Civil Liabilities

Fail to Turn Over Payroll Taxes To The IRS? You Could Be Looking At Jail Time

An employer is required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes from its employees’ wages for payment to the IRS. Payroll taxes such as federal income taxes and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes, both withheld by an employer, 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 remit payroll taxes.

Qualifying for IRS Innocent Spouse Relief

When married taxpayers file jointly, which is often done because of certain benefits available to couples filing jointly, both taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the tax and any additions to tax, interest, or penalties that arise from the joint return, even if their marriage is later dissolved. Joint and several liability means that each taxpayer is legally responsible for the entire liability.

Thus, both spouses on a married filing jointly return are generally held responsible for all the tax due even if one spouse earned all the income or erroneously claimed deductions. This is true notwithstanding the provisions of a divorce decree regarding a former spouse’s responsibility for any taxes due on previously filed joint returns. However, in rare cases, a spouse may obtain relief from joint and several liability.

What Is A Federal Tax Lien?

A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against your property when you neglect or fail to pay a tax debt. The lien protects the government’s interest in all your property, including real estate, personal property and financial assets. A federal tax lien exists after the IRS:

• Puts your balance due on the books (assesses your liability);
• Sends you a bill that explains how much you owe (Notice and Demand for Payment); and
You:
• Neglect or refuse to fully pay the debt on time.
The IRS files a public document, the Notice of Federal Tax Lien, to alert potential creditors and the public that the government has a legal and enforceable interest in your property.

Frivolous Tax Arguments And Their Perils

“Like moths to a flame, some people find themselves irresistibly drawn to the tax protester movement’s illusory claim that there is no legal requirement to pay federal income tax. And, like moths, these people sometimes get burned.” United States v. Sloan, 939 F.2d 499, 499-500 (7th Cir. 1991).

As long as the federal income tax has been with us, taxpayers have tried to argue that income taxes don’t legally apply to them. The reasons and bases for these arguments usually include the voluntary nature of the federal income tax system, the meaning of income, and the meaning of certain terms contained in the Interenal Revenue Code. Taxpayers hanging their hats on frivolous positions risk a variety of civil and criminal penalties for tax evasion and tax fraud . And taxpayers that adopt these frivolous positions may face more severe consequences than those who only promote them.

The IRS Offer-In-Compromise Program – How Does It Really Work?

The IRS Offer-In-Compromise Program – How Does It Really Work?An offer in compromise (OIC) is an agreement between a taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. If the tax liabilities can be fully paid through an installment agreement or other means, the taxpayer, in most cases, will not be eligible for an OIC.

In order to be eligible for an OIC the taxpayer must have:

  1. filed all tax returns;
  2. made all required estimated tax payments for the current year; and
  3. made all required federal tax deposits for the current quarter if the taxpayer is a business owner with employees.

Can I Discharge Taxes In Bankruptcy?

Can I Discharge Taxes In Bankruptcy?The ultimate purpose in filing bankruptcy is to obtain a discharge of most, if not all, of your debts. A bankruptcy discharge releases the debtor from personal liability for certain specified types of debts, i.e., the debtor is no longer legally required to pay those debts that are discharged. The discharge is a permanent order which prohibits the creditors from engaging in any and all forms of collection activity on such debts.

IRS Audits – What Are My Chances?

IRS Audits – What Are My Chances?It’s considered by many taxpayers to be one of the most frightening events that could happen related to their everyday business affairs. What is this frightening event? An IRS audit, of course. But is a tax audit really that scary in real life? The numbers reveal that only 1% of all taxpayers experience an audit, and of this one percent, about one in five result in a meeting with the IRS.

Presently, the IRS audits half as many taxpayers as it did five years ago. However, the amount of tax recovered per audit has increased. The IRS uses an elaborate computer selection process, auditing only those returns which will almost certainly yield some adjustment.

You’ve filed your tax return, how long does the IRS have to audit you?

You’ve filed your tax return, how long does the IRS have to audit you?You’ve filed all of your tax returns, and because of your level of income you find yourself in the class of taxpayers whose return is more likely to trigger an IRS audit. So you wonder, how long does the IRS now have to audit you?

Due to disclosure requirements, the IRS makes contact with a taxpayer selected for an audit by telephone or mail only.  When returns are filed, they are compared against norms for similar returns. These norms are developed from audits of a statistically valid random sample of returns, selected as part of the National Research Program conducted by the IRS to update return selection information.

New Highway Bill Gives IRS New Collection Tools

In December 2015, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST).

In December 2015, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST). Provisions included in this bill authorize the State Department to deny or revoke passports for individuals with delinquent tax debt of more than $50,000. The bill also resurrects the IRS private debt collection program and requires the IRS to use third-party entities to collect tax debt under limited circumstances. The IRS contracted with private debt collection agencies from 2006 to 2009, but then at the end of this period insisted it could more efficiently collect the debt itself, thus ending the private program. 

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