President Trump’s 2005 Tax Return – What It Tells Us
Yesterday, Tuesday March 14, 2017, while most of the New England area was buried in snow, MSNBC published President Trump’s 2005 income tax return – or at least the first two pages of it. What does the return tell us and what does it not?
The Basics – We know he had a positive income in the amount of $152,737,866 and $103,201,242 in tax write-offs. He paid a total of $38,435,451 in taxes for the year.
7 Deadly Tax Sins
When it comes to the IRS, some bad acts are worse than others. We have compiled below the top ones to avoid at all costs. However, if you should find yourself in the middle of one, you should certainly call tax attorneys to get you out of the bad situation (yes, it is a bad situation).
Can the state of New York audit a federal tax return? Well, there’s nothing to prevent it from doing so. Often, a New York taxpayer may claim a state tax refund based upon the result of some calculation on the taxpayer’s federal tax return. Then, a New York state auditor questions the result and decides to inquire further by auditing the taxpayer’s state and federal return. At the Thorgood Law Firm, we’ve been seeing such audits occur much more frequently in the last few years.
In March, Donald Trump’s campaign published a letter written by his tax attorneys explaining the status of his tax returns, an apparent sore subject for the Donald whenever he is questioned about it by the media. Although the letter is dated March 7, 2016, it wasn’t released by his campaign until twenty-three days later. Regardless, he continues to thumb his nose at the time-honored tradition of presidential nominees disclosing their tax returns at some sufficent time prior to the election.
While the IRS uses the mitigation provisions of I.R.C. §§ 1311-1314 to reopen a taxpayer’s closed tax year and assesses tax deficiencies, it hardly facilitates taxpayers in using these provisions in similar fashion when seeking a refund from a closed year. Nonetheless, Congress intended that the mitigation provisions ensure that if certain prerequisites are met, either the government or the taxpayer may secure appropriate relief.
The mitigation provisions of I.R.C. §§ 1311-1314 provide a form of statutory relief and apply in certain limited circumstances to claims that are otherwise barred by operation of law or any rule of law like the statute of limitations. The goal of the mitigation provisions is to place the parties in the position they would have been in if the tax item(s) had been properly treated.
Employers are required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes from their employees’ wages for payment of payroll taxes such as federal income taxes and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes, which are held in trust until the employer makes a federal deposit of these amounts. The IRS applies a term, “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” or TFRP, well-known by employers, to describe the fine for employer’s willful failure to pay over these taxes. Persons responsible for making such payments may be subject to criminal charges for any willful failure to do so. Most TFRP cases involve corporate officers.
People typically think that the amount of their income is the biggest red flag that attracts an IRS auditor, and they would probably be right. But what are some of the other items on a tax return that may attract their attention? Some say that simple, plain returns are fairly safe and likely to avoid extended scrutiny by IRS auditors. According to the IRS, there are multiple ways a return may end up audited, here are some examples:
A tax or IRS levy is an administrative action by the IRS under its statutory authority to legally seize property to satisfy a tax debt. This is in contrast to a lien which is a legal claim against property to secure payment of the tax debt, while a levy actually takes the property to satisfy the tax liability. Obviously, an IRS levy is a frightening proposition to most, if not all, taxpayers.
A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against your property when a taxpayer neglects or fails to pay a tax debt. A federal tax lien exists after the IRS assesses liability, i.e. puts a balance due on its books, and sends the taxpayer a Notice and Demand for Payment, a bill that explains how much tax is owed. If the full debt isn’t paid in a timely manner, the IRS files a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, a public notice, to notify creditors and other interested parties that the government has a legal right in a taxpayer’s property. When conditions are in the best interest of both the government and the taxpayer, other options for reducing the impact of a lien exist:
Working at the IRS or representing clients before the IRS has its perks and advantages. Having the opportunity to observe all of the outlandish and bizarre attempts by taxpayers to assert legitimate,valid tax deductions is rare. On one hand, it certainly may involve the observance of a unique form of comedy. Here are some odd, crazy, unusual, and please note, unsuccessful tax deductions:
*Crazy Home Office Deductions
A woman that ran a home business tried to deduct what was basically her home refrigerator. She explained to her tax professional that she kept drinks in the refrigerator for customers and other business associates that came to the home office for meetings. According to the owner, this occurred four or five times a year while the refrigerator was in her kitchen and served her family.