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).
In the first week of May, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced several actions to strengthen financial transparency and combat the misuse of companies to engage in illicit activities. Treasury announced a Customer Due Diligence (CDD) Final Rule, proposed Beneficial Ownership legislation, and proposed regulations related to foreign-owned, single-member limited liability companies (LLCs). Together, these efforts target key points of access to the international financial system – when companies open accounts at financial institutions, when companies are formed or when company ownership is transferred, and when foreign-owned U.S. companies seek to evade their taxes.
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:
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.
“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.
Here’s a primer for United States taxpayers residing abroad:
U.S. citizens must file a tax return. Any U.S. citizen who earns income of any kind is obligated to file a U.S. tax return every year, no matter where he or she resides in the world. Many Americans, living abroad and in the U.S., find it unfair that the United States is the only country that requires citizens to file tax returns whether or not they are earning income on U.S. shores. This is a leading reason why some Americans are renouncing their U.S. citizenship.
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 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.
The United States Tax Court is a federal trial court established by Congress under Article I of the U.S. Constitution, section 8. The Tax Court specializes in adjudicating disputes over federal income tax, generally prior to the time at which formal tax assessments are made by the Internal Revenue Service. The U.S. Tax Court is not an agency of, and is independent of, the executive branch. The U.S. Tax Court is the only forum in which taxpayers may file a case without having first paid the disputed tax in full. Tax Court judges are appointed for a term of 15 years, subject to presidential removal for actions related to neglect, inefficiency, or malfeasance.
What does the IRS consider to be negligent or non-wilful conduct when it comes to tax-related activity like filing income tax returns and making deductions? What does it consider wilful conduct? When is such activity tax fraud?
Tax fraud is a general term which is defined as taxpayer’s intent to defraud the government by not paying taxes that the taxpayer knows are lawfully due. Tax fraud can be punishable either civilly, criminally, or both. Under federal law, civil violations are primarily located in Title 26 and criminal violations mainly in Title 18, respectively, of the United States Code (“U.S.C.”).