The Blog

Tax Fraud Back in the Limelight

Tax Fraud Back in the Limelight The subject of tax fraud often makes the news headlines somewhere around the opening of tax season and it appears that Tax Season 2106 is no exception. Numerous state tax agencies, including Illinois, Hawaii, Utah and, most recently, South Carolina, have already announced tax refund delays due the threat of identity theft and tax refund fraud. Although the Internal Revenue Service has not issued any similar notices of delay, they have nonetheless issued bulletins warning taxpayers of potential fraudulent activity and suggesting precautions to take to combat it. The refund delays announced by certain states are the result of increased security measures that have been put in place to prevent identity theft and other types of tax fraud. A … Continue reading

Where is My Tax Refund?

Where Is My Tax Refund? The IRS has announced that the recently opened 2016 tax season started off on a good note. In fact, they reported the receipt of thousands of tax returns on opening day with no major filing issues. It has also been reported that the average wait time for a tax professional to speak to an IRS representative is ten minutes in comparison to wait times of over an hour last year. Although it is still very early in the game, expectations are high for a smooth and easy tax season. This includes the issuing of tax refunds which is the aspect of tax filing that is usually of highest interest to taxpayers. If you have filed your tax return and are anxiously awaiting your refund, you are … Continue reading

Some Critical Year-End Tax Considerations

Some Critical Year-End Tax Considerations Very few important tax decisions have been passed down in 2015 and, with only a few weeks to go, it appears that we may move into the New Year with some important tax matters still unresolved. Some of the critical tax issues hanging in the balance as we move into 2016 are the tax extenders legislation, internet taxation and the licensing of tax preparers. All of these topics are in one stage or another of being discussed and considered by Congress but have not made it through the legislative system to be signed into law. With less than a month to go, it will be interesting to see if any of these measures are enacted before the end of the … Continue reading

Security Summit Focuses on Identity Theft

Security Summit Focuses on Identity Theft In March of this year, all of the major players in the tax industry came together to focus on the problems of identity theft and tax refund fraud. Their aim was to have safeguards in place before the beginning of the 2016 filing season. This convocation, identified as the Security Summit, includes the IRS, state tax authorities, and representatives from the tax software and financial services industries. Tax Commissioner John Koskinen, who has called the Security Summit an “unprecedented effort,” maintains that income tax fraud “is not a battle the IRS can fight alone.” He went on to say that identity theft has “become a serious threat to the nation’s tax system” and one that must be dealt with … Continue reading

Charitable Contributions Require Documention

Charitable Contributions Require Documentation Although charitable contributions can amount to a significant tax savings, they can also have the negative affect of flagging a return from audit when they are claimed in excess or not reported according to preset IRS guidelines. A case in point is that of Kunkel versus United States Tax Commissioner. In this 2011 United States Tax Court case, the court disallowed over $37,000 in noncash contributions due to lack of substantiation. While the Kunkels maintained that the value of each donation was less than $250, the court questioned the total amount of the contributions. They pointed out that the total donation amount could have only been achieved by making almost 100 trips to various donation sites. In addition, the Kunkels had … Continue reading

Focus on Trump’s Tax Plan

Focus on Trump’s Tax Plan Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently proposed an innovative new tax plan that he maintains would simplify the tax code and reduce both individual and business taxes while, at the same time, remaining revenue neutral. With Trump currently the front-runner in several of the major polls, Americans were especially interested to hear what he had to say about income taxes. In a nutshell, his plan proposes simplifying the tax code by eliminating loopholes and reducing tax brackets, expanding the 0% income tax bracket for individuals, lowering taxes paid by businesses of all types and eliminating the estate tax. Here are some of the key provisions of his tax plan:  Simpler Tax Code Trump’s plan would drastically simplify the tax … Continue reading

Jeopardy Assessments Allow IRS to Freeze Assets

Jeopardy Assessments Allow IRS to Freeze Assets The recent tax troubles of Barcelona soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos serve to point out the very powerful nature of tax collection agencies. Earlier this month, a Brazilian judge froze almost $50 million in assets to prevent to Neymar from hiding funds that might be needed to cover a tax debt with the Brazilian government. The total amount of the freeze was apparently equal to 150% of the soccer star’s estimated tax debt and included, not only his personal assets, but also those of family members. Although this particular jeopardy assessment was initiated by the Brazilian counterpart of the IRS, we are reminded that our own tax collection agency is equally as powerful. When collection of an … Continue reading

Franchise Tax Board Assessment Stopped

Franchise Tax Board Assessment Stopped Just one month after finalizing an Offer in Compromise with the Internal Revenue Service, Mr. C contacted Professional Tax Resolution with another tax settlement issue. Having successfully settled his federal income tax debt for less than 20% of the initial amount owed, he now needed our services to help with resolving an outstanding tax liability with the State of California. Just prior to contacting our firm for the second time, he had received and official notice from the California Franchise Tax Board informing him that he owed a back tax amount of 80K for tax year 2005. This amount included both penalties and interest that had been compounding over time. Mr. C was both confused and upset when he received … Continue reading

Pros & Cons of Outsourcing the Collection of Tax Debt

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing the Collection of Tax Debt The Senate Finance Committee has recently revived their discussion of outsourcing the collection of back taxes. According to certain estimates, turning the collection of delinquent taxes over to private collection agencies would save the government more than two billion dollars over a period of ten years. However, opponents of privatization maintain that this would not be the case. In addition to emphasizing the potential threat to taxpayer security, they point to attempts at outsourcing the collection process that have not worked particularly well in the past. Time will tell whether the Treasury Secretary, who currently has the authority to make such a switch, will give it another try. Those who favor privatizing the collection of … Continue reading

Tax Fraud Brings Serious Consequences

Tax Fraud Brings Serious Consequences It turns out that tax fraud brings serious consequences as evidenced by the sentencing, earlier this year, of Rashia Wilson to 21 years in prison for multiple counts of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. Ms. Wilson, otherwise known as the “Tax Fraud Queen,” was originally convicted and sentenced in 2013 when she plead guilty to stealing over $3 million dollars in a tax refund scam. Her original sentence, which was thrown out on appeal in 2014 due to errors in applying sentencing guidelines, was reinstated earlier this year. From April of 2009 through September of 2012, Rashia Wilson and several accomplices were successful in carrying out a scheme that defrauded the federal government of approximately $3.1 million in tax … Continue reading

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