Jun 282012
 
Supreme Court Upholds Healthcare Law By Finding Individual Mandate Qualifies As A Tax

In a surprising conclusion to a constitutional challenge that has gripped the nation for the past two years, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts joined with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan today to uphold the linchpin of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill, the individual mandate requiring citizens to carry insurance or pay a penalty.  The court held the mandate valid under the authority granted to Congress under Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution “to lay and collect Taxes” to provide for the “general More…

Jun 262012
 
IRS To Revamp Whistleblower Program After Participation Falls Off

A recent IRS report on the whistleblower program has found that tax collections from tipsters fell sharply last year, prompting announced changes to the program.  The whistleblower program gathers information from people who want to alert the IRS about tax cheating in exchange for monetary rewards.  Over the years, the program has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the government that would not have been collected without whistleblower tips.  However, in 2011, the IRS reported only $48 million from the program, down from $464 million in 2010 and the lowest reported amount since 2004. The More…

Jun 182012
 
GOP Lawmakers Send Letter To IRS Demanding Justification For Donor Name Requests

It seems as if the ongoing saga between the IRS and political action committees (PACs) took another turn today as eleven Republican senators who serve on the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance sent a letter to the IRS citing concerns over privacy protections and requesting additional information regarding the agency’s request for private donor information from organizations seeking tax exempt status.  Previously, we discussed calls by campaign finance reform advocates to investigate the role that 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization were playing in influencing elections and the IRS’ denial of tax-exempt status to one organization which the IRS determined to be organized More…

Jun 132012
 
IRS Warns Of New Scam Targeting DOD Employees

The IRS is warning taxpayers to be cautious of a new, email-based phishing scam that targets Department of Defense military members, retirees and civilian employees.  According to the IRS, the email appears to come from Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) and displays a .mil email address.  The email states that those receiving disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be able to obtain additional funds from the IRS. Email recipients are then asked to send various VA and IRS documents containing their personal and financial information, such as copies of VA award letters or their income More…

Jun 082012
 
IRS Denial Of Tax Exempt Status To Political Group May Be Cause For Other Groups' Concern

A recent decision by the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of Emerge America, a small political nonprofit organization, may concern larger groups, such as Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA, that have already spent millions on the 2012 U.S. presidential election and are looking to spend millions more.  The IRS decision, released last month, involved a so-called campaign school in which a partisan group provided “training” to candidates.  “You are not operated primarily to promote social welfare because your activities are conducted primarily for the benefit of a political party and a private group of individuals, rather than the community as More…

Jun 062012
 
Challenges To DOMA May Lead To Changes In Same-Sex Couple Tax Planning

As challenges to DOMA keep mounting, the status of tax planning for LGBT couples find itself in a state of flux.  DOMA, fully known as the Defense of Marriage Act, is a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.  Under the law, no U.S. state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state and same-sex marriage is not recognized for all federal purposes, including for tax purposes.   The Obama administration has previously announced that it will no longer defend legal challenges to DOMA in federal court, and the past More…

Jun 042012
 
Supreme Court Rules That Cities Have The Ability To Forgive Future Tax Payments Without Violating Equal Protection

In a case that could impact the future tax policy of municipal governments, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the city of Indianapolis did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when it decided to forgive future property tax obligations for certain taxpayers, but refused to the refund the payments made by other taxpayers for the same assessments. In the case of Armour v. City of Indianapolis, the high court ruled by a 6-3 vote that authorities in Indianapolis had not violated the Constitution in their handling of a special sewer tax More…