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STRATEGIC TAX LAWYERS:  TAX BLOG

IRS Sends Notice to Victim of Identity Theft

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Most recently, a woman who received an IRS notice about her tax refund going to someone other than herself.  After some realization, she comprehended that she was the victim of identity theft.  The IRS sent the notification because more information was needed about her tax return in order to process it. Turns out someone else used her social security number to attempt to steal her tax refund.

We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, experts in tax law and we specialize in helping our clients with IRS-related issues. At our firm, we have IRS CP504 attorneys, audit tax lawyers, and a taxation attorney in Los Angeles.  We have seen identity thieves ruin people’s credit by creating an industry out of tax fraud. Identity theft is extremely frustrating and serious.  The IRS pays out thousands of fraudulent tax returns.

The best advice is to file your taxes as soon as tax season starts so if a hacker tries to file another tax return using your name or social security number, they will be caught. 

The IRS is serious about stopping identity theft and tax refund fraud and to assist victims of identity theft.  To date, the IRS has stopped 19 million returns that seemed suspicious which saved the IRS in paying out $63 billion unnecessarily. The IRS uses filters to identify potentially fraudulent tax returns.  In addition, the IRS will no longer deposit refunds to more than three pre-paid debit cards. The IRS is also limiting tax preparers who deposit the tax refunds of their clients into their account. Instead, the check will be mailed to the taxpayer. The limit also will stop certain tax preparers who improperly deposit client refunds into their own accounts.

The IRS is increasing their efforts to inform a victim if identity theft has occurred and they work with the victim to resolve the case quickly. The good news is, the IRS is always reviewing their processes in order to reduce and eliminate identity theft. 

In the last year, over one thousand identity theft cases were investigated which resulted in 748 sentencings.  This number was double the amount of identity theft cases in 2013. As a result, sentencing was stricter with longer served jail times from 43 months in 2014 compared to 38 months the year before.

If you need assistance with an IRS-related matter, the Strategic Tax Lawyers Firm have reliable IRS CP504 attorneys, audit tax lawyers, and a taxation attorney in Los Angeles. Our firm has years of success in IRS dealings.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters.




Did You Get a Letter from the IRS?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Each year, after tax season ends, the IRS will mail millions of letters to taxpayers.  Sometimes the notices are from past tax years.  The IRS sends notices for a variety of reasons. 


We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, a law firm that specializes in the IRS tax code.  Our team of Los Angeles Tax Lawyers includes IRS Intent to Levy Lawyers, IRS Bank Levy Lawyers, and a Payroll Tax Lawyer with years of experience dealing with IRS-related cases.  We want to share some information in case you get any correspondence from the IRS.


First of all, you should not panic if you receive official mail from the IRS.  We know you probably will panic anyway, but many times you will be able to just responding to the letter to take care of it.

Often, the correspondence will be about your federal tax return or tax account, specifically about your account.  The IRS perhaps will want more information, or you may owe the IRS more tax that you will need to pay.  The IRS will provide you with detailed instructions to rectify the matter.  The IRS may merely alert you that there was a correction or change made to your return.  We recommend comparing the comments to original tax return.  You won’t need to reply to the IRS if you agree with the notice, just follow instructions or make the payment directly to the IRS.  However, if you disagree with what the notice states, you will need to respond by letter.  You may also want to strengthen your argument by including documentation or information that the IRS will need for your case.  Usually it will take 30 days to receive a response.

Chances are you won’t even need to call the IRS.  It is important to keep copies of the IRS correspondence that you receive along with your tax documents.

If you need to hire a reliable team of Los Angeles Tax Lawyers which includes IRS Intent to Levy Lawyers, IRS Bank Levy Lawyers, and a Payroll Tax Lawyer, contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers Firm.  We are tax lawyers who have years of success in IRS dealings.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters.




Looking Back At Tax Season

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

So tax season is finally over, and now is the time to assess what went right and wrong in order to make a change for next year. 

We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, a law firm that specializes in the IRS tax code.  Our team includes IRS Levy Attorneys and Taxation Attorneys with years of success as well as experience winning cases for clients with IRS-related problems.  We also have experience with the IRS Tax Leniency program

 

We want to share the things to prepare for next time when filing your taxes.  Each year, April 15th quickly approaches and taxpayers scatter to get their tax return submitted before the tax deadline.  Sometimes you may need more time to file your taxes and that is okay.  The IRS will grant you a 6 month extension by using IRS Free File via IRS.gov. However, the request needs to be made by midnight on April 15.  Taxes can be e-filed for free at any time up until October 15th, which many taxpayers are unaware of.  Also, if you want to file an extension, you need to mail Form 4868 by April 15th.  If you request an extension you will always have to make a payment to the IRS.  The extension does not mean you have more time to pay Uncle Sam. The IRS expects that you pay an estimate of what you owe to avoid a penalty and interest on the tax that you owe. 
 
The easiest, safest and fastest way to file your taxes, we believe, is online by IRS Direct Pay.  We like this since the IRS processes your tax return or extension immediately. They also have options for you to pay either via the phone.   


Also, the IRS really will work with you if you can’t pay all your tax liability.  The payment options, such as installment agreements are easy to apply for online via the IRS.gov website.  The IRS will also create a payment plan if you prove a financial hardship.

 
Before we know it, April 15, 2016 will be here and taxes will be due again.  Whether we like it or not, it happens every year.  The best approach to take is avoid common errors since it will delay your refunds or it could red flag the IRS about other tax problems.

If you need to hire a reliable includes IRS Levy Attorneys and Taxation Attorneys or assistance with the IRS Tax Leniency program, contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers Firm.  We are tax relief experts who have 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.





Tax Season is Over - Now What?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tax day was April 15th and tax season is now over and done with.  Some taxpayers may still be due a tax refund.  If this is the case, there is no penalty that will accrue if you file a tardy tax return. However, if you owe the IRS tax, and you did not file or pay by the April 15th deadline, then you will owe the IRS interest and penalties.


We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, a firm specializing in tax code.  On our team, we have an IRS Tax Attorney, IRS Levy Attorney, and an IRS cp-523 Attorney who have years of experience assisting client who have received IRS tax notices.  So we suggest that you file your tax return and pay the IRS immediately before the IRS sends you notice with accrued interest and penalties. 


The following is some information about late filing and late penalties:

  • A late filed tax return can result in two penalties since the first would be a late penalty for failing to file while the second is penalty for paying late.
  • The penalty for failing to file is usually 5% of the taxes you owe for each month that your return is overdue.  However, this amount will not surpass 25% of the taxes you owe.
  • If a taxpayer files a tax return post 60 days of the due date, there will be a minimum penalty added for filing after the deadline.  Penalty for late payment.  The failure-to-pay penalty is generally 0.5 percent per month of your unpaid taxes. It applies for each month or part of a month your taxes remain unpaid and starts accruing the day after taxes are due. It can build up to as much as 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.
  • The maximum amount that a taxpayer will be charged is 5%. 
  • Even if you can’t afford to pay, you should file your tax return because the penalty if you fail to file will be ten times more than if you fail to pay.  Just pay the IRS an amount that you can afford.  You can have your taxes paid directly from your bank account or by paying using your credit card. 
  • If a taxpayer requests a filing extension by April 15th and at least 90% of the taxes are paid then there is a chance no penalty will be accrued.  The remainder of the balance will need to be paid by the new due date and interest will be accrued.


If you need to hire a reliable an IRS Tax Attorney, IRS Levy Attorney, or an IRS cp-523 Attorney, contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers Firm.  We are tax relief experts who have 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 Hacked?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Well, not exactly hacked, but the IRS online system has been targeted by identity thieves.  The IRS has shut down their website for those who are trying to obtain their tax records because criminals have hacked the IRS which has given them access to tax transcripts for over 100,000 taxpayers.  It is believed that the hack occurred between February and May of this year.  After preliminary investigations, it seems that the targets were aiming to access more than 200,000 accounts, but half failed due to an incorrect error. It is believed that the identity thieves wanted to use the information in order to access taxpayer filings, which would give them information up to five years ago.  The sophisticated identity thieves were able to conduct this operation because they had access to taxpayer information already.

We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, and as tax professionals, we also want to alert you about the IRS data breach accessed through the Get Transcript online application.  This feature on the IRS website allows taxpayers to retrieve their tax return and tax payment information.

This resulted in the online application being removed from the website to rectify the situation.  Last week the IRS removed the portion of the website that was targeted and it will remain down until it is cleared up. The IRS has made an online statement to let taxpayers know that the Get Transcript service is currently unavailable.  If taxpayers need to order transcripts the may do so via mail.

Investigators believe that the identity thieves accessed the information using previously personal identifiers, such as stolen Social Security numbers.  According to the IRS, this year the Get Transcript site had approximately 23 million taxpayers successfully downloaded their transcripts and other information.  Over 200,000 accounts were attempted to be hacked from outside sources and half were hacked into. The identity thieves were able to obtain information they will most likely use for fake tax refunds.  The IRS believes that this will result in approximately 15,000 fake tax refunds that will total around $50 million.  The bigger issue is that the stolen taxpayer information could be used for other illegal purposes.

The IRS will notify all 200,000 taxpayers about the situation by letter and they will be offered free credit monitoring services.  If taxpayers don’t get a letter, they most likely were not affected by the data breach. 

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are professional business tax lawyers with years of experience in tax-related and IRS issues.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters.


Owe Money to the IRS? Consider an Offer in Compromise help from tax relief attorney

Friday, May 22, 2015


Are you in need of a Los Angeles OIC tax lawyer, tax relief attorney, or an IRS tax attorney because you owe money to the IRS?  Do you need more information about an Offer in Compromise (OIC)?  

An OIC is an agreement between the IRS and a taxpayer to settle delinquent debt for an amount that is less than what is originally owed.  Taxpayers who are eligible for OIC are given an opportunity pay off what they owe to the IRS by having a “fresh start.”

In order to be considered for an OIC, the IRS needs to qualify you based on what your true ability to pay actually is.  You will need to submit an online application, but that does not mean your offer will be accepted.  The IRS will assess and verify your OIC application and will consider any unique circumstances which hinders your ability to pay.  The online application will help assess what an appropriate offer will be, which is based on your income, assets, income, and expenses. There are questions about your financial situation, so you will need to provide the IRS with the necessary information.

There is an online OIC Pre-Qualifier tool that collects your information and provides immediate feedback to determine if you are eligible or not. This will also help determine what amount is acceptable to the IRS.  You will be asked to enter your financial and tax filing status.  The tool will calculate a preliminary offer amount and once you submit a completed application to the IRS, they will make a final decision.  

Some of the questions include:
•    Have you filed bankruptcy?
•    Are all required federal tax returns filed?
•    Are all required estimated tax payments been sent to the IRS?

Then you will be asked to enter information about your location (zip code, state and county), total members of your household and total IRS tax debt.  You will need to enter the most recent tax year in which you would like an OIC. In addition, you will need to provide information on all your bank balances, including savings, money market and CDS; investments, stocks and bonds; your home market value; any loan balances; vehicle equity; retirement account equity; real estate assets; and any other assets or collections.

You will receive an immediate response if you qualify for an offer in compromise based on the information you provided.  The IRS can keep your tax refund from that year to apply it to your tax debt if the IRS accepts the offer.  You may also qualify for a payment installment agreement to help make payments each month to pay off your tax liability.

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP is a firm with a Los Angeles OIC tax lawyer, a tax relief attorney, and an IRS tax attorney who 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.


Please Avoid These Common Tax Filing Errors

Friday, May 22, 2015

We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, a firm of California Tax Lawyers, Payroll Tax Lawyers, and IRS Penalties Lawyers who want to pass on some reminders offered by the Internal Revenue Service about tax filing errors that can be avoided.  By avoiding these errors you can prevent audits in the long run or other tax-related issues that can be a burden.

The IRS recommends to file electronically and there are several options to do this.  You can use IRS Free File or another e-file method which has been proven to reduce errors you your tax return.  This is because the software does the math for you and there are less human calculation errors and less common errors.  The software also asks for any missing information to be filled out before submission.  

If you don’t file electronically and mail your tax return, please make sure to address it to the correct location.  The IRS forms and website have the correct address and other information.  Follow the instructions so you can avoid any processing delays.  

A no-brainer is to complete the information in a clear manner if you are handwriting your return.  The information that you enter, including your Social Security number, should be correct and easy to read. Do yourself a favor and double check this information before you submit.  Also, you should review all the figures that you enter to prevent any errors on paper returns. Also, it is important to pay attention to the tax tables when you figure out your filing status.

If you want your refund quickly, then sign up for direct deposit by entering your bank’s routing number and your bank account number.  The IRS can deposit your refund in several bank accounts, which is convenient for the taxpayer.  Any incorrect routing or account numbers could cause your refund to be deposited into a different account or delayed.

You need to sign the return and date it.  This is one of the most common errors that leads to delays.  Don’t forget to have your spouse also sign and date if you file a joint return. 

Don’t forget to attach the necessary forms to your return.  Those who don’t file electronically need to include their W-2s (and possibly other forms).  The IRS prefers that you provide all the forms they require in the specific number order that is displayed upper right-hand corner of the forms.

Always retain a copy of the return for your records.


The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are a firm of a firm of California Tax Lawyers, Payroll Tax Lawyers, and IRS Penalties Lawyers.  All the lawyers in the firm are experts in tax code and they have years of experience dealing with the IRS.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters.



Avoid These Mistakes That Can Trigger IRS Audits

Friday, May 22, 2015
We want to tell you about mistakes on your tax return that you need to avoid at all costs.  These mistakes can cost you and trigger an IRS audit.  If you do get audited and need a credible legal team on your side, contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP.  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.    So do yourself a favor and listen to us.  

The first order of business to proofread your tax return very carefully before you file electronically, preferably. We are human, and of course human error is common. However, please be conscious of your math and only fill out forms and schedules that apply to you.   Don’t make the mistake of using old forms since many have been updated.  Taking the time to review and straighten out these little hiccups will save time in the long run and can save yourself from bigger issues with the Internal Revenue Service, such as an audit.

The following are common errors that taxpayers make on their tax returns:
•    Either entering an incorrect Social Security number (SSN) or forgetting to enter a SSN.  This is a no-brainer.  Also, don’t misspell your name. So please, enter your name and SSN as it appears on your Social Security card.  
•    Don’t enter the incorrect bank account numbers if you choose to receive your tax refund via direct deposit.
•    Make sure you enter the correct filing status. There is a difference between Single and Head of Household instead of Single, so make sure you know what you are checking off.
•    Be careful and void simple math mistakes by reviewing your math, such as when you add or subtract items on a worksheet. E-filing software reduces mathematical errors.  Also be aware of mistakes when you figure out which credits or deductions you are eligible for. Common mistakes are made when trying to figure out the standard deduction or Earned Income Tax Credits.  You should always claim the standard deduction that is higher and accurate.
•    Please sign and date all forms.  If you don’t sign or date your tax return it does not get processed.
•    Try to 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.



How Can You Prevent a Tax Lien?

Friday, May 22, 2015
We are California Tax Attorneys at the Strategic Tax Lawyers firm and we want to emphasize the importance of having a tax attorney if you have a tax lien filed against you for unpaid tax debt. The IRS can file a tax lien against you to collect money or past taxes by legally seizing money out of your paycheck or bank account.  

We are Tax Relief attorneys who know the ins and outs of the tax code.  We have given our clients advice about how to prevent a tax lien.  The best way to prevent a lien from being filed is to pay the tax obligation in full.  The IRS will also work with taxpayers to create a payment installment plan so a lien can be avoided.  If a taxpayer has a payment agreement with the IRS, then the IRS will not file a federal tax lien.  For a plan to be approved by the IRS, the amount a taxpayer owes has to be less than $25,000. If more than $25,000 is owed, then a taxpayer needs to pay down that amount to less than $25,000 to meet the requirements of the payment installment agreement.

If the IRS files a tax lien, the taxpayer will be notified.  You may need to hire a reliable tax relief attorney to help with removing a federal tax lien.  The only ways that a lien can be removed is (1) if there was an error; (2) if the total amount was paid off; (3) if the balance was satisfied in another way, such as IRS Fresh Start or Offer in Compromise (OIC); or (4) if the tax lien is no longer enforceable or expired.  Tax relief attorneys can also assist with withdrawal of a tax lien if it was filed in error or if the taxpayer qualifies for the IRS Fresh Start program.  When a tax lien is removed, it will remain on your credit for approximately 10 years.  

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are a firm of California Tax Attorneys and we are also Intent to Levy attorney and Tax Relief attorneys who specialize in all aspects of the tax code, especially federal tax liens.  Our firm has years of experience dealing with the IRS about tax-related issues.  To get a free consultation, call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for assistance you with your tax-related matters.



Tax Filing Recommendations

Friday, May 22, 2015
We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers and we are Encino Tax Attorneys who are experts in the tax code. April 15th is just around the corner and chances are you will owe Uncle Sam some money. So, we have some tax filing recommendations we want to share.  The most important being, pay the IRS something on time, even if you can’t pay the whole amount.

Some taxpayers may owe the IRS more than they can afford to pay.  If this is the case, don’t ignore the situation, you still need to take action. Make sure to file on time so you avoid any penalties that could accrue for filing late.  Just in case you can’t afford to pay all your taxes by April 15th, then you should definitely file before the due date and pay the maximum you can afford. At least by filing on time you will avoid a late filing penalty.  It goes like this, if you pay the IRS on time if you pay the most that you can, then you will accrue less interest charges and avoid a late payment penalty charge.

Also, the IRS has an option for electronic payment called IRS Direct Pay.  This lets you schedule online payments which is linked to your bank account.  Once a transaction is made you will receive a payment confirmation.  The online payment system is quick easy and secure.

Then we advise that you try to pay the remainder of your tax debt as soon as possible.  There are options such as pay with a credit card or take out a loan to cover the balance.  Most times a bank will charge lower interest rates than what you will incur for late penalties from the IRS.  Using the IRS’ Online Payment Agreement tool you can set up a payment schedule using direct debit.  This way it is automatic and you won’t have to worry about making a payment each month. Another benefit is that you won’t miss a payment which would mean additional penalty charges.

If you take home any message from us, please remember to file on time.  Also, make a payment to the IRS and if you can’t pay the full amount then pay as much as you can. Don’t just ignore the tax bill if you can’t afford it all.  There are options that the IRS will offer for collection.  Contac the IRS or visit the IRS website to avoid any penalties.

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are a firm of Encino Tax Attorneys who are also State Tax Levy attorneys, Payroll Tax attorneys, and IRS Fresh Start attorneys.  The firm specializes in all aspects of the tax code and has years of experience in tax-related and IRS issues.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters.