Los Angeles Tax Lawyers can help with Installment Agreements

Monday, October 3, 2011

Los Angeles Tax Lawyers can help with Installment Agreements

If you are like most Americans, sometimes things happen that get in the way of filing your income taxes each year. When you are not able to file, you should at least file for an extension which will buy you an additional six months to file your income tax return without penalty. However, if those six months has already passed or you have not filed for an extension and just rather ignored the filing date, you will need the assistance of Los Angeles tax lawyers to aid in filing and setting up potential installment agreements with the IRS for taxes and penalties assessed.

What Happens if I Miss My Filing Date?

If you miss your filing date, you will be filing your taxes late. Late taxes, according to Los Angeles tax lawyers, are mandated by the IRS to be charged with late penalties. Once a penalty has been assessed, you will either lose that amount out of your expected return, or it will be added onto your existing tax liability. To avoid excessive penalties, you should seek out the help of Los Angeles tax lawyers to aid in filing your past due taxes and to help resolve the existing liability.

What Happens if I Ignore My Liabilities?

Ignoring a tax liability to the IRS is not a route you want to take. Your Los Angeles tax lawyers will work with you to resolve the liabilities as best as they can. However, if you choose not to pay your outstanding liabilities, you will find that the IRS will be unforgiving in their attempts to collect the money due and there will not be much assistance that your Los Angeles tax lawyers will be able to give you. Severe penalties will accrue on your debts and can include any of the following:

  • Your outstanding liabilities will be subject to interest starting the day that they become past due. The interest will continue to compound throughout the life of the liability, until the IRS decides to take further action.
  • Your wages will become subject to garnishments and you may be subject to losing all of your personal property up to and including your personal residence, if you own your own home. Your Los Angeles tax lawyers may be able to prevent this from occurring if you use their services to help resolve the outstanding taxes.

I Cannot Afford to Pay My Taxes; Can Los Angeles Tax Lawyers Help?

Yes, Los Angeles tax lawyers have several years of experience in establishing installment plans for you with the IRS. Installment plans will be based on your income and ability to pay. Establishing an installment plan will not stop the interest from accruing, but it will stop any further collection activity on behalf of the IRS. Once your installment plan is set up and in action, it is in your best interest not to miss any payments. If you do, contact your Los Angeles tax lawyers along with the IRS to work out another payment plan or revise your existing one. Your Los Angeles tax lawyers are here to help you with your existing liabilities and to resolve any old filings that must be taken care of. By contacting an attorney today, you can breathe easy again knowing that the IRS will not be actively seeking to seize your personal assets in an attempt to collect their debts. 

Miami IRS Tax Attorney can help with Foreign Bank Account Reporting

Monday, October 3, 2011

Miami Tax Attorney can help with Foreign Bank Account Reporting

With the forthcoming disclosures of offshore bank accounts, a Miami tax attorney will know that the IRS is gearing up to investigate several of the banks that have been disclosed by taxpayers. In the investigation, the IRS is likely to turn up many more Americans who are holding offshore bank accounts for the likelihood of trying to avoid paying taxes, or to make their investing activities a little more unrestricted. If you are one of these Americans who is holding money in an offshore account and not reporting it to the IRS, you may want to contact a Miami tax attorney to help you with the disclosure process before it is too late. The IRS is offering this amnesty program for a limited time and you must act before you are slapped with fines and charged with criminal activity.

Penalties for Those who do not Disclose Offshore Accounts

Your Miami tax attorney will be aware of the possible consequences that you could face if you fail to report your foreign bank accounts to the IRS. You can be charged with criminal activity such as tax evasion, filing false returns, failure to file a return or even fraud. Your Miami tax attorney will tell you about the amnesty program that the IRS is offering for those who choose to disclose the offshore accounts. Those who come forward will not be subject to any further penalties, including fines. Foreign bank account reporting is necessary in order to achieve the amnesty program.

In addition to being charged with criminal activity or even facing jail time, you can be subject to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Your Miami tax attorney will advise you that these fines will be assessed as normal tax liabilities and will be payable upon billing. If you do not pay your liabilities, you will find that your assets will be seized and sold if collection procedures go that far. Contacting your Miami tax attorney can help you with this full disclosure process and filing of your taxes for the year, including the offshore income that you are required to report to achieve amnesty.

How can my Miami Tax Attorney Help Me?

Your Miami tax attorney can help you to ensure that you abide by the amnesty program and its conditions and that you file by the date mandated by the IRS. If you do not file by this date, you may not be guaranteed amnesty and may be subject to penalties such as being charged with criminal activity and being fined for the offshore holdings. Your Miami tax attorney will evaluate your situation and work with you and the IRS in your filings to ensure that you are meeting all of the conditions to the amnesty program.

It is not worth going to jail or losing all of your belongings for failure to report a foreign bank account. However, if you go past the mandated date by the IRS, your Miami tax attorney will advise that the penalties for filing and disclosing the offshore accounts late will be far less than if you decide not to disclose at all. The IRS is heavily investigating some of the foreign banks where accounts have already been reported so there is no guarantee that your offshore accounts will remain safe. Instead of risking your personal and business assets, contact your Miami tax attorney today to get the best possible outcome. 

Using Beverly Hills Tax Lawyers to assist in the IRS Amnesty Program

Monday, October 3, 2011

Using Beverly Hills Tax Lawyers to assist in the IRS Amnesty Program

Each year, according to Beverly Hills tax lawyers, the IRS evaluates the necessity for creating amnesty programs. With many different types of amnesty programs available, it is inevitable that you may find yourself in a situation where you want to apply for amnesty. Like all amnesty programs, there are certain conditions that you must meet in order to be considered for the full amnesty – especially when it comes to offshore banking accounts that you may have neglected to disclose. Beverly Hills tax lawyers can help you if you are in the Beverly Hills area and find that you are interested in seeking out the amnesty program.

Why Should I use Beverly Hills Tax Lawyers to disclose my Accounts?

The better question is can you afford not to contact your Beverly Hills tax lawyers? The IRS has stepped up all investigations into offshore accounts and with those investigations come hefty fines and penalties if you are discovered to be holding an account without disclosure. The 2011 IRS Amnesty Program is designed to allow you to come forward with the aid of your Beverly Hills tax lawyers to avoid substantial penalties which may include criminal prosecution for fraud or evasion and possible jail time should you be convicted. The penalties only increase for the amount of time that you refuse to disclose your offshore accounts and the IRS is not lenient in their collection and investigating practices.

If you do not disclose your accounts and the IRS discovers your accounts and issues an examination notice, you will no longer be eligible for amnesty under the 2011 program. You may contact your Beverly Hills tax lawyers for representation in this matter but they will not be able to help in filing a disclosure as you will no longer qualify for the amnesty.

What Happens to my Account when I disclose it?

You will be able to keep your offshore accounts, you will just be required to report and disclose all financial activity to that account each year you file your taxes. You can use your Beverly Hills tax lawyers to help in filing your disclosures each year with your income tax filings. Offshore holdings are not illegal as long as you are paying the required income taxes on the account’s contents. This requires filing a disclosure each year and outlining the circumstances surrounding the account.

If you have filed all of your previous year’s disclosures, you will not be required to contact your Beverly Hills tax lawyers to enter the amnesty program as all of your previous tax filings will have been accurately assessed for taxes. The amnesty program is simply designed to allow those who have not filed in previous years or claimed their offshore holdings to enter the program without suffering the severe penalties normally attached to not reporting such accounts.

The program is designed to bring awareness to the investigations that the IRS carries out each year in regards to not claiming income. While you may not have money being regularly deposited into your offshore account, it is likely that your account is gaining interest which is considered income. Contact your Beverly Hills tax lawyers if you are unsure of what you need to report in terms of income. Beverly Hills tax lawyers are well versed in the areas of tax law surrounding offshore holdings and will be able to offer you sound advice.

Using Santa Monica Tax Lawyers to Aid in Handling Business Taxes

Monday, October 3, 2011

Using Santa Monica Tax Lawyers to Aid in Handling Business Taxes

All businesses are required to file quarterly and annual taxes to report not only earnings but to pay taxes due. There are many different types of filings that a business is required to keep on top of and sometimes the aid of a tax lawyer is necessary in addition to a CPA. If you are in the Santa Monica area, you will find that there are many Santa Monica tax lawyers just waiting to help you in handling your business taxes. If you are unsure if you need Santa Monica tax lawyers, simply contact the firm today for a free consultation and to see which services may benefit you and your business.

What Business Taxes Will I be required to file?

Only your Santa Monica tax lawyers will be able to ascertain which taxes must be filed by your business but there are three categories that most business are required to file taxes for:

  • Payroll – all employees are subject to having taxes withheld unless they have an exemption. They will fill out a W-4 form at the beginning of their hire and you will withhold taxes based on their specifications. You are not required to verify the amount of dependents they have – they will be asked to verify that information when they file their own income taxes. Your Santa Monica tax lawyers will be able to help you compute the amount of payroll taxes due each quarter and which ones to file. There are three types of taxes that you are required to withhold from the employee’s checks and they are income regular state and federal income taxes, FICA and FUTA. If you do not know how to calculate your payroll taxes or you are late in filing, let your Santa Monica tax lawyers assist you.
  • Sales Taxes – if you sell a tangible good or a service, you will be responsible for collecting state sales tax on all purchases made. This is done at the state level, not the federal and should be treated like any other tax payment. The state agencies will pursue you just like the federal IRS agency. Your Santa Monica tax lawyers are available to help you with sales tax filings whether they are timely or not. If you find that you are in trouble with the state for not collecting or paying sales taxes due, let your Santa Monica tax lawyers help.
  • Business Income Taxes – the type of filing you will do depends largely on what type of business structure you have. Your Santa Monica tax lawyers will be able to direct you to the right filing structure based on your business set up. Corporations, LLC, and Sole Proprietorship are the three structures in which a business can be set up and each one has a different method of reporting income taxes. Check with your Santa Monica tax lawyers today to determine the best way to file.
If you neglect to pay any of these business taxes that may become due, you are asking for trouble. The IRS will pursue collection activities and may even be forced to seize your assets if you do not comply with requests and demands for payments. Your Santa Monica tax lawyers will be able to help you with any tax situation that may arise so feel free to contact them today. 

Watchdog Groups Call for Removal of Tax Exemption for Political Groups

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The growing focus on transparency in campaign finance now involves the IRS, making this a situation that California tax lawyers will watch with interest. Watchdog groups are challenging the tax-exempt status of four political groups, including those set up by Republican Karl Rove and Democrat Bill Burton.

Washington-based Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center have filed the complaint against Carl Rove’s Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, Bill Burton's Priorities USA, American Action Network and Americans Elect. These political groups have spent millions in election campaigns in the past, and are not required to disclose their donors because they are registered as “social welfare” organizations with the Internal Revenue Service. The organizations are not registered as political organizations with the Federal Election Commission.

In an election year, the organizations have come under increased scrutiny because they do not have to disclose their donors. It is this fact that is making advocates of campaign transparency very uneasy. Crossroads GPS, Priorities USA, the American Action Network and Americans Elect claim social welfare tax status. In the complaint to the Internal Revenue Service, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center challenge this status, and the idea that these organizations are social welfare groups.

The Internal Revenue Service allows welfare groups to claim tax exemptions, and these groups normally involve local community associations. However, a group can be involved in some kind of political activity even if it claims tax exemption, just as long as this political activity is not its primary purpose. According to the advocates, these groups exist with one purpose only - to make sure that members of their political parties are elected. The four political organizations have already criticized the complaint as being baseless.

IRS Drawing up Training Standards for Tax Preparers

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service is cracking down on tax preparers, and will soon release competency tests that tax preparers will have to undergo. California tax lawyers hope that this will help prevent the numerous errors seen every year on returns filed by tax preparers.

Beginning from next month, tax preparers must undergo competency testing if they want to continue practicing. From October, the IRS plans to get even tougher on these businesses. Tax preparing companies will have continuing education requirements that will require them to put in at least fifteen hours of training per year.

The stricter standards for tax preparers comes after a review conducted by the Internal Revenue Service. The review found public and industry officials agreeing unanimously that the industry needed greater oversight. At least 90% of the people in the Internal Revenue Service review said that they wanted minimum education requirements for tax preparers. This is a highly unregulated industry, and the IRS wants to inject professionalism into the sector. Some chains like Liberty have instituted in-house testing programs and other measures to increase employee competency.

Next month’s testing for tax preparers will exclude attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents who have already passed an Internal Revenue Service test. Former employees of the Internal Revenue Service, as well as tax preparers supervised by attorneys, CPAs and other professionals are also exempted. Additionally, CPAs, attorneys and enrolled agents will not be required to meet the continuing education requirements for tax preparers.

Tax preparers have already begun signing up with the IRS, and so far more than 700,000 people have signed up. The IRS is also planning a promotional campaign to encourage people to make sure that they file their tax returns only with the help of tax preparers who have undergone testing and are registered with the IRS.

IRS Tax Attorney Shares Common Tax Deductions

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Filing taxes can be confusing to anyone especially with the ever changing tax laws. But there are some tax deductions that are pretty much standard on any tax return and you can find these out by contacting an IRS tax attorney. Deductions can drastically reduce the amount you owe the IRS so it is important to make certain that you are claiming everything you are able to and with the guidance of an IRS tax attorney, you will not be left in the dark. An IRS tax attorney will inform you that there are two basic methods for filing your personal income taxes each year. You can use the short form – 1040EZ - if you have no additional deductions to claim or the long form – 1040A - for people who have child care expenses or work expense or other items not found on the short form. Either form can be used for any filing status such as married, single or widowed. Check with your IRS tax attorney to determine the best filing status for your particular situation. What are the Common Tax Deductions? Some of the common deductions that can be claimed on your tax return each year are as follows: •  Mortgage - You will be able to claim a percentage of your interest on the mortgage loan on your tax return. The 1040 booklet will provide the amount you are able to claim – if you are unsure, you check with an accountant or an IRS tax attorney.  •  Medical Expenses - If you reach a percentage allowed by the IRS on your medical bills you can claim them on your tax return, so if you have had excessive medical bills for the current year, you will want to review the booklet and see if you meet the guidelines for the deduction. An IRS tax attorney will routinely check to ensure that taxpayers who seek advice are taking the medical expense deduction if the situation warrants. •  Contributions to an IRA account - Contributions may be deductible depending on your gross income. Also if you participate in a 401(k) plan or are self-employed and put into a SEP plan. •  Student Loans - You may be able to deduct up to $2,500 per year so long as they are not being claimed by someone else, and your annual gross income is not more than either $75,000 if filing single or $150,000 combined when filing a joint return. This is another common deduction that an IRS tax attorney will advise taxpayers to claim. •  Child Care- This is a separate form added to your 1040 which allows you to claim a certain amount of the child care. Again factors such as gross income and filing status play a role in the amount you can claim – if you are in doubt – check with an IRS tax attorney. •  Charity- If you donated a certain percentage of your income to a charity you will be able to claim that on a long form. Check with an IRS tax attorney for the laws on allowance. •  Clothing and cleaning allowance- If you have a job that requires you to clean the uniforms provided or your job requires you to wear a certain type of shoes and they do not reimburse you for these items, you may be able to deduct these on the long form. As with any deductions it is important to review the booklet that is sent to you from the IRS. This booklet contains all the allowable deductions for the current year. When there is any doubt you can either call the IRS or have an IRS tax attorney prepare the return for you.

IRS Statistics Show Millionaires Taxed More than Middle-Class

Friday, September 23, 2011

Contrary to what Warren Buffett believes, millionaires in the United States are being taxed more than the middle class is. According to statistics from the Internal Revenue Service, millionaires across the country are actually paying income taxes at a much higher rate than people in the middle-class are.

According to data by the Tax Policy Center, households that make more than $1 million pay about 29.1% of their income in taxes. In contrast, households that make between $50,000 and $75,000 per year pay about 15% of their income in taxes every year.

The issue of millionaires and the taxes they pay has become a thorny one, ever since Warren Buffett publicly declared that he was being taxed too low. According to him, his secretary was being taxed much more than him. The federal government is proposing what it calls the Buffet Rule in his honor, and the rule has quickly become the cornerstone of the president's initiative to reduce budget deficits. Under the Buffet Rule, people who make more than $1 million a year will have to pay taxes at a much higher rate than the middle class.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, in 2009, there were more than 1,500 people who had more than $1 million in annual income, and did not pay income taxes at all. California tax lawyers find that when wealthy Americans who make more than $1 million a year pay lower taxes, the reason is simply that most of their income comes from investments which are tax-free, or from offshore sources.

Overall, approximately 236,000 people with an income above $1 million filed federal income taxes in 2009. Those taxes constituted a disproportionate share of federal funds from taxes. In fact, according to the Internal Revenue Service, millionaires paid more than 20% of the total federal revenues from taxes in 2009, or approximately $180 billion.

Lawmakers Ask IRS to Assist Lesbian, Gay Couples with Filing Tax Returns

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Calls from lawmakers asking the Internal Revenue Service to make it easier for lesbian and homosexual couples to file tax returns, are getting louder. This week Rep. Keith Ellison added his voice to those asking the agency to provide tax guidance to LGBT couples. He joins 74 members of Congress who have signed a letter calling on the agency to step up to its responsibility to provide tax filing information for lesbian and gay couples.

Same-sex couples may find it more difficult to file tax returns and may find their tax status complicated because of inconsistencies in federal and state tax laws. While several states recognize same-sex relationships, including those based on marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, the federal government does not. The federal government continues to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which does not recognize such unions.

This complicates matters for same-sex couples, and California tax lawyers, when tax filing day comes around. California is a community property state. Often, the IRS assesses fines against same-sex couples who make community property-related deductions, because the agency systems do not recognize the relationship, and therefore, the deductions.

The letter by the lawmakers asks the Internal Revenue Service to develop guidelines that same-sex couples can use while filing their tax returns. According to the letter, the Internal Revenue Service should provide guidance to make it easier for same-sex couples to navigate through the complexity and uncertainty surrounding these issues. While full equality may be many years away, there is no reason why gay and lesbian couples should find it harder to file taxes simply because the agency has failed to develop proper guidelines.

IRS Shows Continued Progress on International Tax Evasion

Thursday, September 15, 2011

IRS Newswire  9/15/2011 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service continues to make strong progress in combating international tax evasion, with new details announced today showing the recently completed offshore program pushed the total number of voluntary disclosures up to 30,000 since 2009. In all, 12,000 new applications came in from the 2011 offshore program that closed last week.

The IRS also announced today it has collected $2.2 billion so far from people who participated in the 2009 program, reflecting closures of about 80 percent of the cases from the initial offshore program. On top of that, the IRS has collected an additional $500 million in taxes and interest as down payments for the 2011 program — a figure that will increase because it doesn’t yet include penalties.

“By any measure, we are in the middle of an unprecedented period for our global international tax enforcement efforts,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We have pierced international bank secrecy laws, and we are making a serious dent in offshore tax evasion.”

Global tax enforcement is a top priority at the IRS, and Shulman noted progress on multiple fronts, including ground-breaking international tax agreements and increased cooperation with other governments. In addition, the IRS and Justice Department have increased efforts involving criminal investigation of international tax evasion.

The combination of efforts helped support the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), which ended on Sept. 9. The 2011 effort followed the strong response to the 2009 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) that ended on Oct. 15, 2009. The programs gave U.S.taxpayers with undisclosed assets or income offshore a second chance to get compliant with the U.S. tax system, pay their fair share and avoid potential criminal charges.

The 2009 program led to about 15,000 voluntary disclosures and another 3,000 applicants who came in after the deadline, but were allowed to participate in the 2011 initiative. Beyond that, the 2011 program has generated an additional 12,000 voluntary disclosures, with some additional applications still being counted. All together from these efforts, taxpayers came forward and made 30,000 voluntary disclosures.

“My goal all along was to get people back into the U.S. tax system,” Shulman said. “Not only are we bringing people back into the U.S. tax system, we are bringing revenue into the U.S. Treasury and turning the tide against offshore tax evasion.”

In new figures announced today from the 2009 offshore program, the IRS has $2.2 billion in hand from taxes, interest and penalties representing about 80 percent of the 2009 cases that have closed. These cases come from every corner of the world, with bank accounts covering 140 countries.

The IRS is starting to work through the 2011 applications. The $500 million in payments so far from the 2011 program brings the total collected through the offshore programs to $2.7 billion.

“This dollar figure will grow in the months ahead,” Shulman said. “But just as importantly, we have changed the risk calculus. Americans now understand that if they try to hide assets overseas, the chances of being caught continue to increase.”

The financial impact can be seen in a variety of other areas beyond the 2009 and 2011 programs.

  • Criminal prosecutions. People hiding assets offshore have received jail sentences running for months or years, and they have been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.
  • UBS. UBS AG, Switzerland's largest bank, agreed in 2009 to pay $780 million in fines, penalties, interest and restitution as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government.

The two disclosure programs provided the IRS with a wealth of information on various banks and advisors assisting people with offshore tax evasion, and the IRS will use this information to continue its international enforcement efforts.