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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

HAPPY 4th of JULY from Gardner & Billing CPAs

In honor of Independence Day, the office of Gardner & Billing CPAs will be closed Monday, July 4th and will reopen with regular summer hours on Tuesday, July 5th.  

Have a safe and happy 4th of July and enjoy the local events taking place here in Broadus!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Local IRS Service Centers Now Requiring Appointments

Appointments Now Needed at IRS Tax Centers
Taxpayers in need of service at the following IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) will now need to call to schedule an appointment.
Billings, MT starting 5/23/16
Bozeman, MT starting 6/13/16
Great Falls, MT starting 6/13/16

Taxpayers requiring assistance should call 1-844-545-5640 or the local office number to schedule an appointment.  Please see the information below from the IRS website. 

Face-to-face Tax Help

IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) are your source for personal tax help when you believe your tax issue can only be handled face-to-face. Keep in mind, many questions can be resolved online without waiting in line. Through you can:

• Set up a payment plan.
• Get a transcript of your tax return.
• Make a payment.
• Check on your refund.
• Find answers to many of your tax questions.

We are now referring all requests for tax return preparation services to other available resources. You can take advantage of free tax preparation through Free File, Free File Fillable Forms or through a volunteer site in your community. 

Additionally, selected TACs now operate by appointment. If the office reflects “By Appointment” in the Days/Hours of Service column, follow the appointment link to request an appointment.

If you have a tax account issues and feel that it requires talking with someone face-to-face, visit your local TAC or request an appointment at those TACs that provide face-to-face assistance by appointment.

Caution: Many of our offices are located in Federal Office Buildings. These buildings may not allow visitors to bring in cell phones with camera capabilities.

Multilingual assistance is available in every office. Hours of operation are subject to change.

Before visiting your local office click on "Services Provided" in the chart below to see what services are available. Services are limited and not all services are available at every TAC office and may vary from site to site.

Street Address 
Days/Hours of Service 
2900 4th Ave. N.
Billings, MT 59101 
Monday-Friday - 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.)
(406) 247-7446 
1805 S. 22nd Ave.
Bozeman, MT 59718 
Monday-Friday - 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) 
**This office closes at 1:30 p.m. June 9**
 **This office is closed June 20 – July 5**
(406) 582-8671 
Great Falls 
11 5th St. N.
Great Falls, MT 59401 
Monday-Friday - 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
(406) 761-8095 
10 W. 15th St.,
Ste. 2300
Helena, MT 59626 
Monday-Friday - 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
(406) 441-1039 
275 Corporate Ave., Ste 120
Kalispell, MT 59901 
Monday-Friday - 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon)
(406) 752-6636 
taxpayer assistance
available at United
Way -Kalispell
1203 US Hwy 2 West
Kalispell, MT 59901
Tuesday & Thursday - 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
(406) 752-6636
2681 Palmer St.
Missoula, MT 59808 
Monday-Friday - 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
(Closed for lunch 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
(406) 728-9127 
* Note: The phone numbers in the chart above are not toll-free for all locations. When you call, you will reach a recorded business message with information about office hours, locations and services provided in that office. If face-to-face assistance is not a priority for you, you may also get help with IRS letters or resolve tax account issues by phone, toll free at 1-800-829-1040 (individuals) or 1-800-829-4933 (businesses). 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Remembering D-Day - June 6, 1944 (Part 2)

D-Day Landings: June 6, 1944
By dawn on June 6, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were already on the ground behind enemy lines, securing bridges and exit roads. The amphibious invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture beaches code-named Gold, Juno and Sword, as did the Americans at Utah Beach. U.S. forces faced heavy resistance at Omaha Beach, where there were over 2,000 American casualties. However, by day’s end, approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.  According to some estimates, more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.

Less than a week later, on June 11, the beaches were fully secured and over 326,000 troops, more than 50,000 vehicles and some 100,000 tons of equipment had landed at Normandy.

For their part, the Germans suffered from confusion in the ranks and the absence of celebrated commander Rommel, who was away on leave. At first, Hitler, believing the invasion was a feint designed to distract the Germans from a coming attack north of the Seine River, refused to release nearby divisions to join the counterattack. Reinforcements had to be called from further afield, causing delays. He also hesitated in calling for armored divisions to help in the defense. Moreover, the Germans were hampered by effective Allied air support, which took out many key bridges and forced the Germans to take long detours, as well as efficient Allied naval support, which helped protect advancing Allied troops.

In the ensuing weeks, the Allies fought their way across the Normandy countryside in the face of determined German resistance, as well as a dense landscape of marshes and hedgerows. By the end of June, the Allies had seized the vital port of Cherbourg, landed approximately 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy, and were poised to continue their march across France.

Victory in Normandy
By the end of August 1944, the Allies had reached the Seine River, Paris was liberated and the Germans had been removed from northwestern France, effectively concluding the Battle of Normandy. The Allied forces then prepared to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet troops moving in from the east.

The Normandy invasion began to turn the tide against the Nazis. A significant psychological blow, it also prevented Hitler from sending troops from France to build up his Eastern Front against the advancing Soviets. The following spring, on May 8, 1945, the Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Hitler had committed suicide a week earlier, on April 30.

What does the D Stand for?
You might at first be inclined to think the abbreviation is similar to V-Day (Victory Day).  Indeed, one commonly touted explanation given for the meaning of the “D” in D-Day is that it stands for “designated day.” Others claim it stands for “decision day”, “debarkation”, or even “deliverance day.” Even General Dwight Eisenhower, or at the least his assistant, weighed in when Eisenhower received a letter asking for an explanation of the meaning of D-Day. His executive assistant wrote back stating D-Day was a shortened version of “departed day”. However, the evidence at hand doesn’t seem to support Eisenhower’s (or perhaps just his assistant’s) claim.

Hints of the true meaning can be found long before WWII in a U.S. Army Field Order dated September 7, 1918. The order stated that “The First Army will attack at H hour on D day with the object of forcing the evacuation of the St. Mihiel Salient.”

In that context, and with numerous combat operations that followed over the years, D-day referred to the “day” on which a combat attack would occur with H-hour likewise referring to the “hour” when an attack is scheduled to happen. Thus, the “D” is just a placeholder or variable for the actual date, and probably originally was meant to stand for “date” or “day” (if anything), if the associated “H-hour” is any indication.

The use of D-day allows military personnel to easily plan for a combat mission ahead of time without knowing the exact date that it will occur. Given that planning for the most famous of all D-day’s in June of 1944 started way back in 1943, and that, due to factors like optimal tides, only a few days in a given month were suitable for the launch of the invasion, trying to fix a firm date in the planning process was pointless, even close to the time of the attack. By simply assigning the attack to occur on “D-day”, it solved this issue, and had the side benefit of keeping the date of the attack a secret as long as possible, just one of the many methods of deception the military employed to try to confuse the German brass with regards to the pending invasion.

As alluded to, the D-Day that occurred on June 6, 1944 was not the only D-day during World War II and it certainly was not the last, as this method of planning for military operations continues to this day. Of course, because the D-day at the Battle of Normandy was, and continues to be, the most famous of all given that designation, it seems unlikely in the foreseeable future that it will be usurped in people’s minds when someone mentions “D-Day”, despite the military continuing to occasionally use this designation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Remembering D-Day - June 6, 1944 (Part I)

Following on the tail of Memorial Day, we thought it appropriate to reflect and remember the events of D-Day.  The following excerpt is from
During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Code-named Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

Preparing for D-Day
After World War II began, Germany invaded and occupied northwestern France beginning in May 1940. The Americans entered the war in December 1941, and by 1942 they and the British (who had been evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940 after being cut off by the Germans in the Battle of France) were considering the possibility of a major Allied invasion across the English Channel. The following year, Allied plans for a cross-Channel invasion began to ramp up. In November 1943, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), who was aware of the threat of an invasion along France’s northern coast, put Erwin Rommel (1891-1944) in charge of spearheading defense operations in the region, even though the Germans did not know exactly where the Allies would strike. Hitler charged Rommel with finishing the Atlantic Wall, a 2,400-mile fortification of bunkers, landmines and beach and water obstacles.
In January 1944, General Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) was appointed commander of Operation Overlord. In the months and weeks before D-Day, the Allies carried out a massive deception operation intended to make the Germans think the main invasion target was Pas-de-Calais (the narrowest point between Britain and France) rather than Normandy. In addition, they led the Germans to believe that Norway and other locations were also potential invasion targets. Many tactics was used to carry out the deception, including fake equipment; a phantom army commanded by George Patton supposedly based in England, across from Pas-de-Calais; double agents; and fraudulent radio transmissions.

A Weather Delay: June 5, 1944
Eisenhower selected June 5, 1944, as the date for the invasion; however, bad weather on the days leading up to the operation caused it to be delayed for 24 hours. On the morning of June 5, after his meteorologist predicted improved conditions for the following day, Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord. He told the troops: “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.”
Later that day, more than 5,000 ships and landing craft carrying troops and supplies left England for the trip across the Channel to France, while more than 11,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.