Criminal Liabilities

Seven Deadly Tax Sins

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).

Tax Benefits of Supporting Your Parents

Did you know you could be responsible for your parents’ unpaid bills? Ever heard of Filial Responsibility Laws?  Well, these are laws obligating you to provide financial support for your indigent parents.  Yes, obligated under law.  According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, 21 states across the country (including states like Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts) allow for a civil action to obtain financial support for indigent parents.   At least 12 states may impose criminal penalties on children who refuse to support their parents.  Though rarely enforced, these laws may be dusted off by states looking to save money on Medicaid bills.

Part 2 – What If: Debt Related Life Events And Struggling Taxpayers

If you have any type of financial difficulty, keep in mind that there’s a tax impact to events such as job loss or foreclosure. Such consequences may not necessarily be predominantly negative. For example, if your income decreased, you may be newly eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit or other tax credits, which is a good thing.

Of the utmost importance when facing some financial obstacle is to contact the IRS immediately if you believe that you may have trouble paying your tax bill. Please see our blog You Can’t Pay Your Tax Bill in Full  You Have Options…An experienced and knowledgeable tax attorney may help ease any financial burden. Remember that to avoid additional penalties, you also should always file a tax return even if you are unable to pay.

Part 1 – What If: Job Related Life Events And Struggling Taxpayers

If you have any type of financial difficulty, keep in mind that there’s a tax impact to events such as job loss or foreclosure. Such consequences may not necessarily be predominantly negative. For example, if your income decreased, you may be newly eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit or other tax credits, which is a good thing.

Of the utmost importance when facing some financial obstacle is to contact the IRS immediately if you believe that you may have trouble paying your tax bill. Please see our blog You Can’t Pay Your Tax Bill in Full  You Have Options…An experienced and knowledgeable tax attorney may help ease any financial burden. Remember that to avoid additional penalties, you also should always file a tax return even if you are unable to pay.

Who Is Liable For Failure To Pay Over Employment Taxes?

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.

Red Flags That Attract IRS Auditors

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:

Pushing It To The Limit: Odd, Unusual And Crazy Tax Deductions

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.

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.

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.

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