Sep 282015
 
International Financing for Green Cards?

Many U.S. businesses get their funding from local banks or private U.S. investors.  Sometimes, however, there is an opportunity to get financing from abroad on more advantageous terms.  One such opportunity was recently illustrated in a recent Wall Street Journal article.  The article describes U.S. real estate developers receiving funds from foreign investors in exchange for green cards.  When such an opportunity arises, certain U.S. income tax implications should be considered as part of the deal.  In my first blog, I will discuss these tax implications as related to U.S. businesses. When a U.S. business receives funds from a foreign More…

Sep 122012
 
IRS $104 Million Whistleblower Payment Should Make Foreign Account Holders Nervous

Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS AG bank executive, was instrumental in helping U.S. authorities expose tax evasion facilitated by the Swiss banking giant.  The information Birkenfeld provided led to an investigation that ultimately resulted in a 2009 settlement between the United States and UBS, with the latter agreeing to pay $780 million in fines and to turn over the names of thousands of Americans suspected of using Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes.  This settlement would be the precursor to the breaking of the backbone of the Swiss banking industry as a haven for tax-dodgers.  On Tuesday, Birkenfeld got his More…

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 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…

Jul 112012
 
Questions Abound Regarding IRS’ Ability To Enforce Healthcare Law

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled affirmatively on the new healthcare law and its most controversial measure, the individual mandate, the IRS must prepare to enforce the new legislation while still maintaining its customary obligation of collecting the taxes necessary to run the federal government.  Some have called into question if the problem-stricken agency can handle this new obligation, as well as whether the IRS has maintained adequate transparency in preparing for the role. As the IRS seeks funding to build a system to oversee the healthcare mandate, Republicans suspect the agency is already diverting resources away from More…

Jul 052012
 
National Taxpayer Advocate Admonishes IRS For Increasing Use Of Automation When Dealing With Taxpayers

The Taxpayer Advocate Service has released its 2013 Objectives Report To Congress and in the document it takes the IRS to task for “increasing using automation to distance itself from communicating personally with taxpayers.”  The report states that the IRS has increasingly turned to automated procedures to assess tax liabilities in the face of “growing responsibilities and shrinking examination resources.”  These procedures are often used for technically non-audit programs such as the automated substitute for return (ASFR) program, automated underreporter (AUR) program, math error adjustments, automated questionable credit or refund (AQC) program, and correspondence examinations.  The report states that in More…

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…

May 072012
 
Victims Of Identity Theft Must Still Satisfy Their Obligations To The IRS

Since we have previously established that the IRS is willing to make taxpayers wait a substantial period of time for their refunds while they sort out identity theft issues, we are now focusing on whether the IRS will wait for the taxpayer while the issue sorts itself out.  Not surprisingly, the answer is a resounding no. A recent article in the Florida Sun Sentinel highlights the plight of one Florida business owner who was a victim of identity theft.  The business owner had directed that a portion of his $3,562 refund  go toward paying his first 2012 quarterly estimated tax More…