stahl: That's it?

Bob Collymore: Now you can spend that 3,000 shillings on anything!

[Daniel: I'm Daniel. Welcome in.]

Shopping in the name of journalism - I like this.

Lesley Stahl: Can I pay you in M-PESA?

Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. If you have it on the phone, just click the button and it goes.

Daniel says Kenyans use it for everything from taxis to taxes.

Lesley Stahl: Is it safer for you and for me to use M-PESA?

Daniel: Yeah, it's very safe.

Lesley Stahl: So do you use M-PESA to buy gas for the car?

Daniel: Absolutely.

Lesley Stahl: Do you pay all your bills with M-PESA?

Daniel: Most of my bills. In fact, I rarely go to the bank nowadays.

At my destination, I tried using the phone money.

Lesley Stahl: So, Daniel, I've never done this before. You're my very first M-PESA-

Daniel: M-PESA customer--

Lesley Stahl: Yeah.

Daniel: OK. I'll assist where necessary.

I typed in his mobile phone number, and the amount, the fare was 700 shillings, or $7.

Lesley Stahl: I'm going to give you a thousand.

Daniel: Oh, you're tipping with it. Thank you. God bless you, God bless you.

Lesley Stahl: I am. I am. Now, my PIN number.

Daniel: Your PIN number, yeah yeah. You have that?

Lesley Stahl: I have that. I have.

Daniel: Don't tell me that.

Lesley Stahl: No, I'm not going to tell you.

Daniel: That is for secret.

Lesley Stahl: OK, so what do I do now?

Daniel: Yeah. Now accept.

Lesley Stahl: Accept. OK.

Daniel: Yeah, it just come. [Bing!]

It Worked!

Lesley Stahl: And now I'm going to go spend some more money.

Anji: Hello.

Lesley Stahl: Hello.

Anji: How are you?

Lesley Stahl: I'm great. I love these bags. How much is this one?

Next, I buy a bag at Anji's curio shop with M-PESA.

previewkenya468770640x360.jpgLesley Stahl: Do you use it a lot in the store?

Anji: Yeah. It's like having bank in your pocket.

Lesley Stahl: This is really easy. Now that's the second time I've done it. I've sent it.

Anji: So wonderful!

My shopping ended with animals. No! I'm not buying a giraffe, but you can use your phone to feed one.

Lesley Stahl: Am I giving you your dinner?

While most transactions here are still in cash, M-PESA is used by over 19 million Kenyans or 90 percent of the adults -- from the well-heeled to the shoe shiner.

This technology was actually invented in England. But it is here in Kenya where innovation using M-PESA is taking off. We visited the iHub in Nairobi where local technology startups are inventing new ways to use mobile money.

ihub.jpgBob Collymore: And that mobile money system now acts as a terrific platform which a lot of other innovations has used as a springboard. And the new phrase around town is the Silicon Savannah.

Lesley Stahl: The Silicon Savannah?

Bob Collymore: Yeah, you have the Silicon Valley. And here it's the Silicon Savannah.

Today with M-PESA, Kenyans can get their salaries sent directly to their cell phones and they can open a savings account and earn interest on their cell phones.

We met Mary Tonkei, a Maasai dairy farmer, who sells milk in M-PESA, pays her farmhands in M-PESA, and even got a loan to buy more cows in M-PESA.

Lesley Stahl: And just a couple of buttons and then you buy a new cow?

Mary Tonkei: Yes.

Actually, Mary was able to buy two new cows. And she got a much better rate than she would've at a bank. Since the loan transaction was by phone, there was hardly any overhead.

Lesley Stahl: So it sounds like you're rapidly increasing your business.

Mary Tonkei: Yes, I'm increasing my business.

Lesley Stahl: Business is good?

Mary Tonkei: Yes. It's good.

We were surprised at how much M-PESA has changed life for the poor. In a slum called Kanaani, south of Nairobi, we met a pig farmer, Stephen Wainaina Waweru. Before M-PESA, like most Kenyans, he had no electricity. He used to rely on a kerosene lamp for light:

Stephen Wainaina Waweru: It gives smokes here.

It emitted toxic fumes, could cause fires, and at $200 a year, kerosene wasn't cheap. But Stephen recently upgraded. He got solar power, and his first light bulb.

lesleysolarlight.jpgLesley Stahl: Pretty good. It's lighting your room.

Stephen Wainaina Waweru: Yes. It lights the room all over.

A company called M-KOPA Solar invented a way to provide inexpensive power to the slums using M-PESA.

Lesley Stahl: So where is the panel? Is it up here?

Stephen Wainaina Waweru: Yeah the panel is up there.

Lesley Stahl: Can you show it to me?

Stephen Wainaina Waweru: Yeah, I can. See, up. Lemme show you. Here it is!

Lesley Stahl: Oh my goodness, it's little.

The unit costs about $180 - less than kerosene but still out of Stephen's price range for a single purchase.

But he paid only $35 upfront and then 40 cents a day in M-PESA for a year. And he never has to leave the farm: all he does is click his phone, which activates a chip attached to the panel to turn it on.

Lesley Stahl: When you're finished paying it off--

Stephen Wainaina Waweru: It shall be mine. No more cost.

The solar panel has changed his life: he can tend to his pigs at night and his children can study indoors without breathing toxic kerosene fumes.

Past efforts to introduce solar panels to the slums failed, in part, because they were stolen. This has been solved because the same chip that turns the panel on can also disable it.

Lesley Stahl: So if you don't pay up, they turn your lights off? They have the ability to turn ev-

Stephen Wainaina Waweru: These guys, they are excellent, Madame. Because once I don't pay, they don't have to come to me. The light just goes off!

Providing drinking water is another way M-PESA is making a difference. Nearly a third of Kenyans do not have access to clean water, often relying on a river or water trucked in by donkey.

But the village of Njogu-ini got a new pump for its well. Villagers pay for clean water by texting M-PESA to this meter box -- which unlocks the pump. A villager can get a full month's worth of water for around $6.

For decades, development advocates implored banks to open branches in remote places, but it made little business sense: nearly half of Kenyans live on just $2 a day or less. Their financial transactions were just too small.

Bob Collymore: People don't buy a packet of cigarettes. They'll buy a cigarette. And so we need to be operating at that level. People don't buy a tube of toothpaste. If you go into the slums, you will see people buy a squeeze of toothpaste. And so you have to operate at that micro level.

Lesley Stahl: Now, how can that be viable for you as a company? It's like they have no money.

Bob Collymore: Because we believe that if we have now 19 million people transacting small amounts, making small amounts, it will add up. For each transaction, there is a small fee.

Lesley Stahl: How much money annually does Safaricom make from M-PESA in Kenya?

Bob Collymore: A quarter of a billion dollars.

Lesley Stahl: A quarter of a billion dollars?

Bob Collymore: Yeah. You don't have to be greedy to be successful.

And you can be successful if you don't have to build thousands of branches, and pay thousands of tellers. Actually, when M-PESA started, Kenya's commercial banks implored the government to impose regulations to impede its development, but the government decided to take a hands-off approach, which is pretty unusual.

Bob Collymore: The most effective barrier for the success of mobile money around the world is the banking lobby. The banking lobby in most parts of the world is a very strong lobby. And banks have looked at what's happened in Kenya and have decided that they don't want to see that happening in their own countries.

Lesley Stahl: "Not in my backyard,"

Bob Collymore: Exactly. The banking regulators have been persuaded that this is a threat to the banking industry.

Lesley Stahl: And it is, isn't it?

Bob Collymore: Well, you know, it's-- we live in a disruptive world. Uber came along and completely disrupted a number of things. Not just the taxi industry. Airbnb has come along and has disrupted. And so we are in a disruptive world. And we just need to--

Lesley Stahl: This is another one like that.

Bob Collymore: Yes, it is.

Lesley Stahl: It is.

Bob Collymore: It is.

Lesley Stahl: And so the banking industry isn't crazy.

Bob Collymore: No. No.

M-PESA does have drawbacks: there're real concerns of criminal enterprises, scams and money laundering. And while it has been introduced in other countries like India, Egypt, Afghanistan and Romania - it has stubbornly refused to catch on as it has in Kenya. But the head of Safaricom thinks it's just a matter of time.

Bob Collymore: Because mobile phones are becoming so much more ubiquitous. Every adult in the world will have a mobile phone. And if you have that tool in your hands, imagine the things you can do.

We found among the Kenyans we met that M-PESA is igniting a real sense of patriotism. Just ask my cab driver Daniel.

Daniel: It is one of the best things that has happened to our country. But that makes you feel proud! And now you feel you are Kenyan!

Lesley Stahl: Yeah, you think of Kenya you don't think of high-tech.

Daniel: "Innovation," you know?

Lesley Stahl: Yea.

Daniel: That tells you now in the new world order anything is possible.

2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

17 Feb. 2016 
Why pay someone to file your Wayne Lippman Accounting tax returns, when you can do it yourself for free?

It's called "Free File," and Internal Revenue Service spokesman Eric Smith says it's available for those in the low- to middle-income tax bracket.

"If your income is $60,000 or less, you qualify," he says. "Last year, about 3.2 million people took advantage of that service."

You can find Free File at It's part of a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance that lets qualifying taxpayers choose from leading brand-name tax software programs.

"Its the big names and some names that may be less familiar," Smith says. "Over a dozen companies participate in the program."

Since 2003, more than 43 million people have used Free File. If you prefer, however, you can still file your taxes the old-fashioned way without spending a dime.

"We can all file for free by doing it with paper and pencil," Kevin McCormally of Kiplingers Personal Finance magazine says.

The forms you need are as close as your nearest post office.

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09 En 2016 
Frustrated with the amount of self-employment (SE) tax you pay each year? You should be. The sole proprietor pays twice as much in SE tax (15.3%) as the employee pays in federal payroll taxes (7.65%). What's a Schedule C filer to do? Here are three ways to reduce the dreaded SE tax.

1. Take the home office deduction. Have you been mislead by the never-ending rumor that the home office deduction increases the chances of an audit? Such talk is bogus, and to believe it is to needlessly pay too much tax. Here's why: Don't forget that when you take a deduction on Schedule C, you are not only reducing income tax, you are also reducing SE tax. Some folks think that they are getting the same bang for their buck without the home office deduction because they can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on Schedule A. But this is foolish thinking, because a Schedule A deduction only reduces income tax, while a Schedule C deduction reduces both income tax and SE tax.

2. Deduct tax preparation fees on Schedule C instead of Schedule A. The logic here is similar to Item #1 above. Tax Walnut Creek preparation fees are deductible on Schedule A, but why deduct them there when you can deduct them on Schedule C and get more bang for your deductible buck?

Also keep in mind that when deducted on Schedule A, tax preparation fees are only deductible, along with other "Certain Miscellaneous Deductions", to the extent they exceed 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income. So even though you have enough deductions to itemize them on Schedule A, you may not have enough of these miscellaneous deductions to actually deduct them. That's taxes for ya!

One word of caution, however. You can only deduct tax prep fees on Schedule C to the extent those fees apply to business Accounting Tips work done by your accountant. So you will probably have to ask your accountant to breakout his fees into business forms (like Schedule C, Schedule SE, Form 8829 and Form 4562) and non-business forms (like Form 1040 and Schedule A).

Remember, too, that your accountant might also do work for you that is exclusively business related, such as bookkeeping, software consulting, paycheck processing or payroll tax returns. Those types of fees are 100% deductible on Schedule C.

3. When it comes to calculating SE tax, get some help. The self-employment tax calculation is complicated. While the SE tax appears to be a straightforward 15.3%, it is actually a little less than that, for two reasons. First, you pay the SE tax on 92.35% (not 100%) of your Schedule C profit. And second, you get to take a deduction on Form 1040 for 50% of the SE tax. And while you must pay the Medicare portion of SE tax on all your profit, there's a limit to how much profit (plus W-2 wages) are subject to the social security portion of SE tax. How do you navigate those calculations? You don't. You spend a few bucks on a decent tax prep software program and let the computer prevent your head from spinning, or you hire a tax professional.

Author's Bio:

Looking for more small business tax tips? For a free copy of the 25-page Special Report "How to Instantly Double Your Deductions" visit

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14 Dic 2015 

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Accounting firms investing in a single, integrated, end-to-end workflow solution are seeing time-saving performance improvements when processing tax returns as well as improved ability to efficiently serve more clients. Those are some of the key findings in a new survey and white paper released today by Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting US, Laying the Foundation for Firm Success in 2016: Complete, Integrated Solutions in and out of the Cloud.

Teresa Mackintosh, President & CEO of Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting US, CCH Software, presented survey details in this mornings keynote address to tax and accounting professionals attending the CCH Connections: User Conference 2015 in Las Vegas one of the accounting industrys premier educational and peer networking events of the year. The independent, nationwide survey of more than 450 accounting professionals, conducted in August by the Aberdeen Group, revealed that integrated solutions support a firms ability to grow clients, increase productivity with staff and ultimately improve their bottom line. It also sheds light on the extraneous costs and pitfalls that come with the adoption of point solutions, or the disparate systems many firms use today to run their businesses and serve their clients.

According to the survey, firms with integrated solutions reported:

A 5%, on average, improvement in the time it takes to complete a tax return over the last 12 months. This time saved percentage increases the overall productivity and efficiency in the firm, which has a direct impact on the bottom line. An 8% improvement in the number of clients served over the last 12 months. This directly impacts the revenue opportunities for the firm. A 5% improvement over the last 12 months in the number of employees needed to complete a tax return. This means that reducing the manual data entry and shuffling of files through various systems is freeing up valuable talent in the firm to focus on higher-value services and more client collaboration opportunities. This may also indicate that the concern within the profession to find and keep qualified staff could be alleviated by utilizing technology tools and integrated solutions to automate the tax workflow as much as possible, therefore requiring fewer resources dedicated to data entry.

This years survey results underscore the need for firms to take a closer look at the technologies they are using to run their firms amidst stiff competition for clients and talent, and increasing demands from clients to provide better service, said Mackintosh. The data suggests that an integrated solution can have a real, measurable impact that can far outweigh the costs of implementing such a solution, which is a critical and telling finding of which tax professionals should take note.

The survey also identifies the top pressures that firms face now and in the coming year, with recruitment and retention of knowledgeable talent identified as the biggest pressure point. Finally, the survey defines attributes of highly effective firms and identifies top strategies that these firms employ.

The majority of highly effective firms (56%) have their solutions fully integrated with one centralized database or have at least fully integrated multiple solutions, and the benefits they see are plentiful, continued Mackintosh. They are able to do more with less utilizing 9% fewer solutions to support their business while enjoying reduced costs, increased employee retention and more accurate service delivery.

For More Information

The Laying the Foundation for Firm Success in 2016: Complete, Integrated Solutions in and out of the Cloud survey and results whitepaper is now available. Download it for free at

About the Survey

This survey was conducted online in August 2015, with 450+ accounting professionals specializing in tax, audit, CFO/consulting and other financial services at CPA-led firms with two to 500+ employees. This survey was conducted for Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting, by Aberdeen Group, a major market research company.

Follow the 2015 CCH User Conference

Keep track of whats happening at this weeks CCH Connections User Conference 2015 in real time on: Twitter (@CCH_UC, #CCHUC15) andFacebook.

About Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting US

Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting US ( is a leading provider of tax, accounting and audit information, software and services. It has served tax, accounting and business professionals since 1913. Among its market-leading solutions are the CCH ProSystem fx Suite, CCH Axcess, CCH IntelliConnect, CCH IntelliConnect Direct, CCH Accounting Research Manager and the U.S. Master Tax Guide. Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting US is based in Riverwoods, IL. Follow us on Twitter @WKTAAUS_PR.

Wolters Kluwer, Tax & Accounting US is a part of Wolters Kluwer (, a market-leading global information services company. Wolters Kluwer had 2014 annual revenues of 3.7 billion ($4.2 billion), employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 40 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Its shares are listed on NYSE Euronext Amsterdam (WKL), on Bloomberg (WKL NA) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

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12 Dic 2015 
Kim Kardashian has filed divorce from Kris Humphries on Monday, just 72 days after the couple tied the knot.

The date of separation is listed as October 31, 2011, according to court papers.

Kardashian cited irreconcilable differences in her filing, and asked that Humphries be denied spousal support.

The reality star had Humphries sign a prenuptial agreement.

Ryan Seacrest, who produces Kardashians TV shows, first confirmed the news via Twitter, adding that a statement will be forthcoming.

RELATED Kim Kardashian Weds Kris Humphries!

The couple wed on August 20.

Despite reports that the major falling out happened over Humphries partying, were told one of the deciding factors was actually Kardashians unwillingness to leave Los Angeles, where her family and career are.

Check out PHOTOS from Kim & Kris brief honeymoon

Follow @GossipCop on Twitter!

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