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STRATEGIC TAX LAWYERS:  TAX BLOG

Tips about the Premium Tax Credit

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

For those of you who don’t know, the premium tax credit helps taxpayers in lower income ranges to afford healthcare insurance when it is purchased through a Health Insurance Marketplace. However, to get to use the premium tax credit, a taxpayer needs to meet eligibility requirements based on their tax return.  

Tax experts reveal some tips that the IRS want taxpayers to know about the premium tax credit. 


First off, there is a question about household income and this is important for the IRS to get an accurate picture of your (and your spouse’s) adjusted gross income whether you file an individual or joint tax return.  In addition, each person you claim as a dependent is also important to determine if you qualify for the tax credit. If you have questions about the tax credit relating to your spouse or dependents, you can contact the IRS at IRS.gov/aca.


The IRS may also be interested in your Form 1095-A in order to verify the information on your tax return.  If you need to get a copy of this form, you can request one at https://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act/Individuals-and-Families/Health-Insurance-Marketplace-Statements


If you received advance payments of the premium tax credit, you will still need to file a tax return in order to settle how much you received in advance and compare it to the amount you should receive with the premium tax credit.  You will need to provide the IRS with Form 8962 whether or not you need to file a tax return.


If you have an issue with filing your taxes before the due date, you may receive a letter from the IRS to let you know you may not have filed a tax return. Simply follow what the IRS suggests in the letter based on the instructions. Don’t forget to complete any information needed on your Marketplace application by December 15, 2015. If you happen to miss this deadline, you may end up paying the full costs of your health care insurance Marketplace plan and covered services.


Any taxpayer that needs assistance with filing a tax return and reconciling can file electronically.  This happens to be the safest, most accurate and easiest way to file your tax return. 


The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP are a firm of professional and qualified California Tax Attorneys, 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.




New Health Insurance Information and Regulations

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Beginning in January 2016, there will be new health insurance regulations and information that the IRS will start requiring. This includes that employers that provide minimum essential coverage need to report information to the IRS about that individual’s health coverage in the previous year, meaning in 2015. The taxpayer will need to verify this information from the 1095-B Form for Health Coverage Information or from the 1095-C Form for Health Insurance Offer and Coverage once they are ready to file their tax returns. The information that will need to be verified is the amount of months they received health coverage.  The statements that the IRS receives will be used to verify how long the taxpayer received essential health coverage.
 
If an employer offers health plans for those who are self-insured, they may need to include additional reporting requirements for the employees that are self-insured.  If there is a large employer, they will need to complete the 1094-C Form and 1095-C Form in order to provide the IRS with information pertaining to employees with self-insured health coverage. However, if an employer does not qualify as a large employer, they do not need to file 1094-C and 1095-C Forms; instead they need to file the 1094-B and 1095-B Forms so that they can provide the IRS with relevant information about employees with self-insured health coverage. As a reminder, these 2015 reporting forms are due February 29, 2016 if filing directly with the IRS or March 31, 2016 for e-filing. The forms need to have the taxpayer’s name, identification numbers and how long (number of months) each of the employees were enrolled and received benefits.

For employers with less than fifty full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, there will be different tax provisions than for larger companies. One such consideration is that over 95% of employers with less than fifty employees many not be subject to the employer shared responsibility provision, so it is extremely important to accurately note the number of employees. In addition, for those employers with fifty or less employees, they can get employees health insurance coverage through the Small Business Health Exchange.  For employers with 25 or less FTE earning below $50,000, they could be entitled to the small business healthcare tax credit.  Every employer needs to file tax information returns each year for the employees that they cover, which are due when tax returns are filed in 2016.

Do you have questions about how the health care law or employer health care coverage can affect your 2016 tax return? Or are you concerned about the legal matters regarding health law that is associated with your tax return?  Are you looking to hire a tax law professional?  Contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP who have years of tax-related experience and results that are successful.  For a free consultation call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775.


New 2016 Tax Season Starts January 19th

Monday, December 28, 2015

The IRS has announced that the 2016 tax season will begin as scheduled on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. As such, the IRS will start accepting tax returns on January 19th. With that said, the IRS is anticipating over 150 million individual tax returns next year.  They expect eighty percent (80%) of tax returns to be e-filed using tax preparation software. The processing of paper returns will also be conducted at about the same time period. For tax payers looking to gain an advantage by filing their taxes by paper before January 19th, they should know that they will be processed at the time that e-file will begin. The tax software companies will start accepting returns before January 19th and will submit them directly to the IRS once the systems are open. 


IRS employees are ready to process the new tax returns and have spent time this year to make the tax season start on time. The IRS works with tax professionals and the tax software community to collaborate on the new tax filing season.  In addition, to add greater measures of security, the IRS has also been collaborating with state revenue departments and other tax professionals to work on combating identity theft and protecting taxpayers during the 2016 tax filing season.


Taxpayers will be able to submit their 2015 tax returns by Monday, April 18, 2016, not the traditional April 15th date which is Emancipation Day, so the deadline will be pushed a few days later. As always, the Strategic Tax Lawyers urge taxpayers to prepare for your tax filing by having all documents and year-end statements handy. This includes your W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and 1095-A forms if you plan to claim the premium tax credit.  The Strategic Tax Lawyers encourage all taxpayers to investigate the credits and deductions during tax preparation. 


We recommend using e-file and direct deposit, which is safe, accurate and fast with minimal errors. The IRS will expedite tax returns with an anticipated ninety percent of refunds getting issued in less than 21 days. 


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.




New Initiative for Payroll Taxes

Monday, December 28, 2015

The IRS currently developed a new initiative that will assist employers stay current with their payroll taxes.  This initiative is meant to be more effective and efficient for helping employers to identify if they are falling behind on any payroll or employment taxes. This will also assist employers catch up on payments and reporting requirements. This is now known as the Early Interaction Initiative.


The Early Interaction Initiative will allow employers the opportunity to be compliant and avoid unnecessary penalties or interest charges. For example, the Early Interaction Initiative will guide those employers who may have problems with their tax payments before there is an employment tax return filed. In this capacity, the IRS will assist employers directly via phone messages or communications with an IRS officer.

Previously, the IRS made contact with an employer if they noticed payment difficulties which usually occurred when the process was further along. This was usually after a return was filed and there were issues mounting. The IRS believes that employers are key players in the federal tax system. Therefore, they deserve the assistance and information necessary to maintain those responsibilities. This new interaction offer assistance early on before issues arise. 


Over sixty percent of taxes come through the payroll tax system and for this reason, legally, employers need to withhold federal income tax. In addition, Social Security and Medicare taxes are also withheld from employees’ wages.


Employers, ma at times inappropriately direct certain funds that have been withheld from their employees’ paychecks. These types of actions can cause legal issues and tax liabilities for the employer, not to mention penalties, interest charges and possible other repercussions to the business.


Many things can trigger the attention of the IRS.  If you need tax advice from Payroll Tax Attorneys and CP504 Attorneys, the Strategic Tax Lawyers can help!  The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP is a firm made up of an expert California Tax Attorneys, 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.




Report About Better Improvements at the IRS

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has published a report stating that there are improvements necessary at the IRS for identity protection to better assist identity theft victims.  The need to improve identity protection will help to reduce the burden on taxpayers that is caused by identity theft.  In 2008, Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) was established to assist victims of identity theft to help resolve their issues quickly and effectively.

However, over three years ago, IPSU was found to not be providing assistance to every identity theft victim. The promise was to assist identity theft victims with a way to get their questions answered and resolved.  TIGTA originally conducted an investigation of the way cases of identity theft were handled in order to follow up on how effective the IPSU was in meeting its identity protection goals.  TIGTA’s review was meant to determine if the IPSU would assist in streamlining the identity theft process in order to assist victims and provide a point of contact.

TIGTA revealed that the IRS does not provide a large percentage of identity theft victims with an IPSU contact person due to severe IRS budget limitations.  TIGTA also found that the IRS would not follow procedures to issue the required acknowledgement and correspondence to taxpayers burdened by identity theft. Nor did the IRS successfully conduct assessments to identify and assist taxpayers who had an identity theft claim.  TIGTA also revealed in its report that the IRS did not establish a process that ensured IPSU would receive effective customer service.

In its recommendation report, TIGTA suggested for the IRS to make sure that the required documentation and correspondence are sent to victims of identity theft in a timely manner. This couldn’t be emphasized enough.  In addition, any cases or claims that would be submitted without a complete Social Security Number should be researched and completed. As for the customer service issue, the recommendations included for the IRS to respond to taxpayers’ voicemail messages in a timely manner. The IRS has agreed to provide quality customer service to all taxpayers.  This includes any taxpayer who has personally been victimized by identity thieves.

 Strategic Tax Lawyers LLP are experienced IRS tax attorneys in Los Angeles who have counseled clients about their rights if they get audited.  These IRS tax attorneys can assist you with removing guesswork to prevent any issues.  The Strategic Tax Lawyers offer free and confidential consultations about tax-related issues. Call today at (800) 669-4775 if you need assistance. 




Now it’s Official: No Taxes, No Passport

Sunday, December 20, 2015

We wrote about this in November and wanted to inform everyone that the passport provision is now in effect. This is official, ladies and gentleman.  President Obama has signed the bill making a new IRS Revenue Code. The new law allows the U.S. State Department to revoke, deny or limit a passport if someone has a tax debt the IRS identifies as delinquent over the amount of $50,000. The new rule is part of H.R.22, a transportation act funding bill.   The details are not quite understood yet, but if you have a tax debt in the amount defined as delinquent by the IRS, you will have a problem with your passport. In fact, this could also mean that there will be existing passports rescinded. 

Tax experts estimate that this new law could save the federal government nearly $400 million over the next ten years. Next month, Congress will enact this new law which will give the federal government the ability to rescind the passports of Americans who have a tax debt and have not made plans to settle it.  With this new law, the U.S. State Department will be able to deny new passports to those who have tax delinquencies.

The IRS is working on identifying a list of taxpayers with tax delinquencies equaling $50,000 or more that will include interest charges and penalties.  And those penalties add up quickly.  If a U.S. citizen needs to travel for a certain humanitarian cause, that will be an exception if they happen to have tax debt.  However, if a U.S. taxpayer is on a current IRS payment plan or has a pending tax case pending in tax court, then this humanitarian rule will not apply to them. 

The Strategic Tax Lawyers, Los Angeles based tax attorneys, can help you contest a tax bill with the IRS in court before it becomes a tax debt. This is now a very important aspect when it comes to this passport provision. You don’t want to have a lingering debt over your head, as the repercussions are more serious now since there is a chance you will not be able to leave the country.  There will be an exception made for humanitarian reasons.  Even if the IRS has filed a notice of lien in excess of $50,000, you could have your passport revoked. This is a very serious matter. There are millions of Americans living overseas. If they owe over $50,000 to the U.S. government, there may be a chance that they will not be flying back to the U.S.  

If you have outstanding tax debt in excess of $50,000 there is a chance that the State Department can rescind your passport or not issue a new one.  Contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers, Los Angeles based tax attorneys who specialize in the tax code with years of experience in tax-related and IRS issues. The Strategic Tax Lawyers have over fifteen years of experience successfully helping clients deal with the IRS. Contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free case consultation. 





Beware of Phishing and Malware Products Which Claim to Protect Your Data

Friday, December 18, 2015

Have you received correspondence to “update your account” or that “you just won a trip to Hawaii!” or maybe “the IRS has a tax refund for you.” What you need to know is that in cyber space, there are ways to bait or lure people in, also known as phishing schemes.  Phishing can come in the form of emails, phone calls or texts in order to get you excited and lure you into a trap. This scheme is meant to take your cash, your personal information, such as your passwords or Social Security Number.  The bad news is, once a con artist gets a hold of this information, then your identity is gone.


We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, firm made up of IRS Tax Attorneys and other tax professionals, and we are here to warn you about phishing and Malware products which can do more harm than good if you don’t know the warning signs. Currently, the IRS is working with tax experts and state officials to educate the public about the dangers phishing and Malware can create for your personal and financial information. You probably have received many warnings to be cautious of phishing schemes. 


Phishing schemes are problematic since cyber thieves use the information they gather to con innocent people into handing over their cash or personal data. The IRS is very concerned about this since this can impact your finances and taxes.


Phishing schemes are a type of crime, and we are the ones who need to fight this battle. Cyber thieves will fraudulently impersonate a person or organization that is trusted or recognized all to get your money and personal information.  Phishing schemes may include hacking an email account to send mass emails under their name. Or there are cases that cyber thieves pretend to be a bank or credit card company to get you to fork over information.  These people are very crafty and make the correspondence you receive appear to be real and legitimate, yet in reality they are fake company websites or phone numbers. 


We want you to take note that no legitimate business will request personal information from you through email or other unsecured ways. Also, the IRS does not send unsolicited emails or threaten with lawsuits or jail time.


Phishing and scam emails can infect your computer with malware and chances are you won’t know. That’s how the criminal gains access to your computer allowing them to view all your information, files, keyboard strokes, etc.  To protect yourself you should avoid emails that look suspicious which may be a phishing scheme. Don’t click on the links, instead view their websites directly. If you receive an email that requests you update or verify your account, it could be a form of phishing. Avoid malware by not opening email attachments from senders you don’t know. Don’t download from websites you aren’t aware of.


We are the Strategic Tax Lawyers, a firm made up of IRS Tax Attorneys, Estate Tax Lawyers and IRS Bank Levy Attorneys. If you need an attorney for your estate legal handlings, contact the Strategic Tax Lawyers since we have experience with levies. Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 today for a free consultation.




Wesley Snipes In Trouble With the IRS Again

Friday, December 18, 2015

Actor Wesley Snipes is in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service once again.  He is currently fighting an enormous tax bill from the IRS in the amount of $17.5 million. Snipes has had problems with the IRS before and he was not successful.  Previously, Snipes was convicted in 2008 for failing to pay his taxes for three years for 1999, 2000 and 2001, resulting in three misdemeanors.  He was sentenced to three years for tax charges, not felony charges. This long battle with the IRS over unpaid tax debt caused him to serve a prison sentence from December 2010 through April 2013.  


Currently, Snipes is in a new dispute with the IRS over an estimated of $17.5 million, but Snipes has been petitioning the U.S. Tax Court and appealing to be able to qualify for the IRS’s Fresh Start program. The IRS Fresh Start Initiative has programs such as the Offer in Compromise (OIC) for taxpayers with a large tax debt to have a way to settle that tax debt. In order to be considered for an OIC, the IRS needs to qualify you based on what your true ability to pay actually is.


Snipes is hoping to lower the amount that he owes the IRS to $842,000 instead of $17.5 million. The IRS denied this.


In April 2013, Snipes was slapped with a $24 million tax lien for his previous unpaid taxes equaling $24 million. This year, the IRS estimated he owes $6.4 million. However, Snipes believes that the IRS just increased the amount he owes to more than $18 million. Snipes has appealed this estimate and his tax attorneys are leading the dispute in court. The tax attorneys are trying to get Snipes to enter the Fresh Start Initiative since he desperately needs the fresh start. 


The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LLP 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 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.




2015 Year End Charitable Gifts

Friday, December 18, 2015

It’s that time of year when you may start thinking about end of the year gift giving.  The IRS recommends for taxpayers who want to make a gift to charity by year’s end to be aware of the legal tax law provisions that may have changed. 


Donations of household Items such as clothing, furniture, and electronics, such as appliances need to be in good used condition in order to receive a tax-deductible letter for tax purposes. If your total donation amount is worth more than $500 you should include a qualified appraisal of the donation items which you include as a document with your tax return. The Strategic Tax Lawyers, LA-based tax attorneys recommend that all taxpayers who make gifts or donations to charity keep the donation documents if the amount is over $250.  This document should list a description of all the donated items. 


Any cash, check, or credit card donations will need to have either a bank record included. This can be a canceled check or credit card statement which should include the name of the charity, donation date, and contribution amount.  We recommend for all taxpayers to keep this information as proof of your gift giving, as the documentation is needed for tax purposes.  Remember, any gift or donation over the amount of $250 needs an acknowledgment letter from the charity to serve as proof of a charitable gift. The IRS requires this type of documentation. 


In addition, the Strategic Tax Lawyers (LA Tax Attorneys) strongly recommend for taxpayers to check if the charity is tax-deductible.  A tax-deductible status, such as a 501(c)(3) allows the organization to be eligible to receive donations. The easiest way to check for this information is to search online on the IRS website or you can call the IRS directly to confirm charity status.  You can find a list online that indicates the names of organizations that are eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. It’s also important to note that religious institutions and most government agencies are able to receive contributions.

Your end of the gifts and contributions can be deducted during the tax year they are donated. For example, if you give a donation on your credit card by the end of December 31, 2015, it will count for your 2015 taxes even though your credit card statement will be issued in 2016. 


The Strategic Tax Attorneys strongly urge taxpayers to claim deductions for their charitable contributions and have the proof and documentation readily available for their tax preparers. Tax professionals can’t emphasize this bit of information enough since it is important to have documentation for donations, which can include furniture, clothing, toys, vehicles, etc.  All documentation needs to include the charity’s name, the date the contribution was made and a description of the donated item(s).  If the value of the donation is over $250, more documentation will be needed.  


The Strategic Tax Lawyers are staffed with credible tax attorneys and attorneys dealing with everything from amnesty and tax relief to annual giving.  The firm has documented years of experience winning cases and negotiating with the opposing side.  Clients always receive the best results with the Strategic Tax Lawyers on their side. Call the Strategic Tax Lawyers at (800) 669-4775 for a free case consultation.




Reality Stars in Trouble With the IRS

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Reality stars have been catching the attention of the Internal Revenue Service. Specifically Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Joe and Teresa Giudice who have been a favorite of the IRS. They are notorious for having tax issues and just recently the IRS slapped them with another tax lien for over $550,000. The couple has been found guilty of multiple tax crimes for failing to file their tax return. Currently Teresa is serving a prison sentence until the end of this year. At that time, Joe will do his time in prison. Why is it that reality stars are on the IRS’ radar? What can we learn from these reality stars that we can share with our clients and other taxpayers?

Here are some tips that you can follow so that you don’t fall into similar situations as reality stars like the Giudices.

First, you need to file your income tax returns. If you don’t, even if you are a reality star, you will get the IRS on your tail. Take the example of former Jersey Shore star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.  He claimed not guilty for not paying taxes on earnings equaling approximately $9 million. A tax attorney had to take on the case to defend “The Situation” for conspiracy to defraud the government, filing fraudulent tax returns for two years and not filing for taxes one year.  Sorrentino had to let his legal counsel go when he could no longer afford to pay him. 

The tax law states that failing to file a tax return will result in a fine of up to $25,000 plus a possibility of prison time. This amount is more severe for a corporation.  The basic lesson to learn from here is that failing to file and failing to pay are both going to cost you more in the long run when the IRS catches you. However, if you can’t afford to pay your taxes, you should definitely file your income taxes. The penalties will not be as severe. 

Another tip to learn from these reality stars is not to submit fraudulent tax returns to the IRS. This seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how often this occurs. One reality star, Jeff Zausch of the show “Naked and Afraid XL” faced insurance fraud charges for giving false information to an insurance company after a car accident. Zausch was caught in a bit of a problem and was forced to pay a fine, had to do community service and was on probation. 

Strategic Tax Lawyers LLP are experienced IRS tax lawyers, 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.