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STRATEGIC TAX LAWYERS:  TAX BLOG

Estate Planning and Early Retirement Advice

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tax professionals, including tax attorneys recommend Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) as an efficient way to prepare for retirement, an important part in your estate planning.  Our tax attorneys and estate planning attorneys want to advise you about estate planning and early retirement.  Here are some important tips:

If you withdraw funds early from you IRA or retirement plan you will have to pay additional tax besides the income tax you may already owe.  You should talk to your accountant about the advantages and disadvantages of early distribution.  To avoid sending any red flags to the IRS, use a tax professional when withdrawing premature funds from your IRA or retirement fund.  You will need to submit the correct tax forms to receive the tax benefits that you are due. 

In general, early withdrawal before retirement plan or before age 59½ will trigger a penalty tax of an additional 10% tax.  There may be an exception to this 10% tax for those taking early retirement.  Again, contact your tax professional.

You may have to pay additional tax since you need to report the income source on your taxes to the IRS. 

If you opt for an early withdrawal, the additional tax is not a nontaxable withdrawals. A nontaxable withdrawal example is a rollover which means you can move your money or assets from one plan to another within 60 days.  If it is done within that time frame then it is tax-free.


Tax attorneys and estate planning attorneys recommend contributing to either a traditional or Roth IRA, up to $5,500 or $6,500, if you are  50 years of age or older.  Both you and your spouse can make contributions to the fund.  You will be able to contribute until your tax return is submitted on or before April 15, 2015.


The tax attorneys and estate planning attorneys do not advise to contribute too much to your IRA since this will lead to paying an additional tax, approximately 6%, on any amount that exceeds the IRA limit.  If you want to avoid paying this additional 6% tax, you should remove the overage before your tax return is submitted.


Also, tax attorneys and estate planning attorneys recommend taking any distributions that are required.  This is beneficial for estate planning when you are 70½ years of age since at this time you will need to take a minimum required distribution from your traditional IRA.  It is important to note that you will need to estimate what the minimum distribution is for each of your traditional IRAs. You are allowed to withdraw the full amount from your fund; however, if you don’t take a minimum distribution then you are subject to an excise tax of 50% of the amount that was not withdrawn.


The Strategic Tax Lawyers are staffed with credible tax attorneys and estate planning attorneys who can assist you take care of your estate in order to make sure that your family and loved ones are taken care of. Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free case consultation. 





Last Minute Tax Tips from Santa Monica Tax Lawyers

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Tomorrow is the big day…April 15th.  Tax season is almost over, but there are people struggling and running around trying to get their tax returns completed by the deadline.  

We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, a firm located in Santa Monica, California.  So if you are looking for a Santa Monica Tax Lawyer, IRS Bank Levy Lawyer or a Tax Leniency Lawyer for any of your tax-related problems, we may be able to help you.  We are familiar with the tax code and have years of experience assisting client who have received IRS tax notices.

To avoid getting red flagged by the IRS, we want to remind taxpayers of some things to pay attention to before submitting your tax return.  The first is to remember to check the box on your tax return to indicate that you, your spouse and your dependents listed on your return has a form of qualifying health care coverage for the whole year.  If you will not be ready to submit your return by April 15th, you can get a 6-month extension by applying online on the IRS Free File link to electronically request an extension.  You will need to submit Form 4868 in order to request this extension.  

There is a chance that you received an incorrect or delayed tax form from the IRS.  However, if you did receive health care coverage via the Health Care Marketplace, you will still need to file by April 15th with the Form 1095Ayou received or if you don’t have the correct form.  You also have the option of filing for an extension.  With an extension, you will have six months, until October 15th to file taxes.  Please make sure you submit an estimate of what you will owe the IRS by the April 15th deadline.  

We also tell all our clients to take advantage of all tax benefits.  Even the IRS encourages taxpayers to see if they qualify for credits and deductions that may be overlooked to see if they are eligible.  The IRS offers assistance tools for eligibility online.  

If you need to hire a reliable Santa Monica Tax Lawyer, IRS Bank Levy Lawyer or a Tax Leniency Lawyer, 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.



Bank Levy Attorneys - Time Is Ticking Until Tax Season Is Over

Monday, April 13, 2015
Have you completed your tax returns due April 15th? You have only a few more days to complete them.  
Most taxpayers have already filed their 2014 returns.  Statistics from early April has shown that over 99 million individual tax returns were submitted to the IRS and over 77 million refunds were issued averaging $2,800.

Some taxpayers still need to file before the upcoming deadline.  Don’t panic if you can’t file your return on time or pay your tax liability all at once, since you can request an extension or request payment options on the IRS website.  There are plenty of people who take advantage of tax-filing extensions for taxpayers who need extra time to complete their tax returns.  We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, a firm of Los Angeles Tax Attorneys, IRS cp-523 Attorneys and IRS bank levy attorneys who specialize in IRS-related tax law. We have helped numerous clients with audits, Offers in Compromise, bank levies, payroll taxes, and tax relief in general for individual and business purposes.  

If you opt for a tax-filing extension, we want to remind you that it is an extension for time to file, but you still have to pay.  It isn’t an extension of time to pay your tax bill. We have seen plenty of clients get penalties for this exact issue.  You can take advantage of payment plans offered by the IRS and other tax relief programs.  Taking our advice will help you avoid penalties by paying as much as you can to reduce the interest that will accrue.  The bottom line is to file your tax return and pay something, even if you can’t afford to pay the whole amount.

If you have not completed filling your tax return, you can get a 6-month extension by filling out Form 4868 on IRS Free File.  This only takes a few minutes to complete and you will have until October 15, 2015 to file your return.   Don’t forget to send a check or link your bank account for direct deposit to pay an estimated amount due.  This form allows you to avoid any penalties for filing late.  Interest accrues approximately 3% per month based on the balance that you owe. Also, the payment you make by April 15 will reduce the penalties that may apply.  Your paid tax professional can also file an extension by paper or using tax-preparation software.  Over 50% of tax return extension forms received by the IRS are filed electronically.

If you are a taxpayer living or working abroad, or if you serve in the U.S. Armed Forces outside the U.S. , you could receive more an extension without requesting it. The dieadline is June 15th to file, but estimated tax payments are due in April.

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are a firm of a firm of Los Angeles Tax Attorneys, IRS cp-523 Attorneys and IRS bank levy attorneys.  Our firm is full of tax relief experts who have years of experience with tax law.  Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related matters.



Tax Advice About Unemployment from IRS tax lawyers in Los Angeles

Friday, April 10, 2015
Millions of people apply for unemployment if they suffer from job loss.  If you are eligible for unemployment benefits you may not be aware that unemployment benefits are taxable.  We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, IRS tax lawyers in Los Angeles, who want to give you some facts about unemployment compensation and how not to trigger an IRS audit.
In general, unemployment income is indeed taxable. Therefore, you will need to consider all of your unemployment payments as a form of income for the year. You will need to fill out Form 1099-G to report the amount of unemployment that was paid to you as well as any federal income tax that was withheld from your payment.  Unemployment compensation is paid under federal or state laws.  Also, you should be aware that if you earn union benefits, those are also taxable as your income.
It may be a wise idea to have tax withheld from your unemployment.  You can opt to do this on Form W-4V.  However, if you decide not to, then you should pay throughout the year.
We have seen even unemployed taxpayers get audited.  They are not safe from audit.  Every tax season, there are nearly 1 out of 99 tax returns that the IRS flags for an audit.  The only way to avoid getting audited by the IRS is to report every income source that you have.  This includes unemployment.  It als includes any stocks and earnings you have or any winnings from gambling.  Basically, income is income, and if you earned it over the tax year you will need to report it.   You should match your financial documents, unemployment statements, and any other financial reports that show income to submit to the IRS.  We all know that the IRS can and will inquire if those income amounts do not match up. And that results in an tax audit.

Be cautious when claiming deductions since those need to be backed up with proof.  So if you are on unemployment, don’t think you can start listing all the deductions you did when you were employed.   We recommend keeping all receipts for your business purchases, charitable contributions and vehicle write-offs.   
Keep smart and you won’t increase your odds of getting audited by the IRS because the last thing you want is to receive an audit letter in the mail.

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are IRS tax lawyers in Los Angeles, with years of experience in tax-related and IRS issues.  For a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related issues contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775.



California Tax Lawyers - Self Employed Tax Tips

Friday, April 10, 2015
With self-employment, an individual receives income directly from a source such as clients or other businesses instead of having an employer.  In general, the Internal Revenue Service views someone as self-employed if that person generates an income requiring a tax return to be filed since there may be profits that are potentially taxable.  

In the U.S., there are different examples of self-employers, those who are independent contractors and those who are sole proprietors, in addition to being a part of a limited liability company (LLC) or a partnership.  
There are great advantages to being self-employed, but the tax obligations are similar to employees.  Self-employers pay income taxes, as well as self-employment taxes which include Social Security and Medicare as well.  The IRS requires a self-employed individual to file a tax return if he earns over $400 which should include a Schedule SE Form.
We are business tax attorneys in Los Angeles at the California Tax Lawyer firm and we want to give you some tips about how your self-employment income affects you:
1.    Part-time work is also a form of self-employment income since it is considered supplemental income from your regular job.
2.    Self-employed taxpayers need to file a Schedule C in order to report total income earned.  If your expenses where under $5,000, you need to file a Schedule C-EZ along with your tax return. Both of these Schedules will determine what your net profit is and then use it (for Schedule SE) to compute the amount of the self-employment tax you owe.
3.    If you earned a profit, then you are required to pay income tax and self-employment tax using a Schedule SE Form to estimate the amount of the tax owed.  If you calculate that you owe tax, then you will need to file Schedule SE along with your return.
4.    There is a chance that you will need to estimate your tax and make a payment that way. This is usually paid in four installments throughout the year and the amount is not dependent on any withholding. However, if you neglect to pay the total amount of tax throughout the year, then you may be charged a penalty.
5.    There are deductions that are allowable for operating your business which are necessary.  These should be deducted during the year you acquired them.
We suggest being extremely detailed and meticulous when it comes to your self-employment taxes since there are so many business expenses.
Do you have a small business or are you self-employed?  Do you need to hire an experienced business tax attorney in Los Angeles?   The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are experienced business tax attorneys in Los Angeles with years of documented successes dealing with the IRS and tax-related issues.  Contact the California Tax Lawyers for a free case consultation at (800) 669-4775.



Cases of Actual Identity Theft Prosecutions

Friday, April 10, 2015
The IRS is very serious about identity theft and tax refund fraud.  The IRS is focused on preventing and further eliminating any future identity theft cases.  In 2014, there were 1,063 identity theft cases that the IRS investigated which resulted in approximately 750 sentencings, 75% more than in 2013. There are significant consequences to tax fraud and identity theft.  The sentences imposed longer time in jail in 2014, averaging 43 months versus 38 months in 2013.  Some of the crimes include identity theft, offshore tax evasion and global organized crime.
The following are the top IRS identity theft cases from 2014 based on federal court records. As professional taxation lawyers in Los Angeles, we want you to know that these are cases exemplify how serious crimes of this caliber are.  
•    A couple in North Carolina were sentenced for bogus tax refund scheme in April 2014.  The couple stole personal information from victims in order to file thousands of tax returns to claim a refund.  Their prison sentence was for 324 and 70 months and they need to pay over $3.9 million back to the IRS.
•    Men in Dallas were involved in a substantial identity theft refund scam in May 2014, in Texas.  The men were sentenced to 210 months, 174 months, 96 months and 40 months in prison, respectively.  They were also ordered to pay back over $40 million combined.  Their charges included tax fraud, identity theft, using stolen identities, and attempting to defraud the U.S.
•    A man from Georgia was sentenced for identity theft and tax fraud in August 2014. He conducted identity theft, wire fraud, laundered money and falsely filed more than 5,000 bogus tax returns.  His scheme involved using the personal information of thousands of victims claiming they could receive free government money from a stimulus package if they provided their social security number and other information.  His sentence was for 240 months and he needs to pay the IRS over $5 million and forfeit accounts with over $4 million.
•    A man in Florida was involved in tax fraud and identity theft in September 2014.  His prison sentence was for 156 months due to identity theft, stealing government property and/or money, and using more than 2,400 names and Social Security numbers to file thousands of tax returns.
We are professional taxation lawyers in Los Angeles who can assist if you have been a victim of tax fraud or if you have a tax-related issue.  We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP, a team of professional taxation lawyers in Los Angeles with years of experience in tax-related and IRS issues.  You can get a free consultation by calling (800) 669-4775.


Business Tax Lawyers - Small Business Health Care and the Health Care Law

Monday, April 6, 2015
We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, professional business tax lawyers who want to inform small business employers about the changes to the business health care tax credit, which is part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This provision will provide tax credits to small employers that are eligible if they provide health insurance benefits to their employees.  Since 2014, there were changes that could affect your place of employment.

One of the changes is the increase of the credit percentage of premiums to 50% from 35% and 35% from 25% for employers that are tax-exempt.  Also, small businesses are allowed to claim the small business health care tax credit only for two uninterrupted years starting 2014.   The credit will phased out if earnings are equal to $25,400 and will be completely phased out if earnings are more than $50,800. In general, the healthcare marketplace is available to small employers for them to purchase a Qualified Health Plan which could then allow them to claim the credit.  Just a note, small businesses are able to claim the credit for previous years by amending the tax returns, from 2010-2013, in order to claim the tax credit. 

Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) everyone filing a 2015 tax return will be asked if they had health insurance in 2014.  As part of the ACA, the federal government is requiring that all individuals have minimum health care coverage. You will be required to report essential coverage or claim a coverage exemption.  All that will be required is a simple check in a box. If you are do not need to file a tax return you will still need to report your health care coverage and use Form 8965 to assess whether you qualify for an exemption.  This will also be used to assess your penalty if you did not have any health coverage.

For the first time, the IRS will start charging fines for uninsured taxpayers.  You are required to state if you purchased health insurance privately, received it from your employer or from a health insurance exchanges.  If you don’t report, you will face a penalty.  

If you have health care coverage, you will be charged penalties.  IF you received health care coverage from one of the health insurance exchanges, you will need to fill out Form 1095a and establish if you are eligible for a premium tax credit.

As professional business tax lawyers, we understand that there is a lot of information which complicates matters. There is online support offered on the IRS website to assist with ACA questions.  The IRS is expecting an increase in questions and phone calls due to this matter.

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.


New Phishing Scams To Be Aware Of

Monday, April 6, 2015
The Internal Revenue Service has officially notified paid tax preparers to be aware of a new phishing scam.  This includes paying attention to fake emails that want to fish or find out about personal or business information.  

We, are tax lawyers in Los Angeles at the Strategic Tax Lawyers Firm who recommend not click on strange emails and links which aim to seek personal, professional or updated Information.  In general, don’t just click on emails and websites that look suspicious or that you are unaware of.  Chances are high that it is a scheme aimed to steal your personal or business information.

The latest phishing scheme involves a fake email which requests for paid tax professionals to update any of IRS related electronic log-in information and filing numbers. The email is unsolicited or a fake website is created that mimics a legitimate website to make it look real for potential phishing victims.  The fake links that are provided in the bogus email to access IRS e-services and requests that victims provide information.  The phishing scheme which will capture your personal information, such as your username and your password.   Then the scammer will use this information steal your identity and commit theft.  Please be aware that by no means did the IRS design this email and it is not meant to be generated by any of the e-services that the IRS has.  The best thing to do is to disregard the email and make sure that you do not click or visit any of the bogus links in the email.  You should also report the bogus email that is “supposedly” from the IRS.

The IRS has a list of all the tax scams, and the phishing scam is one of their “dirty dozen” scams.  Just remember that the IRS never sends notifications by email, text or social media regarding a refund or a bill randomly.  To be safe, do not visit any of the links that claims to be from the IRS.  You don’t want anyone to steal your personal or business information.

Be aware of these types of bogus emails which should be red flags.

We are professional tax lawyers in Los Angeles who want you to remember these facts.  If you have been a victim of phishing, identity theft or tax fraud, contact us.  We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP, a team of professional tax lawyers in Los Angeles with years of experience in tax-related and IRS issues.  Call us today at (800) 669-4775 for a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related issues.

Do you need a reliable business tax attorney? Then contact us, the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP or a free


Wage Garnishment attorneys in Los Angeles

Monday, April 6, 2015
We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, Wage Garnishment attorneys in Los Angeles.  Wage garnishment is becoming a growing problem in this economy even though it is on the mend. The average number of wage garnishments have increased in all areas of the nation.
Wage garnishment is a court or government agency order that withholds a determined amount of money from your paycheck to recover a debt that a taxpayer owes.  The amount garnishes is sent directly to the creditor until that debt is fully paid off.
By law, an employer is able to garnish a maximum of 25% of the earnings of their employee.  In the case of child support, the amount garnished can rise.  Often, the laws are not in tune with the reality of the economy.

A recent wage garnishment study of 13 million employees revealed that approximately 7% of the U.S. employees have had wages garnished.  Of those, 20% were garnished for tax debts and more than 40% were garnished for child support.   Nearly 11% of wages were garnished for U.S. employees ages 35 to 44.  This age group has the most wages garnished for debt, child support, and divorce or alimony.  The highest rates of wage garnishment were for income brackets between the earning amounts of $25,000 to $40,000. Men and women had similar rates of wage garnishment, although men had higher rates of child support garnishment.  Companies that have the most garnished wages are the manufacturing sector (48%), transportation sector and the utilities sector.
Legally, businesses are facing a difficult position by trying to fulfill their employer obligations to their employees following the wage payment laws.  They are also responsible to follow garnishment laws to pay the creditors.

Do you need assistance because of wage garnishment?  Have you been contacted by creditors or the IRS notifying you of wage garnishment?  This is a stressful situation and wage garnishment attorneys will be able to assist you.  The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are wage garnishment attorneys in Los Angeles with years of tax-related experience.  They are here to help you with any tax issues you may have.  For a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related issues contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775.



IRS Issues Tax Refunds to Illegal Immigrants

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Internal Revenue Service has allowed to let undocumented, also known as illegal immigrants, claim approximately 3 years’ worth of refunds when they never even paid income taxes.  IRS attorneys have notified Congress that they have resolved the ability of going back and asking for past refunds. The IRS is standing by its actions.  In addition, President Obama’s has enacted a new deportation amnesty program that will issue Social Security numbers to nearly 4 million undocumented immigrants.  Having Social Security numbers will make the illegal immigrants eligible to claim a tax refund using the Earned Income Tax Credit.  They will be able to claim refunds for years that they never claimed or refused to file tax returns, thereby cheating the federal government out of owed taxes since they worked under the table.

The Strategic Tax Lawyers are IRS tax attorneys who represent clients with tax-related issues.  By law, the IRS requires your Social Security number on your tax return, yet if you claim an Earned Income Tax Credit, you are not required to include your Social Security number before the end of the year.  Because of this loophole, illegal immigrants have taken advantage of the tax code.  IRS attorneys don’t want to see the tax code reward illegal immigrants who break the law.


President Obama has made the tax issue a topic in his deportation amnesty program.  This program aims to allow illegal immigrants with provisional legal status, as well as work permits and Social Security numbers. The amnesty program also will provide immigrants with driver’s licenses.  

Using Obamacare mandates, employers may hire immigrants who will be able to prove they are legal instead of those born in the U.S. in order to save money.   

As part of general tax law, previously illegal immigrants will have up to 3 years to go back and claim a tax refund for their previous year’s taxes (up to 3 years).  The deportation amnesty program will not require for illegal immigrants to pay back their taxes.  However, there is an odd situation that has been created that may allow illegal immigrants who cheated on their taxes by not reporting or paying anything to be able to benefit from past tax refunds. And if they do benefit they can take advantage and file to receive a refund and if there is no benefit for them, they have the ability to avoid payment of their taxes for the years that passed.


Are you in need of an IRS tax attorney? Do you have an unresolved tax problem with the IRS? Are you an illegal immigrant? The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are IRS tax attorneys with years of experience dealing with the IRS.  They are here to help you with any tax issues you may have.  For a free consultation to assist you with your tax-related issues contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775.