Employment and Payroll Tax Audit & Examination:
The IRS announced its plan to audit the first 6,000 employment tax audits and small business will be their audit target. The IRS will start examining 2,000 companies every year over the next 3 years.

The IRS will utilize its audit findings to target a select group of businesses and aggressively audit their payroll tax and refine estimates to close the tax gap. IRS audit agents are specially trained to audit employment and payroll tax for the audited businesses.

Colleges and Universities Tax Audits:
The IRS will audit 400 Colleges and Universities this year. The IRS is looking for unrelated business income to focus its examination at. The IRS suspects that many universities aren’t paying taxes on income from unrelated activities to their tax-exempt status, for example: stadium advertising, gym memberships, and executive pay.

Contractors with unpaid back taxes:
The IRS is cracking down hard on contractors with unpaid back taxes. The current Obama administration is developing new regulations to prevent federal contractors from receiving any government contracts as long as they owe back tax debt. In 2008, procedures were in place to prevent any contractor from bidding on government contacts if they owed $3,000 or more in tax liens and or tax judgments to the IRS.

The Revenue Service is also eyeing projects that use rehabilitation credit. IRS Agents have spotted developers claiming the 20% income tax credit on the cost of renovating certified historic buildings before they have the necessary documentation from the National Park Service to certify that the subject project is in fact historic in nature. The IRS will crack down on developers who are performing Historic structure renovations.

Employers with unpaid FICA on tips:
The IRS is sending out bills to employers such as restaurants and hotels to collect on unpaid FICA on unreported tips using data they collected from form 4137 which employees use to report tip income that they didn’t disclose to their employers. The IRS is sending letters to these employers instructing them to include their calculated amount on their next scheduled payroll deposit. Employers who comply will avoid any penalties and interest on the back taxes. The IRS is also revising the 4137 form to include the employer’s EIN number.

Mike Habib EA actively represents taxpayers in audits and examination before all administrative levels of the IRS. Don’t compromise on your representation, contact us today.

Get your free audit consultation by calling 1-877-788-2937.

IRS Problem Solvers is who you need If you have tax problems, we can help. Millions of American taxpayers are stressed by their tax problems because it’s hard to address it with the IRS on their own. Our firm specializes in tax problem resolution, we represent taxpayers with unpaid back taxes, unfiled tax returns, and we represent the audited taxpayer before all administrative levels of the IRS.

Tax problems are usually complex matters and should be handled by a specialized tax firm, the principal of our firm, Mike Habib is an IRS problem solver, he provides solutions to tax problems and will explain your options and protect your rights. Most taxpayers ignore their tax problems by doing nothing assuming that it will go away by itself, not knowing that the only sure thing about tax problems is that they do not go away!

If you owe back taxes, or have unfiled tax returns, the IRS will send you notices that are hard to understand, but they are serious! I consider the IRS the largest and most aggressive collection agency in the world! You do not want to ignore them anymore, as there are many options to resolve your tax matters and get peace of mind. You should also be informed that the IRS can garnish your wages, levy your bank account, levy your pensions, your savings, your property and even your social security checks.

Contact Mike Habib, your trusted IRS problem solver at 1-877-788-2937.

Haven’t filed your tax returns in years? No worries, we can get your tax documents that are necessary to professionally prepare your delinquent and unfiled tax returns. The IRS states that there are more than 6,000,000 Americans who didn’t file, don’t let the IRS punish you in their own way. If you have not filed past tax returns, you should consider professional help. To avoid criminal charges and/or to add to the civil charges, it is vital to file your tax return even if it is late or if you cannot pay all the taxes owed.

Let us assist you in organizing your tax documents and getting you back in compliance with the tax laws. Our job is to work with the IRS to negotiate a resolution that you can live with and does not cause any financial hardship. Tax problem resolution is a complicated process and you need someone on your side that has the expertise to find the way through the clutter and be an advocate for you.

We provide IRS problem solving in all 50 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

If you have received a wage garnishment notice (IRS Levy) that the IRS is instructing your employer to deduct a big chunk of your paycheck, it clearly means that you have an unpaid back tax debt. And what’s worse is, your employer is required by law to remit a significant portion of each paycheck directly to the IRS to satisfy the garnishment order to pay off your unpaid tax debt.

What amazes me as a tax professional, is that most taxpayers continue ignoring the IRS by not responding to the tax levy, not knowing that the IRS will continue garnishing their paychecks until their tax debt is paid in full with a lot of penalties and interest too.

If you have a tax levy then you need to know that with our firm, you do not have to take on the IRS by yourself, we actually do not recommend self-representation as you do not know the tax laws, your options nor do you know your rights as a taxpayer. We specialize in tax representation and will work with the IRS to negotiate the full or partial release of the wage garnishment, tax levy, if you qualify for tax relief, resulting in saving your paycheck! Depending upon your particular circumstance, we may be able to negotiate an installment agreement so you can pay the IRS a specified dollar amount every month until the tax debt is paid. Once the installment agreement is in force, an offer-in-compromise may be negotiated to settle your entire tax debt, including penalties and interest, for less than the entire tax liability, depending on your individual financial circumstances, each case is different.

Another popular option is to be placed in a “currently non collectible” status, CNC, in which you may not have to make payments to the IRS at all based on your financial hardship, again depending on your individual financial circumstances, each case is different.

Please call us at 1-877-788-2937 to set up a free consultation and to review your options and take the stress out of dealing with an IRS wage garnishment notice.

Relief for homeowners with corrosive drywall. The IRS is allowing individuals with corrosive drywall to apply a safe harbor formula to treat the costs of repairing the defective drywall as a casualty loss. The safe harbor applies for original and amended federal income tax returns filed after Sept. 29, 2010. Reported problems have occurred with certain imported drywall installed in homes between 2001 and 2008. Homeowners have reported blackening or corrosion of copper electrical wiring and copper components of household appliances, as well as the presence of sulfur gas odors. In the case of any individual who pays to repair damage to his personal residence or household appliances that results from corrosive drywall, the IRS won’t challenge his treatment of damage resulting from corrosive drywall as a casualty loss (which might otherwise be difficult to achieve under the regular rules) if the loss is determined and reported under the safe harbor rule. A taxpayer who does not have a pending claim for reimbursement may claim as a loss all unreimbursed amounts paid during the tax year to repair damage to his personal residence and household appliances resulting from corrosive drywall. A taxpayer who has a pending claim (or intends to pursue reimbursement) may claim a loss for 75% of the unreimbursed amount paid during the tax year to repair damage to the taxpayer’s personal residence and household appliances that resulted from corrosive drywall.

Over-the-counter drug costs will no longer be reimbursable. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, unless prescribed or insulin, the cost of over-the-counter medicines cannot be reimbursed from flexible spending arrangements (FSA), health reimbursement arrangements (HRA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSA). The IRS has issued guidance explaining that an individual may be reimbursed for over-the counter medicines or drugs, so long as the individual obtains a prescription for the medicines or drugs. It also makes clear that expenses incurred for over-the-counter medicines or drugs purchased without a prescription before Jan. 1, 2011 may be reimbursed tax-free at any time by an employer-provided plan, including an FSA or HRA, under the terms of the employer’s plan.

Simplified per diem rates lowered effective Oct. 1, 2010. Reimbursements of an employee’s business travel costs (lodging, meal and incidental expenses (M&IE)) at a per diem rate are payroll-and income-tax free if simplified substantiation is provided and the daily rate doesn’t exceed the federal per diem rate (the maximum amount that the federal government reimburses its employees) for the locality of travel for that day. While the per diem rates vary by travel destination, employers can make reimbursements at the simplified “high-low” per diem rates, which assign one per diem rate to high-cost areas within the continental U.S., and another to non-high-cost areas. The IRS has issued the “high-low” simplified per diem rates for post-Sept. 30, 2010, travel. An employer may reimburse up to $233 for high-cost localities ($168 for lodging and $65 for M&IE) and $160 for other localities ($108 for lodging and $52 for M&IE). The list of high-cost areas is also updated.

Guidance explains longer NOL carryback option for businesses. The IRS has issued guidance in a question and answer (Q&A) format to address a number of specialized issues that have arisen under the new optional longer net operating loss (NOL) carryback period that was provided by the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 (WHBAA). Under WHBAA, an irrevocable election of a 3, 4, or 5-year carryback period for an applicable NOL for a tax year ending after Dec. 31, 2007, and beginning before Jan. 1, 2010, is generally available for one tax year (except for an eligible small business (ESB) loss). The WHBAA election is an expansion of the increased carryback period election provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which was available only to ESBs, and only for 2008 NOLs. The guidance addresses many questions left unanswered by the statutory provisions. For example, it makes clear that if a taxpayer previously made an ARRA election, it doesn’t have to continue to qualify as an ESB in the year of the WHBAA NOL in order to make a WHBAA election. A taxpayer must qualify as an ESB only for the tax year of the ARRA election. Also, the IRS has revised the Instructions for Form 1139, Corporation Application for Tentative Refund (Rev. August 2010), to explain how businesses make the WHBAA election.

Regulations on election to defer COD income. For debt discharges in tax years ending after Dec. 31, 2008, a taxpayer may elect to have any cancellation of debt (COD) income from the reacquisition of an applicable debt instrument after Dec. 31, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2011, included in gross income ratably over five tax years. The IRS has issued two sets of regulations on this rule: one applies to C corporations, the other applies to partnerships and S corporations. The regulations cover many complicated issues that arise with the election. For example, the C corporation regulations cover topics such as acceleration of deferred cancellation of debt (COD) income and deferred original issue discount deductions, and the calculation of earnings and profits as a result of making an election.

Legislation ends foreign loopholes and advance EITC. The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which was signed into law on August 10, 2010, includes provisions closing a number of foreign-tax-credit related loopholes and repealing the advanced earned income tax credit (EITC). Specifically, this legislation tightens the rules on the use of foreign tax credits that multinationals use to lower their U.S. tax bill. In general, these provisions attempt to (1) make foreign tax credits (FTCs) available only when the income to which the FTCs relate is actually taxed by the U.S., (2) prevent artificial inflation of foreign source income, and (3) modify the resourcing rules to limit FTCs. Also, under the new law, starting in 2011, eligible low- and moderate-income workers who qualify for the EITC will no longer be able to elect to receive the credit in advance.

Financial reform package changes mark-to-market rule. The “Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010″ was signed into law on July, 21, 2010. This landmark financial reform package contained a tax provision broadening the list of contracts that are excepted from mark-to-market treatment. Taxpayers must report gains and losses from regulated futures contracts and other “Section 1256 contracts” on an annual basis under the “mark-to-market” rule. The term Section 1256 contract means: regulated futures contracts, foreign currency contracts, nonequity options, dealer equity options, and dealer securities futures contracts. It does not include any securities futures contract or option on such a contract unless the contract or option is a dealer securities futures contract. Under the new law, for tax years beginning after July 21, 2010, all of the following also are excepted from the definition of a Section 1256 contract: any interest rate swap; currency swap, basis swap, interest rate cap, interest rate floor, commodity swap, equity swap, equity index swap, credit default swap, or similar agreement.

The following is a summary of the most important tax developments that have occurred in the past three months that may affect you, your family, your investments, and your livelihood. Please contact us for more information about any of these developments and what steps you should implement to take advantage of favorable developments and to minimize the impact of those that are unfavorable.

New law gives tax breaks to small business. The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which was signed into law on September 27, 2010, includes a number of important tax provisions, including liberalized and expanded expensing for 2010 and 2011, revived bonus depreciation for 2010, five-year carryback of unused general business credits for eligible small businesses, removal of cell phones from the listed property category, and liberalized tax shelter penalty rules.

Schedule UTP for reporting uncertain tax positions finalized and liberalized. The IRS has released a final Schedule UTP (Form 1120), Uncertain Tax Position Statement, and an announcement detailing many liberalizations to the reporting requirements, which initially apply only to large corporations. In addition, the agency has taken steps to protect taxpayer communications with practitioners and to ensure that the program is properly applied by its own personnel. The key changes include: a five-year phase-in of the reporting requirement based on a corporation’s asset size; no reporting of a maximum tax adjustment; no reporting of the rationale and nature of uncertainty in the concise description of the position; and no reporting of administrative practice tax positions.

Guidance addresses tax breaks for hiring new employees. Employers are exempted from paying the employer 6.2% share of Social Security (i.e., OASDI) employment taxes on wages paid in 2010 to newly hired qualified individuals. These are workers who: (1) begin employment with the employer after Feb. 3, 2010 and before Jan. 1, 2011, (2) certify by signed affidavit, under penalties of perjury, that they haven’t been employed for more than 40 hours during the 60-day period ending on the date the individual begins employment with the qualified employer; (3) do not replace other employees of the employer (unless those employees left voluntarily or for cause), and (4) aren’t related to the employer under special definitions. The payroll tax relief applies only for wages paid from Mar. 19, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2010.

Employers also may qualify for an up-to-$1,000 tax credit for retaining qualified individuals. The workers must be employed by the employer for a period of not less than 52 consecutive weeks, and their wages for such employment during the last 26 weeks of the period must equal at least 80% of the wages for the first 26 weeks of the period.

The IRS had issued guidance on these tax breaks in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Updated FAQs explain: when an employee is considered to begin work; how the exemption can be claimed for a new hire who replaces a prior employee; that the exemption can be taken for someone who was self-employed for the entire 60-day lookback period; that minors may sign the HIRE Act employee affidavit (Form W-11); and what counts as wages for the retention credit.

The recently enacted 2010 Small Business Jobs Act includes a wide-ranging assortment of tax breaks and incentives for businesses. Here’s a brief overview of the tax changes in the Small Business Jobs Act.

Enhanced small business expensing (Section 179 expensing). To help small businesses quickly recover the cost of capital outlays, small business taxpayers can elect to write off these expenditures in the year they are made instead of recovering them through depreciation. Under the old rules, taxpayers could generally expense up to $250,000 of qualifying property–generally, machinery, equipment and software–placed in service in during the tax year. This annual limit was reduced by the amount by which the cost of property placed in service exceeded $800,000. Under the Small Business Jobs Act, for tax years beginning in 2010 and 2011, the $250,000 limit is increased to $500,000 and the investment limit to $2,000,000. The Small Business Jobs Act also makes certain real property eligible for expensing. Thus, for property placed in service in any tax year beginning in 2010 or 2011, the $500,000 amount can include up to $250,000 of qualified leasehold improvement, restaurant and retail improvement property.

Extension of 50% bonus first-year depreciation. Before the Small Business Jobs Act, Congress already allowed businesses to more rapidly deduct capital expenditures of most new tangible personal property placed in service in 2008 or 2009 by permitting the first-year write-off of 50% of the cost. The Small Business Jobs Act extends the first-year 50% write-off to apply to qualifying property placed in service in 2010 (as well as 2011 for certain aircraft and long production period property).

Boosted deduction for start-up expenditures. The Small Business Jobs Act allows taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 in trade or business start-up expenditures for 2010. The amount that a business can deduct is reduced by the amount by which startup expenditures exceed $60,000. Previously, the limit of these deductions was capped at $5,000, subject to a $50,000 phase-out threshold.

100% exclusion of gain from the sale of small business stock. Ordinarily, individuals can exclude 50% of their gain on the sale of qualified small business stock (QSBS) held for at least five years (60% for certain empowerment zone businesses). This percentage exclusion was temporarily increased to 75% for stock acquired after Feb. 17, 2009 and before Jan. 1, 2011. Under the Small Business Jobs Act, the amount of the exclusion is temporarily increased yet again, to 100% of the gain from the sale of qualifying small business stock that is acquired in 2010 after September 27, 2010 and held for more than five years. In addition, the Small Business Jobs Act eliminates the alternative minimum tax (AMT) preference item attributable to such sales.

General business credits of eligible small businesses for 2010 get five-year carryback. Generally, a business’s unused general business credits can be carried back to offset taxes paid in the previous year, and the remaining amount can be carried forward for 20 years to offset future tax liabilities. Under Small Business Jobs Act, for the first tax year of the taxpayer beginning in 2010, eligible small businesses can carry back unused general business credits for five years instead of just one. Eligible small businesses are sole proprietorships, partnerships and non-publicly traded corporations with $50 million or less in average annual gross receipts for the prior three years.

General business credits of eligible small businesses not subject to AMT for 2010. Under the AMT, taxpayers can generally only claim allowable general business credits against their regular tax liability, and only to the extent that their regular tax liability exceeds their AMT liability. A few credits, such as the credit for small business employee health insurance expenses, can be used to offset AMT liability. The Small Business Jobs Act allows eligible small businesses to use all types of general business credits to offset their AMT in tax years beginning in 2010.

Deductibility of health insurance for the purpose of calculating self-employment tax. The Small Business Jobs Act allows business owners to deduct the cost of health insurance incurred in 2010 for themselves and their family members in calculating their 2010 self-employment tax.

Cell phones no longer listed property. This means that cell phones can be deducted or depreciated like other business property, without onerous recordkeeping requirements.
S corporation holding period for appreciated assets shortened to five years. Generally, a C corporation converting to an S corporation must hold onto any appreciated assets for 10 years or face a built-in gain tax at the highest corporate rate of 35%. The 2010 Small Business Jobs Act temporarily shortens the holding period of assets subject to the built-in gains tax to 5 years if the 5th tax year in the holding period precedes the tax year beginning in 2011.

New tax break for long-term contract accounting. The Small Business Jobs Act provides that in determining the percentage of completion under the percentage of completion method of accounting, bonus depreciation in 2010 is not taken into account as a cost. This prevents the bonus depreciation from having the effect of accelerating income.
Limitation on penalty for failure to disclose certain reportable transactions. The Small Business Jobs Act generally limits the penalty to 75% of the decrease in tax resulting from the transaction, retroactively to penalties assessed after Dec. 31, 2006. Minimum and maximum penalties apply.

Revenue raisers. These tax breaks come at a cost. To mention a few of these unfavorable provisions, information reporting will generally be required for rental property expense payments made after Dec. 31, 2010, and increased information return penalties will be imposed.

Please keep in mind that I’ve described only the highlights of the most important changes in the Small Business Jobs Act. If you would like more details about any aspect of the new legislation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Can the IRS levy an IRA for Back Taxes? Yes the IRS can levy your IRA for unpaid back taxes.

Mr. Wayne Smith did not pay his back taxes after filing 3 years of tax returns. He owed the IRS around $36,000 of back taxes. He went to tax court, and the court ruled for the IRS and its $36,000 levy on Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith had a personal hardship, he was spending more than $800,000 plus his IRA income on his gambling addiction and not paying his back taxes.

Ordinary creditors are prevented from levying pension and IRA accounts due to anti-alienation provisions, the IRS does not conform to these anti-alienation provisions as many taxpayers think, the IRS can and will levy IRA and other retirement accounts to collect on any unpaid back taxes. In other words, the IRS is pretty much free to levy IRA accounts at its own will specially in cases of flagrant taxpayers abuse. Learn more by reading Internal Revenue Manual Section 5.11.6.2(5).

The positive side in an IRS IRA levy, is that the IRS would forgive the 10% early withdrawal penalty for the amount they levy from the IRA account to cover the unpaid back taxes.

So, I hope this clarify a misconception, that the IRS cannot touch IRA or other retirement accounts as perceived by many taxpayers. If you have any unpaid back taxes, you should seek professional help from a licensed tax representative to protect your rights and resolve your tax problem.

Call Mike Habib, EA today at 1-877-788-2937 to get a free case analysis.

IRS tax levy help in all 50 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Skills of a Tax Representative

Tax representative is a person who is a licensed tax professional representing individual or business taxpayers regarding their tax issues before the IRS or state taxing agency. Only Enrolled Agents, Tax Attorneys and CPAs are authorized by the IRS to represent taxpayers.

Companies and individual taxpayers with complex tax matters should consider hiring a professional tax representative who would work on resolving your tax controversy problems.

When selecting a tax firm or a law firm to represent you before the IRS, you should retain the firm that specializes in representation, most traditional firms provide such a wide array of services like bookkeeping, financial compilation, tax preparation, tax planning and other services. That does not mean that they cannot represent you, it’s just that they are not the Subject Matter Experts! Our firm focuses on tax representation before the IRS and all 50 states, we will represent our clients, explain their options and protect their rights. Do not compromise on your tax representation!

Get a confidential case analysis by calling Mike Habib, EA at 1-877-788-2937.

If you owe the IRS a large tax debt or if you are being audited, you should seriously contact us as quick as possible to even the odds specially if the IRS officer is making aggressive demands and intimidating you with aggressive levies and asset seizures.

We offer representation services in areas such as: Los Angeles, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Orange County, Riverside, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Palmdale, Bakersfield, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Detroit, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Columbus, Austin, Memphis, Fort Worth, Baltimore, Charlotte, El Paso, Boston, Seattle, Washington DC, Milwaukee, Denver, Louisville, Jefferson, Las Vegas, Reno, Hempstead, Tucson, Nashville, Davidson, Portland, Tucson, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Anchorage, Atlanta, Long Beach, Fresno, Sacramento, Mesa, Kansas City, Cleveland, Virginia Beach, Omaha, Miami, Oakland, Tulsa, Honolulu, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Colorado Springs, Arlington, Wichita, Birmingham, Montgomery, Tampa, Orlando.

Taxpapers.jpgFranchise Tax Board is Contacting Thousands of Businesses to File Delinquent Tax Returns

Sacramento: The state is contacting more than 40,000 California businesses that have not filed their 2008 state income tax returns with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

The notices inform the businesses that they have 30 days to file a return or show why there is no tax filing requirement. Businesses that disregard these notices could face tax assessments that may include penalties, interest, and fees.

FTB annually reviews more than 5 million income records received from the Internal Revenue Service, the State Employment Development Department, the State Board of Equalization, financial institutions, and other business entities, then compares that data to tax returns already filed to identify noncompliance. Last year, FTB collected approximately $38 million from non-filing businesses the agency notified.

California faces an annual tax gap of $6.5 billion per year. The tax gap is the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid. The failure to file tax returns is one part of the tax gap along with underreporting of income, overstatement of tax deductions, and the underpayment of taxes owed.