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STRATEGIC TAX LAWYERS:  TAX BLOG

FBAR Requirements

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

FBAR, known as Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, are meant for U.S. taxpayers who hold international bank accounts, mutual funds and trusts. Taxpayers with foreign financial accounts or Americans living overseas with foreign bank accounts or other assets need to file an FBAR online, since the paper forms are not being used anymore, in order to report their financial status. FBARs are also required of U.S. citizens if they serve in the United States military in a base outside the U.S. This process if in place so that all U.S. taxpayers will file their federal income tax returns even if the accounts are outside the contiguous United States.  FBARs are required by law for all U.S. citizens even in they pay local taxes in the foreign country they live in.  As part of the FBAR requirement, if someone has over $10,000 in a foreign bank account, then there needs to be an FBAR filed. The FBAR is in addition to a federal income tax return.  If taxpayers with offshore bank accounts do not follow the requirements, then they can face IRS audits which lead to penalties. 


The Strategic Tax Lawyers are tax relief lawyers who specialize in FBARs. Advice for taxpayers who have international bank accounts at any time during the year will be required to file an FBAR. If a taxpayer is not in the U.S. during tax season, they are still responsible for filing their tax return and they must report their entire foreign income held in overseas bank accounts.  Any global income earned is subject to income taxes.  


When filing an FBAR, taxpayers need to report the correct exchange rate on their tax return in U.S. dollars if the income is earned in the country’s foreign currency. The tax relief lawyers recommend using the average exchange rate on the FBAR so that the income is accurately reported that year.  If any income was earned on specific days,  then the exchange rates can be used for those specific days. 


FBAR requirements can be confusing or complex, so it may be best to consult with an experienced IRS tax attorney or tax relief lawyer, such as the Strategic Tax Lawyers. 


If you are a U.S. citizen with foreign assets who think they have a tax obligation, contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775.  The Strategic Tax Lawyers can provide taxpayers with a free consultation to discuss the FBAR and your options.



Updates on Innocent Spouse Relief

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Is the Internal Revenue Service sending you correspondence about a tax debt that began when you were married and filed a return with your spouse, yet you were not aware if they didn’t report income or if they took false deductions? If so, you need the professional assistance of the Strategic Tax Lawyers, expert Innocent Spouse Relief Tax Attorneys, who can help you to determine if you qualify for innocent spouse relief. It’s important to know that when spouses file jointly and they both sign the tax return, the IRS does hold both parties responsible and accountable for the tax liability.  However, if the tax debt is not paid by either party, then the IRS will go after both the individuals for the entire amount. If the couple is now divorced, and the IRS is still hounding you for payment, then you may qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief. The assistance of a qualified attorney may be necessary for Innocent Spouse Relief since it can be very difficult to obtain from the IRS.  There have been many cases denied.


The IRS has developed guidelines to provide innocent spouses with equitable relief from income tax liability. This program helps innocent spouses, as well as victims of domestic violence, by extending the amount of time taxpayers can apply for innocent spouse relief and eliminating the two-year time limit that currently applies for innocent spouse relief requests. From now on, if a new innocent spouse relief request will be requested, then the two-year time limit will no long be valid. Instead, the 10-year deadline will become a permanent law. If someone was previously denied an equitable innocent spouse relief request due to the two-year limit, they may reapply, assuming the statute of limitations for the number of tax years involved has not gone over the limit. 


Innocent Spouse relief can help individuals, such as single mothers who filed a tax return with their spouse and now face a tax bill. This relief service is aimed to assist people who have no idea that their spouse is responsible for a tax liability, such as understating or underpaying taxes. This in effect means that the "innocent" spouse is associated and responsible for tax liability as well. Every year, there are nearly 50,000 taxpayers who request innocent spouse relief.  Many of these requests are from victims of physical violence or domestic disputes. 


The professionals at the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are Innocent Spouse Relief Tax Attorneys, IRS Levy attorneys and Penalty Abatement Attorneys who specialize in the tax code with over 15 years of experience in tax-related and IRS issues. Contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free case consultation or a free analysis to see if you qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief. 




Learn about tax avoidance from business tax attorneys

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The latest news about tackling tax avoidance has surfaced within the European Commission (EC). Tax avoidance is the legal use of tax laws to reduce one's tax liability. Individuals have the right to reduce the amount of taxes they pay as long as it is by legal means. However, tax avoidance is often viewed as tax noncompliance.  Thus, each year there are billions of euros that get lost to tax avoidance. This leads to individuals and businesses paying higher taxes. 

The EC plans put an end to aggressive tax planning.  The tax authorities plan on sharing tax information about individuals with citizenship to more than one country. Some officials would rather see that tax information made available in the public domain. 

Last week, 31 members of the EC signed an agreement to combat companies from using aggressive tax plans that result in the avoidance of paying corporation tax. The new agreement will put into effect the notion that it will be more difficult for companies to hide assets in tax havens or pay taxes in a country with lower tax rates since they are multinationals. 

The new agreement will stop common tax avoidance methods; recommendations will be made to prevent tax treaty abuse; tax authorities will share tax-related information on multinationals

In the United States, tax avoidance is also an issue. In fact, companies in Corporate America are interested in reducing their taxes. Many U.S based companies have moved their corporate offices to Europe in order to reduce the taxes they are liable for.  Some companies split themselves in two to cleave off a division that can operate as tax-free. Companies are constantly looking for tax loopholes or creating new ones in order to avoid the high rates of corporate taxes they are responsible for. 

The U.S. federal government is looking to change the corporate tax code. There are more and more corporations moving overseas, which is costing the U.S. government billions of dollars over the next decade. 

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are experienced business tax attorneys, estate planning attorneys and offshore attorneys who have counseled clients about the protection of their assets and offshore tax havens.  These IRS tax lawyers can help you plan how to remove guesswork to prevent any issues.  The Strategic Tax Lawyers offer free and confidential consultations about estate planning, estate tax exemption, will & trusts and tax-related issues. Call today at (800) 669-4775 if you need assistance.




What is IRS Penalty Abatement?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

If you neglect to pay your tax debt, this amount can practically double in about 4 years’ time because of penalties and interest that can accrue. There are ways to avoid the interest on the debt either partially or completely through abatement, also known as elimination that is based on just cause.


To find out if you qualify for penalty abatement, it’s best to contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP.  The Strategic Tax Lawyers firm is headed by a former IRS attorney with over 10 years of experience representing the government. As part of our team, he the expertise and experience to help cut your tax liability and get your life back. Our team has assisted clients who are overwhelmed with business taxes and tax debt, as well as eliminating excess penalties.  


Not all people can qualify for penalty abatement, and the process for penalty abatement is not a quick one. However, if you can afford to pay off a minimum of 75% or pay off the debt in its entirety, then you may be able to qualify. The tricky part is that you will need to convince the IRS that you are not responsible for the penalties. The Strategic Tax Lawyers can assist you with this matter. 


Many times, there are factors out of your control that influence on your tax debts that create substantial financial hardship, including bankruptcy. You can qualify for penalty abatement if your business records were lost or destroyed in some type of accident or catastrophe. Were there certain circumstances that caused you or your business to have a substantial drop in collecting on accounts receivable or was there some internal transition in the company that caused a failure to pay taxes? You may also qualify if there was a civil disturbance, a death or serious illness which affected the business or personal income. Other circumstances that can influence if you qualify for penalty abatement is if you can prove you were wrongly advised by a CPA or IRS employee in making tax decisions and have reasonable documented proof of such consultation. 

 

You can file for penalty abatement by (1) sending the IRS a written letter stating your case and requesting a refund of penalties; (2) requesting an in-person interview to explain your case and how you qualify for penalty abatement; or (3) use the official IRS form on the website called the Penalty Abatement Claim Form. We advise that you have all documentation current. 


If you want to find out more about IRS Penalty Abatement, then contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers, a firm of IRS Tax Attorneys who specialize in abatement. The Strategic Tax Lawyers have extensive training and experience in a multitude of IRS-related matters and the IRS tax code.  If you have any legal issues with the IRS related to your taxes, call the Strategic Tax Lawyers today at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation.  You will get your issue resolved in the most efficient manner possible.




Is the US the Next Tax Haven?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

If you’ve paid attention to the Strategic Tax Lawyer blogs over the few years, then you’re aware that the United States is fighting the war on tax havens globally. The IRS and Justice Department are the tax powers that instill fear around the world.  To date, the U.S. put an end to the historical Swiss banks and has made financial institutions worldwide comply with the IRS to divulge the U.S. account holders. The U.S., through Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), has fought to make these foreign banking instructions and governments hand over information about U.S. citizens with bank accounts overseas.

FATCA requires global foreign banking institutions to give the U.S. details about Americans holding bank account details or else they will face hefty penalties. The penalties associated with not providing information about American’s foreign accounts withhold a maximum of 30% on most transactions.  Also, FATCA requires that American bank accounts that have more than $50,000 will need to be disclosed. If the financial institutions do not comply, then FATCA will deny those companies with access to the U.S. financial markets.  There are over 100 nations who have agreed to FATCA’s rules.

However, it is interesting that there are reports that claim the U.S. is the newest tax haven.  This so-called report is claiming that the U.S. is worst when it comes to tax haven.  That means worse that the Swiss and the Cayman Islands. Is it true that the U.S. is not complying with the global pact to provide bank data information in order to target tax evasion?  We want to believe that the IRS has joined in on the cause since they preached for this global fight.

The U.S. is now ranked as third, up from sixth place, in tax haven standings. The U.S. is large, which means the size of its offshore sector is large. U.S. does not provide information about itself easily to other countries, even though it has insisted on ending foreign banking secrecy. 

The IRS does offer a voluntary disclosure offshore tax haven program for Americans to disclose their accounts before they get caught red handed. The penalty has increased to 50% (instead of 27.5%). This Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is a safe and easy way to come clean about offshore tax havens. 

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are a firm of established Offshore Tax Attorneys. We, at the www.mytaxattorney.com , are experts in the IRS tax code with years of experience dealing with offshore tax evasion and other tax-related matters.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your case.




Hiding Money in Offshore Bank Accounts

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Taxpayers who avoiding paying their tax liability by keeping money hidden in unreported offshore accounts is a violation of the tax law.  The IRS is enforcing any actions related to hiding money in offshore bank accounts, and is also discouraging taxpayers from trying to illegally hide money and income offshore.  The IRS has options for taxpayers to pay their taxes and to get their tax filing obligations in order.  


In 2009, the IRS started the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) allowing for nearly 55,000 voluntary disclosures totaling over $8 billion collected.  In addition, tens of millions of dollars has been returned to the IRS due to thousands of audits related to offshore bank accounts. Taxpayers have faced criminal charges due to their actions, which also brought in billions of dollars in criminal fines. 


If you have an offshore bank account and have not disclosed to the IRS, you may need a good tax attorney.


The IRS has a top priority to put an end to offshore tax evasion. This is a major goal for the IRS, even with their increased staff layoffs and budget reductions. In previous circumstances, offshore bank accounts targeted taxpayers into illegal tax scams. These scams have led to major penalties and interest charges, including criminal suits. The IRS will do anything to put criminals behind bars.


Hiding income overseas is one of the most common ways to evade paying U.S. taxes. The individual would then use a debit or credit card to have access to the funds. There were other ways to have ties to the hidden income overseas, which include foreign trusts, private annuities or insurance plans. Fortunately, the IRS is able to access information from their investigations to go after taxpayers with undeclared offshore bank accounts.  In addition, the IRS will pursue the banks and bankers who assisted their clients with hiding their money in financial accounts overseas. There are many valid reasons to keep financial accounts abroad, and there is nothing illegal about it. The problem comes about when individuals fail to follow the reporting requirements that the IRS requires, which is illegal. If U.S. taxpayers with overseas bank accounts do not comply with the reporting requirements, then that action is illegal and the law is being broken. The repercussions are severe, which include penalties, fines, and possible criminal prosecution.


The OVDP has allowed for tens of thousands of individuals to voluntarily reveal their foreign bank accounts, and in return, they receive a way to resolve their tax obligations with the IRS. 

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We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers and we are IRS tax attorneys and experts in the tax code. We have years of experience working with the IRS and negotiating deals for our clients. The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are a firm of taxation attorneys, Intent to Levy attorneys, Fresh Start attorneys and experts in Offer in Compromise.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters.




Real Estate Tax Tips From Estate Tax Experts

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Strategic Tax Lawyers are tax attorneys who are experts in real estate tax tips. Real estate deals are usually a profit maker and there has been an increase in foreign real estate investment to increase profits. But you may wonder…is the gain taxable or not?  The Strategic Tax Lawyers are real estate tax experts that have helped clients with the tax implications of selling property.


If you earn a profit from the sale of your real estate, also known as a capital gain, than that can be excluded from your taxes if you used that property as your primary residence for at least two out of the five years before you sold.  The IRS states that the most a tax that can be excluded is $250,000.  Also, there may be a chance that the capital gain is not taxable, so you won’t need to include the sale your tax return. It is a good idea to report the property sale to the IRS whether you claim an exclusion or not.  Under the tax law, you are able to exclude the capital gain from your main home only once in a two year period. More importantly, if you own more than one home, then you can only exclude the sale of the primary home. Unfortunately, if money was lost on the sale of the property, you cannot deduct that amount.


The Strategic Tax Lawyers are expert estate planning attorneys!


Most recently, foreign investors have infiltrated the U.S. commercial real estate market. real estate tax experts are predicting that even more foreign investments will take place because of leaner tax changes from December 2015. The legal changes to foreign investing in real estate are expected to make worldwide companies and pension funds on an even playing field with their U.S. colleagues. The real estate market could possibly see more foreign investment in commercial real estate with high valuations.


Last year, there was a significant rise, which quadrupled since four years ago, in foreign investment in U.S. commercial real estate. In the last quarter of 2015, foreign investors took advantage of the tax changes that month which caused one of the highest months ever recorded in foreign investments. This is not good news for U.S. investors, who are dealing with increased valuations and competition to get real estate. Some of the most popular markets for foreign investors include have been Los Angeles, Manhattan, Chicago Boston, and Washington, D.C.  More interest is being focused on New Jersey, parts of California and Seattle.


We are tax attorney firm based in los angeles California who can offer assistance estate planning.  Our firm has years of success in dealing with tax related matters with the IRS.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters. 




IRS and State Seizure of Assets

Thursday, February 4, 2016

If you have been convicted of a crime or simply accused of a crime, can the police seize your car or other property? You may not know this, but the seizure of assets is perfectly legal, yet this may be a controversial practice for some parties. This is known as civil asset forfeiture which brings the state and federal governments millions of dollars that will go directly to the police budget. Some items that police can seize or confiscate include homes, cash, cars, or jewelry if there is a connection to the crime or if there is information pertinent to the investigation. However, there are times that the individuals who have their assets seized did nothing wrong.


There was a video that The New York Times posted in which the city attorney of Las Cruces, New Mexico explained how they seize assets and consider it a gold mine. In fact, there were cases that the Las Cruces police officers would just wait outside bars targeting specific people to confiscate their items. In one instance, they waited for a drunk man to specifically confiscate his 2008 Mercedes. Automobiles are put up for auction which generates lots of money for the city.


Yes, it is legal for law enforcement to seize assets or property from individuals who have done nothing wrong or who haven't committed a crime. In fact, you don’t even need to be charged with a crime. This comes as a shocking surprise to people. The police state that the property is being used to investigate a crime. In fact, they believe that the seizure of assets reduces drunk driving and helps to decrease drug dealing. However, for innocent individuals with no association to a crime, hiring a lawyer can be expensive to win their case and many without access to a lawyer will lose their assets.


There have been new crackdowns for police departments on how they keep the money from the seizures. Instead of being used for the department’s general fund, the money needs to be set aside in specific funds, such as for drunk driving prevention. There are ways to work around that rule where local police partner with the federal government where there are no restrictions in seizure cases. .


You can protect yourself by avoiding the seizure of assets, but you will need to hire the legal services of an experience IRS tax attorney to get you out of this sticky situation. You probably want someone on your side that knows the legal system inside and out to get you the best settlement possible.  


If you need an IRS tax attorney to help prevent the seizure of your personal or business assets then contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP to discuss your rights. The Strategic Tax Lawyers are a firm of professional and qualified Los Angeles Tax Attorneys, Intent to Levy attorney and Los Angeles Tax Relief attorneys who specialize in all aspects of the tax code, especially federal tax liens.  Our firm has years of experience dealing preventing the seizure of assets.  To get a free consultation, call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for assistance you with your tax-related matters.




Decrease Your Odds to Avoid an IRS Audit

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The IRS will soon be accepting tax returns for the upcoming tax season, so now is the time to talk about mistakes you should avoid on your tax return so you don’t trigger an IRS audit. Making tax mistakes can cost you a lot if you trigger an IRS audit.  However, if you do get audited, contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP, one of the best tax attorneys who know how to get you out of the mess of an audit.  We are a firm of a firm of Beverly Hills Tax Attorneys, Audit tax attorneys, and Offshore Taxes Attorneys with years of IRS-related experience.  


A main tip to avoid an IRS is audit is a no-brainer, yet so many taxpayers don’t do this. We are talking about proofreading your tax return carefully before you click send when you e-file.  Filing electronically is the way to go, it’s fast, accurate and simple. Of course though, humans make errors.  It is important to very cautious of your math and you should fill out forms and schedules that only apply to you.  Also, make sure to use the newest, updated forms as many old forms have been updated.  


Only 1% of tax returns will be selected to take a closer look with an audit. You can reduce your risk even more if you follow these suggestions: report all of your income; document every single penny of your tax deductions or credits; be cautious when claiming a vehicle for your business and keep a log of mileage; don’t file an amended tax return if you can avoid it; and be honest in your tax return.  


The following are common errors that taxpayers make on their tax returns: entering an incorrect Social Security number; misspelling your name (please enter your name as stated on your Social Security card); entering the incorrect bank account numbers; entering the incorrect filing status; making simple math mistakes that could be avoided by reviewing your tax return or using e-filing software which reduces mathematical errors; forgetting to sign and date all forms which means that your tax return will not get processed. 


We really suggest that you avoid any discrepancies between your tax return and any forms, especially Form 1099 since with each of these forms, the IRS receives a copy. Also, if you don’t include your 1099 income on your tax return that will trigger the IRS and you most likely will receive a notice with possible interest and/or penalties.  This could even trigger an IRS audit.


The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are a firm of a firm of Beverly Hills Tax Attorneys, Audit tax attorneys, and Offshore Taxes Attorneys.  We are experts with years of experience with the IRS tax code.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters.




IRS Needs Improvements for Tax Return Filing ?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

When reviewing the process of filing tax returns and the access authentication processes for each tax account, it has been noted that that there are systematic improvements are that are needed.  The IRS is aware of the importance of having an effective process to authenticate each taxpayer’s identity, yet there has been no such process established that will manage the authentication approach. 


The IRS was audit by its monitoring body, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which evaluated the efforts that the IRS takes in order to actually authenticate each identity when tax returns are filed. In general, taxpayers use electronic filing products and other electronic services which allow them to communicate with the IRS. For this reason, the IRS is working to provide individuals with online access to allows taxpayers to securely browse information, such as their recent payments, or to make changes to their personal accounts. This will also host a variety of correspondence directly with the IRS to submit forms or respond to notices.


One of the main concerns is the growing number of online security data breaches causing personal information to be compromised and misused leading to stolen identities. As such, the IRS has been diligently working to create a way to manage its authentication process by establishing groups to focus on this matter. At this point, neither of these two groups are working together to provide supervision, surveillance, or continued assessments of the current authentication processes. It is necessary for these groups to cross train to make sure that will address the current and future authentication needs. Also, the online authentication methods currently being used do not comply with federal government security protocols, which is alarming to the auditors of TIGTA. This is a main reason for the security breaches when cyber criminals gain access to unauthorized tax account information.


The IRS is finding it necessary to create better methods to authenticate the identities of taxpayer’s identities so that their tax information are not provided to just anyone. If unauthorized tax information is disclosed to anyone, there become increased risks that identity theft will continue to occur. 


The TIGTA audit report suggests that a system-wide strategy become a part of the process to establish management and oversight of all authentication processes and programs. This will make sure that the risk of authentication of application processes will meet the established security standards.  The IRS has agreed to implement TIGTA’s recommendations.


The Strategic Tax Lawyers LLP are experienced IRS tax attorneys, as well as IRS Fresh Start attorneys who assist client with their tax-related matters, such as offshore bank accounts. These IRS tax lawyers can help you plan how to remove guesswork to prevent any issues.  The Strategic Tax Lawyers offer free and confidential consultations about estate planning, estate tax exemption, will & trusts and tax-related issues. Call today at (800) 669-4775 if you need assistance.