Aug 312012
 

A Florida Miccosukee Indian tribe is learning that not even sovereign Indian nations can escape the long arm of the IRS.  An attorney for the tribe appeared in front of a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday to argue that the IRS has no explicit authority to subpoena banks for tribal records.  The judges did not seem to be impressed with the tribe attorney’s argument that, “”when it comes to Indian tribes there has to be specific mention in the statute that applies to them,” pointing out that Indian tribes are included in broad More…

Aug 292012
 
What To Do If You Are A Victim Of Tax-Related Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft is on the rise, especially in Florida.  According to a July, 2012 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), an analysis of tax returns processed during the 2011 filing season identified approximately 1.5 million returns with characteristics of identity theft, which caused the IRS to issue refunds in excess of $5.2 billion.  Based on this analysis, TIGTA conservatively estimated that the IRS could issue approximately $21 billion in fraudulent tax refunds resulting from identity theft over the next five years.  Obviously, this type of crime is paying, and so it is reasonable to expect More…

Aug 272012
 
Employers: What To Do If You Receive A Notice Of Wage Levy

When a taxpayer fails to satisfy their tax liabilities, the IRS has an wide variety of collection tools that it may call upon in order to force the taxpayer’s compliance. One (infamous) method is that of a wage levy, which requires employers to assist the IRS in its tax collection efforts by seizing the taxpayer’s income at the source. When the employer receives a Form 688-W, Notice of Levy of Wages, Salary, and Other Income, they have little option but to follow the IRS’ instructions.  The IRC requires that the employer deduct a certain amount of the employee’s pay and More…

Aug 232012
 
New Mexico Man Convicted For Retaliation Against IRS

A man in Albuquerque New Mexico has been convicted of retaliating against two IRS workers who were attempting to collect taxes from him and his wife.  Sixty-eight-year-old John Williamson faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $255,000 for felony charges of retaliation and interference with the IRS agents’ official duties.  Williamson and his wife, Nancy, were indicted last year on charges that they filed false liens against the IRS agent and his supervisor’s homes, vehicles and personal property, claiming the IRS workers owed them nearly a billion dollars.  Nancy previously pled guilty in May More…

Aug 212012
 
Tax Tips For Charitable Giving

Contributing money and property to a charitable organization is one of the ways that a taxpayer can support a charitable cause while simultaneously reducing their income tax burden.  However, in order for the donation to be tax-deductible, certain conditions must be met.  The IRS recently put forward the following tips for taxpayers regarding the deductibility of donations. 1. Tax-exempt status – Contributions must be made to qualified charitable organizations in order to be deductible.  Be sure to ask the charity about its tax-exempt status, or check IRS.gov for the Exempt Organizations Select Check (a/k/a Publication 78), an online search tool More…

Aug 172012
 
Swiss Banks Begins Turning Over Their Own Employees To The IRS

A frequent topic of conversation on this blog is the issue of foreign tax havens and the trouble they can cause with the IRS.  Usually, these articles discuss the consequences to taxpayers who have maintained foreign accounts in banks which are now working with the IRS in an effort to save themselves from further prosecution. However, this time it appears that a number of Swiss banks are throwing their own employees under the bus. At least five Swiss banks, including HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss unit, Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER), have supplied e-mails and More…

Aug 142012
 
Life Insurance Planning Will Be Very Important If Estate Tax Exemption Rolls Back

While many people are aware that life insurance policies are generally exempt from income tax, they may not be aware that the value of these policies may be included in their estate for the purpose of calculating estate taxes.  Under IRC § 2042, the value of a decedent’s gross estate includes the value of any life insurance policy that is either (1) receivable by the executor of the decedent’s estate (i.e. where the estate is a beneficiary); or (2) receivable by any other beneficiary when the decedent had any “incidents of ownership” over the policy at the time of death.  More…

Aug 102012
 
Florida TRIM Notices Come Out In August; Owners Have 25 Days To Appeal A Property Value Determination

It’s that time of year again.  Florida property owners can expect to receive a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, also called a Truth in Millage (TRIM) Notice, mailed by mid-August.  This is not a bill, but rather an estimate of property taxes based on proposed tax rates, property value, and applicable exemptions (e.g. homestead).  The TRIM Notice contains several important pieces of information, such as: Property reference by key number, parcel number and abbreviated parcel description. A list of the taxing authorities which levy taxes on the property. Information regarding non-ad valorem assessments commonly known as MSBU’s (Municipal Service Benefit More…

Aug 062012
 
IRS Rules That Donations To Single Member LLCs Wholly-Owned By Charities Are Deductible

The IRS has issued a new notice which offers guidance regarding the deductibility of contributions made to a single member LLC that is wholly-owned by a charitable organization.  Notice 2012-52 states that the IRS will now treat contributions to a single member LLC that is disregarded for income tax purposes as contributions to a branch or division of the charitable organization.  Thus, if contributions to the charitable organization itself are deductible on the donor’s federal income taxes, contributions to a single member LLC owned by the charitable organization will also be deductible. A disregarded entity is considered the same as More…

Aug 012012
 
Winning Big At The Olympics Could Cost Some Serious Tax Dollars

According to an analysis done by American For Tax Reform, the cost of winning a medal at the 2012 London Olympics is not simply measured in blood, sweat, and tears, there are some serious tax consequences as well. Under the Internal Revenue Code, the American Olympians must count the value of the actual medals, as well as the cash prize they receive from the government for winning those medals, as taxable income.  At today’s commodity prices, the value of a gold medal is about $675, while a silver medal is worth about $385 and a bronze medal is worth about More…