Tax Relief Blog

Up to 1.2M Tax Returns May Have Used Stolen IDs

SOURCE: WebCPA

An estimated 1.2 million tax returns filed in 2007 reported wages earned by taxpayers who used another taxpayer’s Social Security number, according to a new government report.

Many tax returns are filed by individuals who have used another person’s name and Social Security number at work, but then filed federal tax returns using their own names and assigned Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers. This often occurs with illegal immigrants. But when collection actions are taken on the account of the legitimate holder of the Social Security number, tax complications can occur for both the legitimate holder of the Social Security number, and the individual who used another person’s Social Security number at work.

A new report, by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration, found that the Internal Revenue Service cannot currently identify such identity theft cases.

TIGTA conducted a review when it learned that individuals using another person’s Social Security number at work had their wages attached by the IRS to satisfy a tax debt associated with the tax accounts of the legitimate holders of the Social Security number.

ITINs are intended to provide tax identification numbers to resident and nonresident alien individuals who may have U.S. tax reporting or filing obligations but do not qualify for Social Security numbers, which generally are only issued to U.S. citizens and individuals legally admitted to the U.S. The issuance of an ITIN, however, does not change an individual’s immigration status, nor does it entitle the individual to work in the U.S. or receive Social Security benefits.

TIGTA assessed whether the IRS has procedures to effectively handle collection issues related to ITINs. It found that the IRS lacks internal guidelines for its employees to follow to assist either the taxpayer whose wages are being attached or the legitimate holder of the Social Security number (who may unknowingly be the victim of identity theft).

“This report reveals a very troubling situation,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. “The IRS must take steps to ensure that innocent taxpayers are notified when there is evidence that their identity has been compromised. When the IRS is in a position to notify victims of the theft of their identity, it should do so without fail.”

TIGTA recommended that the IRS alert taxpayers that their identity may have been compromised, match ITIN returns with their related reporting returns, such as Wage and Tax Statements (Form W-2), and update guidelines to handle collection issues associated with ITINs. The IRS generally agreed with TIGTA’s recommendations.

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About Mike Habib, EA

We represent taxpayers with identity theft tax problems.

Mike Habib is an IRS licensed Enrolled Agent who concentrates his tax practice on helping individuals and businesses solve their IRS tax problems. Mike has over 20 years experience in taxation and financial advisory to individuals, small businesses and fortune 500 companies.

IRS problems do not go away unless you take some action! Get IRS Tax Relief today by calling me at 1-877-78-TAXES ( 1-877-788-2937). You can reach me from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, 7 days a week.

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IRS Examples of Tax Nonfiler Investigations – Fiscal Year 2010

Mike Habib, EA 1-877-788-2937

The following examples of Nonfiler investigations are excerpts from public record documents on file in the court records in the judicial district in which the cases were prosecuted.

Back taxes, unfiled tax returns, tax debt settlement, tax problem, tax help, payment plans, wage garnishment, tax levy, tax lien

West Virginia Attorney Sentenced for Failing to Pay Over $405,000 in Taxes

On April 14, 2010, in Charleston, W.Va., Richard A. Hayhurst, of Parkersburg, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay over $400,000 in restitution for failure to pay employment taxes for employees. According to court documents, Hayhurst practiced law in Parkersburg and operated his firm as a sole proprietorship. From early 2000 through late 2006, Hayhurst withheld federal income and FICA taxes from his four employees’ paychecks in the amount of $216,767. However, Hayhurst failed to pay over taxes as reflected on the IRS Form 941. Further, Hayhurst failed to pay the employer portion of his employees’ Social Security and Medicare taxes totaling $44,557 from the second quarter of 2003 through the third quarter of 2006. Finally, Hayhurst failed to pay his own personal income taxes for the years 2003, 2004, and 2005 totaling $134,965 in unpaid tax liability. In total, the charged tax liability and relevant conduct attributed to Hayhurst is $405,082.

West Virginia Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Ohio Man Failed to File Tax Returns for Three Years

On April 13, 2010, in Toledo, Ohio, Mark J. Zokle, of Sandusky, Ohio, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for failing to file income tax returns for three years. Zokle pleaded guilty in May 2009 to willfully failing to file his federal individual income tax returns for 2001, 2002, and 2003. According to court documents, Zokle admitted he worked as an independent sales representative for TEMO Sunrooms, Inc., of Clinton Township, Michigan. He earned commission income of $862,463, $756,980, and $794,067, respectively, in those three. Zokle further admitted he failed to pay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) $425,652 in individual income taxes for these three years combined.

Ohio Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

California Man Sentenced for His Participation in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

On April 5, 2010, in Los Angeles, Calif., Lorenzo Espinoza, a Newport Coast man, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for defrauding the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by fraudulently obtaining mortgage loans that went into default. Espinoza was ordered to pay more than $614,000 in restitution to HUD. In December 2006, Espinoza pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud HUD, bankruptcy fraud, money laundering, and willful failure to pay tax to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In pleading guilty, Espinoza admitted that he engaged in a scheme that ran from April 1995 until approximately May 2001 and caused HUD to suffer losses when he and his associates fraudulently purchased nearly 100 residential properties. The properties were sold at inflated market values to “straw buyers” who were unable to make payments on the homes. Espinoza and his associates supplied the down payments for the straw buyers and in some cases obtained bogus tax forms and paycheck stubs that were submitted with the loan applications. The lenders relied on the false documents when they approved the loans, and HUD relied on the false documents in insuring the home loans. When the straw buyers defaulted on the home loans and the lenders foreclosed on the properties, HUD reimbursed the lenders for their costs and took possession of the properties. HUD ultimately suffered losses of more than $2 million when it sold the properties for far less than the fraudulent purchase prices of the homes. In addition to defrauding lenders and HUD, Espinoza committed bankruptcy fraud in 1999 when he filed for bankruptcy and failed to tell the United States Trustee that he owned a Rolex Daytona watch, two Ferraris and a Lamborghini. In late 2002, Espinoza laundered the proceeds of his bankruptcy fraud when he sold the Ferrari automobiles for $127,500. Espinoza also pleaded guilty to willfully failing to pay income tax, admitting that he did not pay $199,053 due for the 1996 tax year. In court papers filed in relation to the sentencing, prosecutors pointed out that Espinoza had not filed tax returns for well over 10 years and owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $5 million in taxes, interest and penalties.

California Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Utah Man Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud

On March 30, 2010, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jerry Huff was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $264,050 in restitution. In June 2009, Huff was convicted by a jury on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and failure to file a federal income tax return. According to the indictment, Huff, the owner of a construction business known as High Caliber Construction Company, fraudulently obtained $250,000 from First Greensboro Home Equity (FGHE), a mortgage bank headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, by making false statements to obtain a second mortgage on his house in Moab, Utah. Huff’s loan application package reflected false statements of personal income and ability to repay the second mortgage, while at the same time omitting mentions of financial problems and non-payment of taxes. Huff also submitted a fictitious appraisal of the property and altered photos that gave the impression the house was completed both inside; fully landscaped; inhabited; and well appointed inside. Huff also provided personal tax return forms for the years 2001 and 2002 when in fact, the defendant did not file tax returns for those years. Once Huff obtained the second mortgage in the approximate amount of $250,000, he failed to make loan payments to FGHE.

Utah Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Ohio Man Sentenced for Income Tax Evasion

On March 19, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio, Rudolph Joseph Fox, Jr. was sentenced to 12 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, ordered to pay $23,765 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and fined $3,000. Fox was convicted by a jury in November 2009, of three counts of income tax evasion and one count of willful failure to file a federal income tax return with the IRS. According to court documents, during 2002 and 2003, Fox demanded that his employer not withhold federal income taxes from his salary or wages. During 2005, Fox stated his taxable income was zero even though he received a salary or wages as an employee of a medical company. As a result of the unreported income for tax years 2002, 2003, and 2005, the tax loss was $23,765. In addition, Fox willfully failed to file a 2004 federal income tax return, even though he received income for the year.

Ohio Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Owners of East St. Louis Day Care Center Sentenced on Fraud Schemes

On March 18, 2010, in East St. Louis, Ill., Monica M. Owens and Robby L. Owens, both of Clayton, Missouri, and formerly of Fairview Heights, Illinois, and Great Kids, Inc., an East St. Louis Day Care Center, were sentenced on charges relating to evasion of taxes, theft of federal program funds, and food stamp benefit fraud. Monica Owens was sentenced to 25 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a special assessment of $300. Robby Owens was sentenced to 25 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a special assessment of $100. The defendants were also ordered to pay $203,057 in restitution to the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and $249,197 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In addition, Great Kids, Inc. was sentenced to five years probation and ordered it to pay criminal restitution to the DHS on its conviction for theft of federal program funds. According to court documents, Monica and Robby Owens solely owned and operated Great Kids, Inc. The couple controlled all the business accounts and received all profits earned through Great Kids, Inc. Monica and Robby Owens, however, attempted to evade or defeat the assessment of income taxes and failed to file a tax return for 2005 and failed to pay income taxes. Monica Owens and Great Kids, Inc. further obtained payments by fraud by submitting false child care claims to the DHS, claims for child care of children who did not attend or were not present in the child care center. Monica Owens also falsely applied for food stamp benefits by denying that she was receiving a monthly household income from employment.

Illinois Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Chicago Businessman Sentenced to Five Years for Cheating on Federal Taxes Over Ten Years

On March 4, 2010, in Chicago, Ill, Jon Darmstadter was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $2.3 million in restitution for tax evasion. According to court documents, in the late 1990s and early 2000s Darmstadter was an executive of the Children’s Beverage Group, Inc. (CBG), a publicly-traded company in Northbrook, Ill. He admitted using brokerage accounts in Canada to hold stocks and execute trades and then hiding the income from those stock sales in off-shore bank accounts in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He also admitted failing to report income from the sale of stock and capital gains from stock sales involving both CBG and another company he operated, Zkid Network Company, a media content company that developed and marketed software to protect children using the internet. Darmstadter also admitted that he made false statements on multiple occasions in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings relating to Zkid, where he illegally generated more than $427,000 in over-the-counter sales of Zkid stock in 2003. Darmstadter filed false tax returns for all six years from 1998 through 2003, and that he failed to file tax returns for the years 2004 through 2007.

Illinois Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Former Corporate Executive Sentenced for Failing to File Tax Returns

On February 24, 2010, in Springfield, Mo, Ronald Kirkland was sentenced to 24 months in prison for failing to file income tax returns on millions of dollars of income. According to court documents, Kirkland was a sales representative and independent contractor for American Family Life Assurance Company (AFLAC) serving as AFLAC’s Missouri sales manager. During that time he was paid as an independent contractor rather than an employee. In 2004, Kirkland was promoted to senior vice-president and director of sales, which was a salaried position at the company’s headquarters in Columbus, Ga. Kirkland admitted that he failed to file tax returns for the years 2002 thru 2005. During that four-year period, Kirkland received total gross income of approximately $6,326,000. In each of those years, Kirkland filed for extensions of his deadline, but never filed returns.

Missouri Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Chicago Area Man Sentenced in Scheme that Utilized Defunct Business to Evade Taxes

On January 7, 2010, in Chicago, Ill., Rudy Fratto was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay more than $141,000 in restitution. According to court documents, Fratto was charged, in September 2009, with one count of income tax evasion for failing to file a 2005 tax return reporting $199,595 in gross income. Fratto admitted to the same offense for tax years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. According to the Information, from January 1, 2005 and continuing through about April 17, 2006, Fratto utilized a bank account in the name of J.J.F. Inc, a corporation that was dissolved in November 1997, in order to conceal and avoid reporting his income to the IRS. Fratto instructed businesses and others to issue checks in payment of wages, compensation and other income to J.J.F. Inc. Fratto used the J.J.F. Inc. account to pay personal expenses and to withdraw cash. Fratto made his mortgage payments in cash and paid other bills with money orders, in order to conceal and avoid reporting his income to the IRS. The total unreported gross income for the seven year period was nearly $836,000.

Illinois Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Professional Golfer Sentenced for Failing to Pay More Than $2 Million in Taxes

On January 22, 2010, in Orlando, Fla., Jimmy L. Thorpe, aka Jim Thorpe, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service for failing to pay more than $2 million in income taxes. Thorpe was also ordered to repay all taxes due and owing. According to court documents, Thorpe is a professional golfer on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Champions Tour, formerly known as the PGA Senior Tour. During the years 2002, 2003, and 2004, Thorpe earned income playing in PGA events and from various endorsements, including Foxwoods Casino. JLT, Inc. (Foxwoods). Foxwoods was a Florida corporation incorporated in September 1998, in which Thorpe was the sole officer and director. Although he filed with the Internal Revenue Service extensions of time in which to file his personal income tax returns and corporate income tax returns for the tax years 2002, 2003, and 2004, Thorpe did not make any payments for personal income taxes with the extensions. In addition, Thorpe did not make any estimated tax payments for those tax years and had approximately $2,991 taxes withheld. For the calendar years 2002, 2003, and 2004, Thorpe received approximately $5,365,154 in gross income with an estimated tax due of over $2 million.

Florida Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

South Carolina Couple Sentenced on Failure to File Tax Returns

On January 19, 2010, in Greenville, S.C., Robert M. “Mark” Ledford, and Cheryl H. Ledford, of the Glenn Springs area were sentenced for income tax evasion. Robert Ledford was sentenced to 30 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Cheryl Ledford received a sentence of three years probation, including a requirement that she serve five months of house arrest. Both Ledfords were ordered to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in filing tax returns and payment of back taxes estimated in excess of $875,000, as well as penalties and interest. According to court documents, the Ledfords had not filed U.S. individual income tax returns since 1991. Between 1992 and 1995, Robert Ledford owned and operated a nursery business in Spartanburg from which he derived substantial income upon which no income taxes were paid. In 1997, the IRS assessed him federal taxes, exclusive of penalties and interest, in the amount of $822,065. Robert Ledford, aided by Cheryl Ledford, took steps to avoid the payment of those taxes by, among other things, placing income, funds, and property into the names of nominee organizations, some of which were controlled by the Ledfords and by converting assets into cash. In 2005, Robert Ledford purchased and operated a garden center from which taxable income was derived. Again, no taxes were paid and nominee organizations were utilized to receive money from the garden center. Money from the nominee organizations was deposited into Cheryl Ledford’s personal bank account, which she used to pay personal expenses.

South Carolina Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Former San Francisco Investment Fund Manager Sentenced

On January 15, 2010, in San Francisco, Calif., Edward S. Ehee, of Walnut Creek, Calif., was sentenced to 51 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution for committing wire fraud, tax evasion and making and subscribing a false partnership return. In his guilty plea on March 13, 2009, Ehee admitted that between 2001 and 2006 he defrauded investors in investment funds of more than $4 million. Ehee represented to investors that he would invest their funds in the securities markets and employ complex trading strategies to earn high returns with less risk than is ordinarily associated with such returns. Instead of investing the funds as promised, he diverted most of the funds for improper purposes, including the payment of existing investor distribution obligations using new contributions from other investors, and payments for the benefit of himself and his family. Ehee also admitted that although he had approximately $240,500 in taxable income in 2005, he did not file a tax return or pay any income tax for 2005. Ehee also admitted that he made and subscribed, under the penalties of perjury, a false partnership return for the tax year 2005 for one of his investment funds. Ehee intentionally inflated the assets reported on the balance sheet of the return to match the amount of money that he was supposed to have invested on behalf of his clients, when he knew that he had not invested any of their money in that fund in 2005.

California Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Arizona Asphalt Paver Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion

On January 7, 2010, in Phoenix, Ariz., John Stacey was sentenced to 77 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution for tax evasion. According to court documents, Stacey was convicted on charges of income tax evasion, corrupt interference with the due administration of the IRS, and multiple counts of fraudulent use of a social security number. According to the evidence presented at trial, Stacey operated a sole proprietorship asphalt paving company that did business under various names, including A to Z Paving, Triple A Paving, Texas Paving, Pave Your Way Construction and A to Z Paving Engineering, among others. Stacey earned gross income in excess of $4 million from his business during the years 2000 to 2003, but he has never filed an individual income tax return with the IRS. Since at least February 2002, Stacey knew that he owed taxes, penalties and interest for tax years 1995, 1996 and 1997. Stacey has made no payments to the IRS towards this tax debt. In addition to not paying his outstanding tax debt, Stacey took numerous steps to frustrate the IRS’s efforts to both investigate the case and collect tax that he owed.

Arizona Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Texas Couple Sentenced on Tax Evasion Charges

On December 11, 2009, in Sherman, Texas, Phillip G. Kellar and Michelle G. Kellar were each sentenced to 41 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $312,825 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to court documents, from 2001 to 2008, the Kellars willfully attempted to evade payment of their income taxes by filing false Forms W-4 and attachments and filing false “Withholding Exemption Certificates.” Additionally, during that time period they failed to file a tax return for tax year 2000 and filed returns for tax years 2001, 2002, and 2003 in January 2006. They submitted correspondence intended to obstruct the collection of taxes to the IRS, and also submitted checks designated for payment of taxes to the IRS that were drawn on accounts that contained insufficient funds.

Texas Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Ohio Man Sentenced for Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

On December 10, 2009, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Julian M. Hickman was sentenced to 33 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $12,500 fine. Hickman pleaded guilty in December 2008 to two counts of conspiracy and three counts of willful failure to file income tax returns. In a statement of facts filed with his plea, Hickman admitted that, between March 2002 and June 2008, he and others recruited unsuspecting individuals to buy residential properties, the majority of which were low income, dilapidated and otherwise depressed residential properties, at prices artificially inflated above legitimate fair-market values. Hickman admitted that he participated in 107 separate fraudulent real estate closings between March 2002 and June 2006. Hickman and his co-conspirators netted more than $3.8 million from the deals. Although he received in over $1.7 million in gross income in 2003, 2004, and 2005, he failed to file federal income tax returns. According to court documents, scheme led to foreclosure against owners of more than 90 percent of the properties.

Ohio Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced to Four Years on Fraud and Tax Evasion Charges

On December 11, 2009, in Philadelphia, Pa., Lawrence Paul Cowan, of Boothwyn, Pa., was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and to pay $308,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which includes back taxes and interest. According to court documents, Cowan worked under his deceased father’s social security number as an insurance agent from 1998 through 2004, making hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet he filed no federal tax returns during that period. Between 2002 and 2004, Cowan evaded more than $73,000 in federal income tax.

Pennsylvania Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Mississippi Businessman Sentenced for Failing to File Tax Returns and Criminal Contempt

On November 30, 2009, in Jackson, Miss., Wiley Randolph “Randy” Kuyrkendall of Pearl, Mississippi, was sentenced to 46 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for failure to file federal income tax returns and fleeing from his criminal trial. Kuyrkendall was also ordered to pay $443,806 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and $3,113 to the U.S. District Court. According to court documents, Kuyrkendall, formerly a State Farm insurance salesman, was found guilty by a jury in August 2009 of failing to file income tax returns for the years 2002 through 2005, although he received almost $800,000 in gross income during those four years. The evidence during trial disclosed that Kuyrkendall had filed a federal civil lawsuit against the IRS seeking $1.1 billion and claiming that Congress did not have authority to tax. The court scheduled a pre-trial conference in the case for August 14, 2009, and the trial was set to begin on August 17, 2009. Kuyrkendall failed to appear on both dates and was arrested shortly thereafter by the U.S. Marshal Service. Based on these actions, the court charged Kuyrkendall with two counts of criminal contempt for fleeing and failing to appear for those two court-scheduled events.

Mississippi Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Detroit Area Businessman Goes to Jail for Tax Evasion

On November 25, 2009, in Detroit, Mich., Marc Bruce was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $328,085 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and to file accurate back tax returns. According to court records, during the 2001 through 2004 tax years, Bruce received over $890,000 in taxable income from his business M&C Trucking, Inc., and willfully failed to file tax returns with the IRS. Bruce also attempted to conceal his true and correct income from the IRS and failed to pay over $244,000 in tax due and owing. He also conducted business in cash and transferred his assets to nominees.

Michigan Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Florida Man Sentenced on Tax Evasion Charges

On November 23, 2009, in West Palm Beach, Fla., Carl Libertino, of Sebastian, Florida, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $202,160 in restitution for unpaid taxes. Libertino pleaded guilty in July 2009 to tax evasion charges. According to stipulated facts read in open court at the guilty plea, Libertino did not file personal income tax returns from 2004 through 2007. During these years, Libertino received substantial income, in large part, from persons who believed they were investing their money through Libertino. To further conceal his income and evade taxes, Libertino operated mostly in cash, withdrawing amounts small enough to evade federal currency transaction reporting (CTR) requirements.

Florida Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Rhode Island Couple Sentenced for Tax Evasion

On November 18, 2009, in Providence, R.I., Albert Martin and his wife, Lorraine Martin, were sentenced for committing tax evasion and conspiring to defraud the United States. Albert Martin was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Lorraine Martin was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison and three years of supervised release. In addition to the prison terms, Albert and Lorraine Martin were ordered to pay $463,988 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury. According to the indictment and evidence introduced during their trial, Albert Martin and co-conspirator, Bruce Lapierre owned and operated a Woonsocket-based machine shop from which they earned substantial income. From 1997 to 2004, the defendants engaged in an elaborate scheme to conceal from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) income that they earned through Classic Machine, and thus avoid paying taxes on that income. Rather than open business accounts for depositing business receipts and income, they allegedly used Lorraine Martin’s personal account to conceal business receipts, as well as an anonymous “private” banking service designed to conceal income from the IRS. The evidence also showed that the defendants, in order to further conceal their assets and income from the IRS, used multiple business names, such as Banner Technologies, Circle Machine, Preferred Enterprises and Royal Enterprises. The defendants also made extensive use of cash and money orders. In October 2009, Lapierre was sentenced to 51 months in prison for his role in the scheme.

Rhode Island Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Las Vegas Business Owner Sentenced To 15 Years in Prison for Tax Fraud Scheme

On November 16, 2009, in Las Vegas, Nev., Robert Kahre and his sister, Lori Kahre, were sentenced to 190 months and 72 months in prison, respectively. Both were found guilty in August 2009 of conspiring to defraud the federal government for the purpose of impeding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in its collection of income and employment taxes. According to information presented in court, between 1997 and 2003, Robert Kahre owned and operated six construction-related businesses in Las Vegas and paid employees over $100 million in cash wages. Additionally, Kahre provided a payroll service to approximately 35 other construction contractors who employed thousands of employees. Robert and Lori Kahre devised and used a payroll scheme that concealed and disguised the true amount of income received by his employees and the employees of the companies for which he provided payroll services. Robert Kahre claimed to pay employees in gold or silver coins, but which were actually immediately exchanged for pre-determined envelopes of cash. The face amount of the coins was one-eighth the amount of pay that the employee actually earned and received in the cash envelope. The defendants told the employees that the income was either not taxable or that they should falsely report their income to the IRS at the face amount of the gold and silver coins. During the course of the scheme, cash wage payments of at least $25 million were paid to Robert Kahre’s employees and cash payments of approximately $95 million were paid to the employees of the other contractors. No federal tax withholdings were made from the paychecks, and the wages were not reported to the IRS. The defendants took steps to hide the correct amount of income paid to the employees by using false invoices, keeping two sets of books, using false names on payroll records, making false statements on mortgage applications, and using nominees to conceal assets. In addition to the payroll scheme, Robert Kahre was convicted of evading personal income tax on approximately $12 million in income for the years 1999 through 2002; Lori Kahre was convicted of evading personal income tax on approximately $242,882 in income for the years 1998 and 2000 through 2005.

Nevada Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Maine Man Sentenced on Federal Tax Evasion Charges

On November 16, 2009, in Bangor, Maine, Richard J. Thomas was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $15,082 in restitution and a $100 special assessment. The supervised release conditions required, among other things, that Thomas report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) true and accurate tax returns for the years 1995 through 2008. On January 11, 2006, Richard Thomas, a local chiropractor, was indicted on six counts of tax evasion from 1995 through 2001 (excluding 1997). Thomas pleaded guilty on February 2, 2009 to tax evasion for tax year 2001. According to court documents, Thomas owed substantial income tax for the year in question, but he willfully attempted to evade tax assessment for that year. Prior to 1995, Thomas had filed tax returns, which indicated he was aware of his duty to file tax returns.

Maine Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Former Connecticut Resident Sentenced to Prison for Evading Taxes; Structuring Cash Deposits

On October 23, 2009, in Hartford, Conn., Eugene Cappello was sentenced to 24 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, for failing to pay more than $237,000 in federal taxes and structuring cash deposits. Cappello was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and to pay approximately $403,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. In addition, Cappello was ordered to forfeit $39,500. According to court documents and statements made in court, in August 2000, Cappello was contacted by the Collection Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for non-payment of taxes related to his 1997, 1998 and 1999 individual income tax returns. After that Cappello made only nominal payments toward his total balance due and, in May 2004, he submitted a signed document to the IRS documenting his purported inability to pay the more than $237,000 in taxes and interest that he owed for his 1997 through 2003 tax returns. During this period, Cappello hid cash from the IRS and made significant personal expenditures, including $34,781 for a country club membership and $91,000 for a yacht. In addition, Cappello had a house built by making more than $350,000 in cash payments to building contractors. To help hide his assets from the IRS, Cappello had his paychecks issued in the name of another individual. Further, he directed this person to structure cash deposits into two different bank accounts.

Connecticut Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

South Carolina Man Gets Prison for Income Tax Evasion

On October 22, 2009 in Columbia, S.C., Barry Lusk was sentenced to 33 months in prison and three years supervised release for failing to pay income tax. According to court documents, Lusk was the sole operator of two businesses that he sold for nearly $1.5 million in 2000. Lusk used the proceeds to buy houses, real estate and purchase an airplane instead of paying the taxes due on the sale of the businesses. Lusk was part of a movement advocating income tax was not applicable to him and sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) detailing his beliefs. In 2002 the IRS began a civil audit of Lusk and an IRS representative attempted to contact Lusk regarding his responsibility to file an individual tax return for the year 2000. In 2003, Lusk filed a joint 1040 return for 2000 and claimed that he and his spouse had no income and that there was no tax due or owed. However, he asked for a refund of an estimated tax which had been paid in 2000. Lusk also filed amended tax returns for two prior tax years attempting to get refunds claiming the original returns were filed in error. Luck’s income was estimated at more than $843,000, with a tax debt of more than $183,000.

South Carolina Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Anchorage Man And Wife Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS

On October 16, 2009, in Anchorage, Alaska, Eugene and Lorna Warner, of Anchorage, were sentenced in federal court for their convictions of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Eugene Warner was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and fined $15,000. Lorna Warner was sentenced to five years probation, including ten months of home confinement, and fined $8,000. Both defendants were ordered to file accurate tax returns from 1991, through present, make a good faith attempt to pay all back taxes, interest, and penalties to IRS, and comply with the tax laws. According to information presented to the court, the defendants were charged in a 37-count indictment with conspiracy to defraud the IRS, obstruction of the IRS, filing false tax returns, mail fraud, and making false claims against the United States. Eugene Warner was also charged with bankruptcy fraud. On July 30, 2009, both defendants entered guilty pleas to the charge of conspiring to defraud the United States. Both defendants were previously convicted in 1997 of obstructing the IRS and sentenced to 18-month prison terms. According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in a course of conduct intended to evade the payment of lawful debts, conceal assets from creditors, and obstruct collection activities by those creditors. The defendants attempted to evade these debts by concealing assets in nominee entities, so that their names did not appear as the owners of the property. They then failed to disclose his ownership of the property in documents filed with the United States District Court, the United States Bankruptcy Court, and the IRS. They were also accused of mailing worthless “International Bills of Exchange” to the IRS and other creditors in an unsuccessful attempt to pay off their debts. In their plea agreement and in open court, the Warners admitted that, as a part of the conspiracy, they both made false statements to the IRS about his assets, omitting real property and bank accounts held in the name of bogus nominee “trusts.” They also admitted sending to the IRS a sworn “commercial affidavit” that falsely claimed that the IRS owed them $1.5 million. Eugene Warner further admitted that he testified falsely before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court about his assets in a 2003 hearing.

Alaska Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Washington State Man Sentenced in Fraudulent $3.2 Million Consumer Debt Discharge Program

On October 15, 2009, in Spokane, Wash., Jason Paul Christensen, formerly of Pasco, Washington, was sentenced to 109 months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Christensen was ordered to pay $3,238,997 in restitution to the victims of his scheme. According to court documents, Christensen fraudulently obtained $3.2 million from over 1,300 victims across the country through a Ponzi-type scheme advertised as a debt elimination program. Christensen pleaded guilty on April 16, 2008, to mail fraud and money laundering charges relating to the scheme he engaged in over a period of about three years through the Internet and a post office box business address in Richland, Washington. In his plea agreement, Christensen admitted that between approximately October 15, 2003, and December 31, 2005, he solicited his victims via websites on which he advertised that his company employed a team of federal attorneys who used loopholes in the law to discharge consumer debts. When in fact, he did not employ any team of attorneys and no such legal loopholes existed. Christensen promised his customers that his company would fully discharge their debts, his program was 100 percent successful, and customers were guaranteed success or would receive their money back. Customers, however, were required to pay Christensen’s companies amounts of at least $2,500 and as much as $20,970 in advance. He obtained the large number of victims by paying off the loans of some of his “clients” with other victims’ money and then recruiting his satisfied “clients” to become his “consultants” to whom commissions were paid for recruiting their family and friends into the program. After paying his “consultants” their commissions to promote the scheme, Christensen pocketed the rest of the proceeds for his personal use. In total, the scheme netted over $3.2 million from victims seeking debt elimination and located all over the United States.

Washington Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Rhode Island Machine Shop Owner Sentenced to 51 Months for Tax Crimes

On October 7, 2009, in Providence, R.I., Bruce Lapierre of Pascoag, R.I., was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay $463,988 in restitution. In March 2009, Lapierre and his co-defendants, Albert and Lorraine Martin, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion. According to the indictment and evidence introduced at trial, Lapierre and Albert Martin owned and operated Classic Machine, machine shop based in Woonsocket, R.I. From 1997 to 2004, the defendants engaged in an elaborate scheme to conceal income from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Rather than open business accounts for depositing business receipts and income, they used Lorraine Martin’s personal account to conceal business receipts, as well as an anonymous “private” banking service. Trial evidence showed that the defendants, in order to further conceal their assets and income from the IRS, used multiple business names, such as Banner Technologies, Circle Machine, Preferred Enterprises and Royal Enterprises. The defendants also made extensive use of cash and money orders. Additionally, evidence presented at trial showed that Lapierre tried to obstruct an IRS investigation of the machine shop’s income by renaming business assets, by sending false and frivolous letters to the IRS claiming he was not required to file tax returns or pay taxes, and by directing a financial institution not to comply with an IRS summons for records. Sentencing for Albert and Lorraine Martin is scheduled for a later date.

Rhode Island Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

Kentucky Chiropractor Sentenced to 21 Months for Failing to File Tax Returns

On October 1, 2009 in Paducah, Ky., Charles Boulton was sentenced to 21 months in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay nearly $95,000 in restitution for failing to file personal income tax from 2001 to 2006. According to court documents, Boulton, a provider of drug and alcohol tests to truck driving schools and transportation companies in Western Kentucky, earned nearly $496,000 from 2001 to 2006 and did not file tax returns.

Kentucky Tax Relief, IRS Tax Help, IRS Tax Audit, Tax Settlements, and Tax Resolution call 1-877-78-TAXES

How To Choose A Tax Relief Company

By Mike Habib, EA at 1-877-788-2937

Choosing a reliable and reputable tax relief company is a daunting task. The reality is that many tax problems are better handled and resolved with a tax professional who knows what he is doing. Many tax relief and tax resolution companies advertise that they can wipe out all your penalties, interest and settle your tax debt for few pennies!

Buyer beware! The reality is very different than what these unscrupulous companies are promising! And as the saying goes: when it’s too good to be true, it is not true. But of course, you must know how to choose a tax relief company. Here are some guidelines that will help you on how to choose a tax relief company.

First and foremost, you must be sure that they have the specialized tax knowledge and experience in dealing with different kinds of tax problems. If you want to be sure that you are choosing a tax relief company that is right for you and will be able to help you with your tax matters, it is also important to know the background of the principals of the firm and the character of the different persons involved in the tax relief company. So how to choose a tax relief company depends mostly on the person or persons involved and working therein. These people must be licensed (only Enrolled Agents, CPAs and Attorneys are licensed to represent taxpayers before the IRS), trustworthy, honest and open or that the company itself is transparent in all its dealings.

It is a must for you to check the company and the persons therein and their BBB, Better Business Bureau, rating and record. It’s not just the amount of clients or the number of tax problems and cases they handled, but most importantly, a very helpful tip on how to choose a tax relief company is that particular company’s principal representative, the person who will actually be your power of attorney and negotiate with the IRS on your behalf. So in choosing a tax relief company, they should also have an extensive experience in the tax controversy field and know the ins and outs of the complicated IRS tax matters.

When choosing a tax relief company, you’ll notice from day one when you call them, if they let you speak to a sales person, an unlicensed tax consultant, then you should just hang up and save your time & money. Only experienced and licensed tax professionals can effectively analyze your particular tax situation and recommend a remedy accordingly. If this is the case, they can and should also help you understand all possible settlement options available to you and most of all, they can and should help you understand the best settlement option from among the available options.

I hope that I shed some light on how to choose a tax relief company, and prevented you from falling into unscrupulous tax relief scams.


About Mike Habib, EA

Mike Habib is an IRS licensed Enrolled Agent who concentrates his tax practice on helping individuals and businesses solve their IRS tax problems. Mike has over 20 years experience in taxation and financial advisory to individuals, small businesses and fortune 500 companies.

IRS problems do not go away unless you take some action! Get IRS Tax Relief today by calling me at 1-877-78-TAXES. You can reach me from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, 7 days a week.

Licensed to represent taxpayers in all 50 states

Also online at http://www.myirstaxrelief.com/

IRS Problem Solver – Solutions to tax problems

Tax relief expert and IRS Problem Solver, Mike Habib, states that taxation doesn’t have to be taxing! Your right to deal with the IRS by yourself carries the right to hire and solicit assistance and representation on your behalf. This is what is usually and commonly done, especially because dealing with the IRS is frustrating and intimidating for the normal taxpayer which is the essence of retaining an experienced IRS Problem Solver. The IRS Problem Solver can either be an Enrolled Agent, CPA or Tax Attorney. These tax professionals are commonly known IRS Problem Solvers, Tax Resolution Specialists, or Tax Relief Specialist.

Before knowing what an IRS problem solver is, we must first know what an IRS Problem is. Yes, these are matters relating to problems on taxes or problems encountered with the IRS either because you have back taxes, discovered deficiency in tax payment or Tax Debt, conflicting records of income and expenses when compared to IRS records discovered from other sources such as employers payroll record or other financial institution.

IRS Problem Solver is the remedy, resolution or relief available to you as a taxpayer. This principally involves a special assistance from a tax relief professional to help you in dealing with your tax problem arising from economic needs or plain system problem. IRS problems may also be due to the late or delinquent filing of your tax return or payment of taxes or back taxes discrepancy in the accounting of your return and many more.

Hiring an IRS Problem Solver allows you proper representation before the IRS Collections, IRS Audit and the IRS Appeals are allowed to deal with your representative and adjust, settle and resolve your IRS problems with them instead of you dealing with the tax problem on your own. Going DIY, do it yourself, is not advisable as this is like the case of Goliath vs. David. The IRS personnel are very knowledgeable in their field and usually reach arrangements with the taxpayer directly that are not favourable to the taxpayer as the taxpayer is unaware of their options and rights under the complex tax laws. IRS employees are more schooled and skilled in the art of taxation and tax enforcement is their business which ends up trapping and destroying the weaker taxpayer instead of helping them out on a win-win basis. An experienced IRS Problem Solver would represent you before the IRS, analyze your financial situation and negotiate a reasonable settlement with the IRS on your behalf.

IRS Problem Solvers are tax professionals who are individually licensed by the Federal Government, or by your home State and act as Tax Resolution Specialists. They assist and help in various IRS problems by availing and qualifying taxpayers for the IRS Offer in Compromise program, arranging Installment Plans, removing you from active collections to CNC status (Currently Non Collectible), have the IRS release your wage levy and get your bank levy released and much more. Importantly, IRS Problem Solvers are and can help in the resolution of tax problems not resolved through normal channel or IRS system and procedures.

Thus from the term IRS Problem Solver, there is already a problem and it pinpoints to a fact there is a need to get someone other than yourself to do the problem solving and the problem solver must be well versed in IRS problems and equipped in handling your case for a successful resolution.

Lastly, a word of caution, make sure that you ALWAYS speak with the IRS Problem Solver you hire, make sure he or she is licensed, and experienced in representing taxpayers before the IRS, do not speak with a sales representative, or a tax consultant . Finally, the representative you hire must have an excellent standing with the BBB, Better Business Bureau. Get tax resolution today, call Mike Habib, EA at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Tax Relief

Are you having problems with settling all your tax debts? If so, you might want to avail of any of the tax relief programs provided for by the IRS. A tax relief is a negotiated solution to your tax problem and possible reduction of the entire tax amount, penalty and interest. It is a form of help from the Government so the taxpayers, be it individuals or companies or corporations, may still be able to pay the tax that is needed to sustain the Government’s needs without such taxpayer suffering penalties from non-payment of taxes. It is a form of compromise where you, as a taxpayer and with back taxes, will promise to pay a possible lesser amount to the IRS instead of the whole amount, and where the IRS will not penalize you or charge you with interests and accept your payment as sufficient.

So what are the different tax relief programs that the Government provides? There is property, personal, business, and housing tax relief. You could also avail of the disaster tax relief program if you have experienced a natural disaster or calamity in your area, or even a financial crisis. However, before you could qualify for this kind, your place or area must first be declared by the Government to be in such a state. There is also an available tax debt relief for taxpayers who are insolvent and cannot, in any way, produce the money to settle their tax obligations. There are other tax relief programs and the best way to know which among these programs you are qualified to apply for is to consult with a tax professional that has an in-depth knowledge on these matters. Such tax professionals will assist you and make your application for tax relief successful, than if you will do it by yourself, particularly because there are many requirements to submit and papers to be produced. However, you must remember that a granted tax relief will not eliminate your tax obligations; instead, it will just make it more affordable for you to pay what you can based on your ability to pay. This is a common misperception of people about tax relief.

There are many tax relief laws. An example of this is the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 which reduced different federal taxes of the United States. Another is the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 which intends to prevent the canceled debt or the forgiven death by a creditor from being treated as taxable income. Just this April 2010, the Legislature of California passed a bill involving housing-crisis California tax relief. This bill is intended to aid homeowners, whose homes and family dwellings were foreclosed, or those who cannot pay anymore mortgages on their homes and had sold it for less than what they still owe their creditors. These kinds of bills and laws are very much needed these days, because of the financial crisis that the whole world has experienced. It will definitely help taxpayers in their responsibility as citizens in assisting the Government and in turn, the Government will be able to collect the needed money to fund their projects.

Keywords: tax relief, tax debt relief, IRS tax relief

IRS to Step up Audits of Sole Proprietors

IRS Examination, IRS Tax Examination

SOURCE: WebCPA

The Internal Revenue Service plans to check for unfiled tax returns and look for unreported income from sole proprietors of small businesses during correspondence audits and face-to-face IRS tax audits.

Estimates by the IRS show that $68 billion of the $345 billion tax gap in 2001 was due to the underreporting of income by sole proprietors. The IRS conducted more than 5.1 million correspondence examinations between fiscal year 2004 and FY 2008 that recommended the IRS collect approximately $35 billion in additional taxes, according to a new report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. For each tax return examined, a correspondence examination generated about $6,800 in recommended additional taxes.

TIGTA found 129 audits where sole proprietors may have avoided tax and interest assessments totaling more than $1.7 million because the IRS failed to address significant potential income misstatements during compliance audits. These audits were identified from a statistically valid sample of 298 closed correspondence audits of individual returns with sole proprietorships that were closed by tax examiners in the IRS Campus Compliance Services operations during fiscal year 2007. Unlike procedures for audits conducted in the field, procedures for correspondence audits of sole proprietors do not require examiners to complete minimum checks for unfiled returns (employment tax and information returns) and to probe for unreported income.

TIGTA recommended that the IRS require correspondence examiners to check for unfiled returns, such as employment tax and information returns, and to probe for unreported income. These checks are required of IRS examiners who conduct in-person audits, but not of correspondence examiners.

“Sole proprietors who underreport their income can create an unfair burden on honest taxpayers and diminish the public’s respect for the tax system,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. “It is imperative that the IRS institutes policies to address this problem.”

In response to TIGTA’s draft report, the IRS agreed to develop inventory selection filters to identity and refer to field examiners those sole proprietors who did not file required employment tax or information returns; and those with indicators of unreported income.

Important tax developments in the first quarter of 2010

IRS Tax Relief

While the new law tax changes in the health reform legislation and the hiring legislation were the most significant developments in the first quarter of 2010, many other tax developments may affect you, your family, and your livelihood. These other key developments in the first quarter of 2010 are summarized below. Please call 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.

Estate planning uncertainty. As of now, there is no estate or generation-skipping transfer tax for individuals who die this year. Because of changes to the income tax basis rules for property acquired from a decedent in 2010, some heirs could actually face higher combined estate and income tax costs if their loved one dies in 2010 than would have been the case if death had occurred in 2009. Congress could still retroactively reinstate the estate and generation-skipping transfers taxes to the beginning of this year and restore the favorable prior income basis rules that wipe out income tax on pre-death appreciation in asset values. But, so far, this is no clear indication of what lawmakers will do. Apart from tax uncertainty, the continuing inaction could also pose a problem for individuals with wills using formula clauses. These clauses work well when the estate tax is in force but they may produce unintended consequences when there is no estate tax. Action may need to be taken if it becomes clear that Congress will not be addressing the situation.

Like-kind exchange relief for those snared by QIs in bankruptcy or receivership. In general, no gain or loss is recognized on the exchange of property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment if the property is exchanged solely for property of a like kind which is held either for productive use in a trade or business or for investment. When a taxpayer uses a qualified intermediary (QI), generally he will transfer the relinquished property to the QI, who will sell the property to a buyer. The QI will then take the proceeds of the sale of the relinquished property, purchase the replacement property, and transfer the replacement property to the taxpayer. If the taxpayer receives the replacement property within a specified period and meets other requirements, he is considered to have engaged in a like-kind exchange of property with the QI and he won’t recognize gain on the exchange.

Unfortunately, many QIs went bankrupt in the last few years thus posing a problem for taxpayers who used them. However, the IRS has now granted relief for taxpayers who were unable to timely complete a like-kind exchange because their qualified intermediary (QI) entered into bankruptcy or receivership. The IRS won’t treat taxpayers as being in actual or constructive receipt of exchange proceeds if they can’t complete an exchange because of a default of a QI in bankruptcy or receivership. Affected taxpayers may use a special safe harbor method to report gain or loss.

Reporting of uncertain tax positions. The IRS has announced that it is developing a schedule to require certain business taxpayers to report uncertain tax positions on their tax returns. Specifically, the schedule will require a concise description of those positions and information on the maximum amount of potential Federal tax liability attributable to each uncertain tax position (determined without regard to the taxpayer’s risk analysis regarding its likelihood of prevailing on the merits). It would be filed with the Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return or other business returns. The IRS intends the new schedule to be filed by a business taxpayer with total assets in excess of $10 million if the taxpayer has one or more uncertain tax positions of the type required to be reported on the new schedule. The IRS plans to require the filing of the new schedule for returns relating to the calendar year 2010 and for fiscal years that begin in 2010.

Chances of being audited. IRS has issued its annual data book, which provides statistical data on its fiscal year 2009 activities, including how many tax returns it examines (audits), and what categories of returns it focuses its resources on. Of the 138,788,744 total individual income tax returns with a filing requirement (this excludes returns filed only to receive an economic stimulus payment) in calendar year 2008, 1,425,888 (1%) were audited. For business returns other than farm returns showing total gross receipts of $100,000 to $200,000, 4.2% of returns were audited. For business returns other than farm returns showing total gross receipts of $200,000 or more, 3.2% of returns were audited. For returns showing total positive income of $200,000 to $1 million, 2.3% of returns not showing business activity were audited, and 3.1% of returns showing business activity were audited.

IRS honoring medical resident FICA refund claims for pre-April 1, 2005 periods. The IRS made an administrative determination to accept the position that medical residents are excepted from FICA taxes based on the student exception for tax periods ending before April 1, 2005, when new regs went into effect. The IRS intends to contact hospitals, universities and medical residents who filed FICA (Social Security and Medicare tax) refund claims for these periods with more information and procedures. The period of limitations for filing a claim for tax periods before April 1, 2005 has expired. An individual who is or was a medical resident, and did not file an individual FICA refund claim, may be covered by a FICA refund claim filed by his employer for the period he was a medical resident. The individual should contact his employer (or former employer) to see if it filed a FICA refund claim. On April 1, 2005, new IRS regulations regarding the student FICA exception became effective. Under these regulations, an employee including a medical resident who works 40 hours or more for a school, college or university is not eligible for the student exception.

Payments for use of trademarks. A prestigious Federal Appellate Court has ruled that a corporation that manufactured kitchen knives and tools could currently deduct the royalties it paid under trademark licensing agreements. In so deciding the Appeals Court rejected the IRS’s position (which had been sustained in the lower court) that the payments had to be capitalized under complex statutory provisions. The immediate deduction produced a quicker tax break than would have been the case had the Appeals Court agreed with the IRS.

Boosted housing allowances for those working abroad in high-cost areas. Guidance from the IRS increases the maximum housing cost exclusion for some U.S. citizens and residents working abroad in specified high-cost locations in 2010. The increases are based on geographic differences in foreign housing costs relative to U.S. housing costs. For example, assume a U.S. taxpayer is posted to Tokyo, Japan for all of 2010. Under the new IRS guidance, his maximum housing cost exclusion is $93,260 ($107,900 full year limit on housing expense in Tokyo minus $14,640 base amount). Before the 2010 table was issued, the IRS had last issued a table for 2008, which is also used for 2009. However, the 2010 table can be used for 2009 if it produces a better result for the taxpayer. In some cases, the 2010 allowances are lower than the 2008 allowances.

Moratorium on selective enforcement of tax shelter penalty continues. Continuing a previously announced policy, the IRS has suspended through May 31, 2010 its efforts to collect penalties under Code Sec. 6707A in some cases. This provision imposes a penalty of $100,000 per individual and $200,000 per entity for each failure to make special disclosures with respect to a transaction that the IRS characterizes as a “listed transaction” or “substantially similar” to a listed transaction. The suspension applies where the annual tax benefit from the transaction is less than $100,000 for individuals or $200,000 for other taxpayers. The IRS originally implemented the suspension after Congressional leaders complained that Code Sec. 6707A can result in disproportionate penalties for small businesses that thought they were investing in legitimate benefits plans, but unknowingly invested in listed tax shelter transactions. Legislation that would ease Code Sec. 6707A ‘s application has passed the Senate and has been introduced in the House.

Government seeks input on annuitization of retirement plan payments. The Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury are currently reviewing the law to determine whether (and, if so, how) they could or should enhance the retirement security of participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs by facilitating access to, and use of, lifetime income or other arrangements designed to provide a lifetime stream of income after retirement. To that end, they are seeking input on this subject from plan participants, employers and other plan sponsors, plan service providers, and members of the financial community, as well as the general public. The concern is that many employers no longer provide fixed lifetime pensions but rather provide 401(k) plans. With these plans, employees bear investment risks and can choose lump sums. Accordingly, employees are not only increasingly responsible for the adequacy of their savings at the time of retirement, but also for ensuring that their savings last throughout their retirement years.


IRS Tax Help and Tax Relief Services by Mike Habib, EA at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937)

Health Reform Law to Spawn More Tax Men?

IRS Says It Needs More ‘Resources’ to Implement Tax Provisions of New Law

SOURCE: ABC

By DEVIN DWYER
Ask critics of the Democrats’ health care overhaul about the law’s impact, and among the “horrors” they may describe is an army of Internal Revenue Service agents with “dangerously expanded authority.”

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee warn that as many as 16,500 new IRS auditors and investigators — or 17 percent of the agency’s current work force — could be needed to administer and enforce new health insurance rules under the law.

That could mean more audits, confiscated refunds and incursions into details of individuals’ health insurance plans — all at a cost of up to $10 billion over 10 years, they said in a report published last week.

“When most people think of health care reform, they think of more doctor exams, not more IRS exams,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, ranking member on the House Joint Economic Committee. “Isn’t the federal government already intruding enough into our lives?”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act authorizes the IRS, the agency that collects taxes and enforces internal revenue laws in the U.S., to collect penalties imposed on individuals for not having health insurance, and on companies for not offering it when the mandates take effect in 2014.

But IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said taxpayers have nothing to fear.

“I think there have been some misconceptions out there,” Shulman told a House committee last week, insisting the new law will not fundamentally alter the relationship between the agency and taxpayers.

Shulman said the new health care law puts the onus on taxpayers to report their insurance coverage on tax forms much as they report income and interest earnings.

“All that will happen with the IRS is similar to a current 1099, where a bank sends the IRS a statement that says ‘here’s the interest’ someone owes, and they send it to the taxpayer,” he said. “We expect to get a simple form that … says this person has acceptable health coverage.”

He said the Department of Health and Human Services will set guidelines for what constitutes “acceptable” health coverage.

But just how the mandate will be enforced if a taxpayer doesn’t report coverage — or reports unacceptable coverage — is unclear. Details of how the provision will work, and IRS’s role in how it will work, are still being determined.

IRS Needs More “Resources” Under Health Reform Law
While insurance information provided on tax forms would presumably be subject to review in an audit, the IRS is prohibited from criminally prosecuting taxpayers who don’t comply with the mandates or issuing liens or levies as a penalty under the new law.

“It’s premature to be speculating about numbers of employees the IRS will need, and what they will be doing,” a Treasury Department spokesperson told ABC News. “Any analysis that assumes the IRS would dedicate most of its administrative expenses to investigating taxpayers is fundamentally flawed.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that administrative costs associated with implementing the health reform law could cost the IRS between $5 billion and $10 billion over 10 years. It does not say how the money would be spent, although some of the funds would likely help acquire more employees.

Shulman said the agency “will need resources,” but that they will largely be acquired to “serve the American people.”

The agency said it would need to undertake awareness campaigns to promote new affordability tax credits to families and health tax credits to small businesses. Changes to the tax code will also necessitate greater staffing of call centers and building online self-help tools, the agency said.

Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said any expansion of the tax agency as part of health reform amounts to greater incursion into citizens’ lives.

“The legislation envisions the IRS having a central role in administering a new national health insurance system and enforcing its rules,” he said in a statement.

President Obama’s budget for FY 2011 gives a $450 million increase for the IRS and describes the agency’s $8 billion allocation for enforcement and modernization programs to support “significant new revenue-generating initiatives that will target critical areas of non-compliance.”

Of the nearly 199 million income tax returns filed with the IRS last year, more than 1.5 million — or just below 1 percent — were reviewed by agency auditors.

Tax changes affecting individuals in the 2010 health reform legislation

Mike Habib, EA

I’m writing to give you a brief overview of the key tax changes affecting individuals in the recently enacted health reform legislation. Please call our offices for details of how the new changes may affect your specific situation.

Individual mandate. The new law contains an “individual mandate”–a requirement that U.S. citizens and legal residents have qualifying health coverage or be subject to a tax penalty. Under the new law, those without qualifying health coverage will pay a tax penalty of the greater of: (a) $695 per year, up to a maximum of three times that amount ($2,085) per family, or (b) 2.5% of household income over the threshold amount of income required for income tax return filing. The penalty will be phased in according to the following schedule: $95 in 2014, $325 in 2015, and $695 in 2016 for the flat fee or 1.0% of taxable income in 2014, 2.0% of taxable income in 2015, and 2.5% of taxable income in 2016. Beginning after 2016, the penalty will be increased annually by a cost-of-living adjustment. Exemptions will be granted for financial hardship, religious objections, American Indians, those without coverage for less than three months, aliens not lawfully present in the U.S., incarcerated individuals, those for whom the lowest cost plan option exceeds 8% of household income, those with incomes below the tax filing threshold (in 2010 the threshold for taxpayers under age 65 is $9,350 for singles and $18,700 for couples), and those residing outside of the U.S.

Premium assistance tax credits for purchasing health insurance. The centerpiece of the health care legislation is its provision of tax credits to low and middle income individuals and families for the purchase of health insurance. For tax years ending after 2013, the new law creates a refundable tax credit (the “premium assistance credit”) for eligible individuals and families who purchase health insurance through an exchange. The premium assistance credit, which is refundable and payable in advance directly to the insurer, subsidizes the purchase of certain health insurance plans through an exchange. Under the provision, an eligible individual enrolls in a plan offered through an exchange and reports his or her income to the exchange. Based on the information provided to the exchange, the individual receives a premium assistance credit based on income and IRS pays the premium assistance credit amount directly to the insurance plan in which the individual is enrolled. The individual then pays to the plan in which he or she is enrolled the dollar difference between the premium assistance credit amount and the total premium charged for the plan. For employed individuals who purchase health insurance through an exchange, the premium payments are made through payroll deductions.

The premium assistance credit will be available for individuals and families with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level ($43,320 for an individual or $88,200 for a family of four, using 2009 poverty level figures) that are not eligible for Medicaid, employer sponsored insurance, or other acceptable coverage. The credits will be available on a sliding scale basis. The amount of the credit will be based on the percentage of income the cost of premiums represents, rising from 2% of income for those at 100% of the federal poverty level for the family size involved to 9.5% of income for those at 400% of the federal poverty level for the family size involved.

Higher Medicare taxes on high-income taxpayers. High-income taxpayers will be hit with a double whammy: a tax increase on wages and a new levy on investments.

Higher Medicare payroll tax on wages. The Medicare payroll tax is the primary source of financing for Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund, which pays hospital bills for beneficiaries, who are 65 and older or disabled. Under current law, wages are subject to a 2.9% Medicare payroll tax. Workers and employers pay 1.45% each. Self-employed people pay both halves of the tax (but are allowed to deduct half of this amount for income tax purposes). Unlike the payroll tax for Social Security, which applies to earnings up to an annual ceiling ($106,800 for 2010), the Medicare tax is levied on all of a worker’s wages without limit.

Under the provisions of the new law, which take in 2013, most taxpayers will continue to pay the 1.45% Medicare hospital insurance tax, but single people earning more than $200,0000 and married couples earning more than $250,000 will be taxed at an additional 0.9% (2.35% in total) on the excess over those base amounts. Employers will collect the extra 0.9% on wages exceeding $200,000 just as they would withhold Medicare taxes and remit them to the IRS. Companies wouldn’t be responsible for determining whether a worker’s combined income with his or her spouse made them subject to the tax. Instead, some employees will have to remit additional Medicare taxes when they file income tax returns, and some will get a tax credit for amounts overpaid. Self-employed persons will pay 3.8% on earnings over the threshold. Married couples with combined incomes approaching $250,000 will have to keep tabs on their spouses’ pay to avoid an unexpected tax bill. It should also be noted that the $200,000/$250,000 thresholds are not indexed for inflation, so it is likely that more and more people will be subject to the higher taxes in coming years.

Medicare payroll tax extended to investments. Under current law, the Medicare payroll tax only applies to wages. Beginning in 2013, a Medicare tax will, for the first time, be applied to investment income. A new 3.8% tax will be imposed on net investment income of single taxpayers with AGI above $200,000 and joint filers over $250,000 (unindexed). Net investment income is interest, dividends, royalties, rents, gross income from a trade or business involving passive activities, and net gain from disposition of property (other than property held in a trade or business). Net investment income is reduced by properly allocable deductions to such income. However, the new tax won’t apply to income in tax-deferred retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans. Also, the new tax will apply only to income in excess of the $200,000/$250,000 thresholds. So if a couple earns $200,000 in wages and $100,000 in capital gains, $50,000 will be subject to the new tax. Because the new tax on investment income won’t take effect for three years, that leaves more time for Congress and the IRS to tinker with it. So we can expect lots of refinements and “clarifications” between now and when the tax is actually rolled out in 2013.

Floor on medical expenses deduction raised from 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 10%. Under current law, taxpayers can take an itemized deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses for regular income tax purposes only to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5% of the taxpayer’s AGI. The new law raises the floor beneath itemized medical expense deductions from 7.5% of AGI to 10%, effective for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012. The AGI floor for individuals age 65 and older (and their spouses) will remain unchanged at 7.5% through 2016.

Limit reimbursement of over-the-counter medications from HSAs, FSAs, and MSAs. The new law excludes the costs for over-the-counter drugs not prescribed by a doctor from being reimbursed through a health reimbursement account (HRA) or health flexible savings accounts (FSAs) and from being reimbursed on a tax-free basis through a health savings account (HSA) or Archer Medical Savings Account (MSA), effective for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2010.

Increased penalties on nonqualified distributions from HSAs and Archer MSAs. The new law increases the tax on distributions from a health savings account or an Archer MSA that are not used for qualified medical expenses to 20% (from 10% for HSAs and from 15% for Archer MSAs) of the disbursed amount, effective for distributions made after Dec. 31, 2010.

Limit health flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) to $2,500. An FSA is one of a number of tax-advantaged financial accounts that can be set up through a cafeteria plan of an employer. An FSA allows an employee to set aside a portion of his or her earnings to pay for qualified expenses as established in the cafeteria plan, most commonly for medical expenses but often for dependent care or other expenses. Under current law, there is no limit on the amount of contributions to an FSA. Under the new law, however, allowable contributions to health FSAs will capped at $2,500 per year, effective for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012. The dollar amount will be indexed for inflation after 2013.

Dependent coverage in employer health plans. Effective on the enactment date, the new law extends the general exclusion for reimbursements for medical care expenses under an employer-provided accident or health plan to any child of an employee who has not attained age 27 as of the end of the tax year. This change is also intended to apply to the exclusion for employer-provided coverage under an accident or health plan for injuries or sickness for such a child. A parallel change is made for VEBAs and 401(h) accounts. Also, self-employed individuals are permitted to take a deduction for the health insurance costs of any child of the taxpayer who has not attained age 27 as of the end of the tax year.

Excise tax on indoor tanning services. The new law imposes a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services. The tax, which will be paid by the individual on whom the tanning services are performed but collected and remitted by the person receiving payment for the tanning services, will take effect July 1, 2010.

Liberalized adoption credit and adoption assistance rules. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2009, the adoption tax credit is increased by $1,000, made refundable, and extended through 2011 The adoption assistance exclusion is also increased by $1,000.

I hope this information is helpful. If you would like more details about these provisions or any other aspect of the new law, please do not hesitate to call me at 1-877-78-TAXES (1-877-788-2937).

IRS unveils 2010 list of tax scams — the Dirty Dozen

Tax Relief

IRS has unveiled its latest list of notorious tax scams, which it calls the “Dirty Dozen”. The IRS highlighted tax schemes involving phishing, hiding income offshore and false claims of refunds. IRS warns that these tax schemes are illegal and can lead to problems for both scam artists and taxpayers who risk significant penalties, interest and possible criminal prosecution.

Taxpayers should steer clear of these tax schemes and take corrective steps to remedy the situation for any tax schemes that you may have gotten involved in. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

IRS has identified the following tax scams as this year’s Dirty Dozen:

Return preparer fraud. Dishonest tax return preparers can cause many problems for taxpayers who fall victim to their ploys. IRS is implementing a number of steps for future filing seasons. These include a requirement that all paid tax return preparers register with IRS and obtain a preparer tax identification number (PTIN), as well as both competency tests and ongoing continuing professional education for all paid tax return preparers except attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents (see related article in Federal Taxes Weekly Alert 01/07/2010). Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Hiding income offshore. IRS aggressively pursues taxpayers and promoters involved in abusive offshore transactions. Taxpayers have tried to avoid or evade U.S. income tax by hiding income in offshore banks, brokerage accounts or through other entities. Taxpayers also evade taxes by using offshore debit cards, credit cards, wire transfers, foreign trusts, employee-leasing schemes, private annuities or life insurance plans. IRS agents continue to develop their investigations of these offshore tax avoidance transactions using information gained from over 14,700 voluntary disclosures received last year. By making a voluntary disclosure, taxpayers may mitigate their risk of criminal prosecution. For IRS’s recent settlement offer for those that voluntarily disclose unreported offshore income, see Federal Taxes Weekly Alert 04/02/2009. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Phishing. This is a tactic used by Internet-based scam artists to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal or financial information. The criminals use the information to steal the victim’s identity, access bank accounts, run up credit card charges or apply for loans in the victim’s name. Phishing scams often take the form of an e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate source. IRS never initiates unsolicited e-mail contact with taxpayers about their tax issues.

Filing false or misleading forms. IRS is seeing scam artists file false or misleading returns to claim refunds that they are not entitled to. Frivolous information returns, such as Form 1099-Original Issue Discount (OID), claiming false withholding credits are used to legitimize erroneous refund claims. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Nontaxable Social Security benefits with exaggerated withholding. IRS has identified returns where taxpayers report nontaxable Social Security benefits with excessive withholding. This tactic results in no income reported to IRS on the tax return. Often both the withholding amount and the reported income are incorrect. Taxpayers should avoid making these mistakes. Filings of this type of return may result in a $5,000 penalty. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Abuse of charitable organizations and deductions. IRS continues to observe the misuses of tax-exempt organizations. These include arrangements to improperly shield income or assets from taxation, as well as attempts by donors to maintain control over donated assets or income from donated property. IRS also continues to investigate various schemes involving the donation of non-cash assets, including easements on property, closely-held corporate stock and real property. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Frivolous arguments. Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage people to make unreasonable and unfounded claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe. IRS has a list of frivolous legal positions that taxpayers should stay away from. Taxpayers who file a tax return or make a submission based on one of the positions on the list are subject to a $5,000 penalty. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Abusive retirement plans. IRS continues to uncover abuses in retirement plan arrangements, including Roth IRAs. IRS is looking for transactions that taxpayers are using to avoid the limitations on contributions to IRAs as well as transactions that are not properly reported as early distributions. Taxpayers should be wary of advisers who encourage them to shift appreciated assets at less than fair market value into IRAs to circumvent annual contribution limits. Other variations have included the use of limited liability companies (LLC) to engage in activity that is considered prohibited. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Disguised corporate ownership. Some taxpayers form corporations and other entities in certain states for the primary purpose of disguising the ownership of a business or financial activity. Such entities can be used to facilitate underreporting of income, fictitious deductions, non-filing of tax returns, participating in listed transactions, money laundering, financial crimes, and even terrorist financing. IRS is working with state authorities to identify these entities and to bring the owners of these entities into compliance. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Zero wages. Filing a phony wage- or income-related information return to replace a legitimate information return has been used as an illegal method to lower the amount of taxes owed. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Misuse of trusts. For years, unscrupulous promoters have urged taxpayers to transfer assets into trusts. They promise reduction of income subject to tax, deductions for personal expenses and reduced estate or gift taxes. Such trusts rarely deliver the promised tax benefits and are being used primarily as a means to avoid income tax liability and hide assets from creditors, including IRS. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Fuel tax credit scams. IRS is receiving claims for the fuel tax credit that are unreasonable. Some taxpayers, such as farmers who use fuel for off-highway business purposes, may be eligible for the fuel tax credit. But some individuals are claiming the tax credit for nontaxable uses of fuel when their occupation or income level makes the claim unreasonable. Fraud involving the fuel tax credit is considered a frivolous tax claim, potentially subjecting those who improperly claim the credit to a $5,000 penalty. Call us today at 1-877-78-TAXES (877-788-2937).

Get tax remedy and resolve your tax problem today. We specialize in tax relief matters and can remedy your tax situation. Call Mike Habib today at 1-877-788-2937.

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