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How Long Does A Typical IRS Tax Audit Take?

Venar Ayar, How long does an IRS tax audit take?
Tax Audit Time Frame

The Internal Revenue Service regularly performs tax audits of both corporate taxpayers and individuals. Although tax audits are conducted year-long, they often spike during the few months after the tax season, especially when problematic or misleading returns come under the IRS microscope.

Irrespective of when an “examination” or audit commences, an IRS auditor would be assigned to your case.

While IRS tax auditors are trained to be efficient, they’re also well trained to be comprehensive and thorough – and depending, to a large extent, on the structure and complexity of the individual or company’s tax situation, the IRS audit process usually takes more time than you may estimate as a taxpayer.

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When To Request A Collection Due Process Hearing

venar ayar, Request due process hearing from the irs
What Is A Collection Due Process Hearing?

A collection due process (CDP) hearing gives you one last chance to avoid a federal tax lien or tax levy. You will know you have a right to request a CDP hearing because you will receive a CDP notice. This notice is sent when any of the following IRS collection actions are being taken:

  • Filing of a Federal tax lien
  • Bank account levy
  • Jeopardy Levy
  • Levy on Your State Tax Refund

The IRS should send you this notice before taking the proposed actions, but there are some situations where they can send the notice of taking action. The important thing to note is that you have 30 days from the date of the notice to request a CDP hearing.

Request A Collection Due Process Hearing

By requesting a CDP hearing, you temporarily avoid the lien or levy. The IRS will typically not initiate the levy during the CDP hearing process. This gives you time to weigh your options.

The IRS is going to continue to pursue collection unless you give them a viable alternative. It’s always better to negotiate before they levy your assets than after.

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Offer In Compromise FAQs

Chuck Woodson, Offer In Compromise

We’re all responsible for paying our fair share of taxes each year. But what happens when the amount that you owe is simply out of reach? What happens if you failed to make payments in a timely manner and your financial circumstances have shifted to the point where your cumulative debt is beyond your ability to pay? In the face of this untenable position, your best option for paying the IRS may be what is known as an Offer in Compromise.

The Goal of the Offer in Compromise

The Offer in Compromise, or OIC, was created to accomplish two goals: it allows American taxpayers who are unable to pay the full amount of their tax debt a way to negotiate a payment that is in keeping with their ability to pay, while at the same time providing the IRS with the ability to collect at least a portion of the amount that is owed to them. The process is neither simple nor fast: it generally takes at least one to two years for both sides to come to an agreement on an amount to be paid.

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IRS Rules: FATCA Reporting For U.S. Taxpayers

IRS, U.S. Citizens Reporting Foreign Assets, TaxConnections

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is an important development in U.S. efforts to combat tax evasion by U.S. persons holding accounts and other financial assets offshore. The Treasury Department and the IRS continue to develop guidance concerning FATCA. For current and more in-depth information, please visit FATCA.

Under FATCA, certain U.S. taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States must report those assets to the IRS on Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. There are serious penalties for not reporting these financial assets (as described below). This FATCA requirement is in addition to the long-standing requirement to report foreign financial accounts on FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) (formerly TD F 90-22.1).

FATCA will also require certain foreign financial institutions to report directly to the IRS information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. The reporting institutions will include not only banks, but also other financial institutions, such as investment entities, brokers, and certain insurance companies. Some non-financial foreign entities will also have to report certain of their U.S. owners.

Therefore, if you set up a new account with a foreign financial institution, it may ask you for information about your citizenship. FATCA provides special (and lessened) reporting requirements about the U.S. account holders of certain financial institutions that do not solicit business outside their country of organization and that mainly service account holders resident within it. In order to qualify for this favorable treatment, however, the local foreign financial institution cannot discriminate by declining to open or maintain accounts for U.S. citizens who reside in the country where it is organized.

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Tax Havens And The IRS

The term “tax haven” is a bit of a misnomer, for the places that are considered tax havens don’t just offer an escape from taxes. They also offer secrecy and a place for U.S. citizens and corporations to keep their money far from the government’s grasp.  What is a tax haven, and how does the IRS think of them?

The IRS actively fights against tax havens via their The Abusive Tax Scheme Program, which actively attempts to prevent abusive behavior by would-be taxpayers. Avoiding paying taxes via hiding money in tax havens is a white-collar crime.

What Is A Tax Haven?

A tax haven is any country, state, or territory that offers foreign individuals and businesses with little or no tax liability. It usually refers only to countries that are politically and economically stable. Tax havens fall into one of three categories:

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IRS Penalty: What Is Reasonable Cause?

IRS penalty relief brings big business opportunities for astute tax practitioners as the IRS does indeed have the authority to provide relief from various penalties if you know how to do the dance.

In 2014 the IRS abated either in part or in full approximately 12.3% of the 40.3 million penalties issued reducing penalty assessments paid by US Taxpayers up to $9.8 billion.

According to the IRM, relief from penalties can fall into one of four separate categories.

  • Reasonable cause.
  • Statutory exceptions.
  • Administrative waivers.
  • Correction of IRS error.

This post drills down into Reasonable Cause. The IRS bases reasonable cause on all the facts and circumstances of each individual case file and it allows for relief of penalties as per IRM 20.1.1.3.2.

The IRS grants reasonable cause relief when you exercised ordinary business care and prudence in determining your tax obligations but nevertheless were unable to to timely comply with those obligations.

IRS Policy Statement 3-2 provides a very limited list of ’causes’ which can be ‘reasonable’ for late filing of a return or failure to deposit or pay tax when due (IRM 1.2.12.1.2).

Examples of sound causes for delay which can be accepted as reasonable cause include:

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United States Income Tax Treaties – A to Z

IRS Tax Treaties

The United States has tax treaties with a number of foreign countries. Under these treaties, residents (not necessarily citizens) of foreign countries are taxed at a reduced rate, or are exempt from U.S. taxes on certain items of income they receive from sources within the United States. These reduced rates and exemptions vary among countries and specific items of income. Under these same treaties, residents or citizens of the United States are taxed at a reduced rate, or are exempt from foreign taxes, on certain items of income they receive from sources within foreign countries. Most income tax treaties contain what is known as a “saving clause” which prevents a citizen or resident of the United States from using the provisions of a tax treaty in order to avoid taxation of U.S. source income.

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The IRS’s Continued Refusal To Exclude Already Open TAS Cases From The Passport Certification Program Violates Taxpayer Rights

Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate

In January, I wrote my third blog about the IRS’s new program to certify the seriously delinquent tax debts of taxpayers for the purposes of passport denial, limitation, or revocation. At that point, the IRS had just begun implementing the program, and I expressed serious concerns about how the IRS’s refusal to exclude taxpayers with already open TAS cases would infringe upon their rights. As of the writing of this blog, the IRS has still refused to exclude these taxpayers from certification. Today, I want to walk through what my office has been doing over the last few months to elevate this issue to the highest levels of IRS leadership and how the IRS has responded.

As background, Section 7345 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) authorizes (but does not require) the IRS to certify a taxpayer’s seriously delinquent tax debt to the Department of State for the purposes of passport denial, limitation, or revocation. A seriously delinquent tax debt is an assessed, individual tax liability exceeding $51,000 (adjusted for inflation) for which either a notice of federal tax lien has been filed or a levy has been made. IRC § 7345(b)(2) provides exceptions for current installment agreements (IAs), offers in compromise (OICs), and Collection Due Process hearings. Because the statute provides the IRS with discretion to not certify taxpayers who meet the definition of a seriously delinquent tax debt, the IRS has created some certification exclusions, such as for taxpayers in currently not collectible (CNC) hardship status and those with pending IAs and OICs. See IRM 5.19.1.5.19.4 for a full list.

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Uncertain Tax Position Reporting For Corporations

Since Tax Year 2010, Schedule UTP has been used by certain corporations to report uncertain tax positions. Corporations filing Forms 1120, 1120-F, 1120-L, or 1120-PC must file Schedule UTP if total assets equal or exceed the applicable asset threshold for the tax year and the corporation reserved for a tax position in audited financial statements.

For tax years beginning in 2014 and later, the asset threshold for reporting uncertain tax positions on Schedule UTP (Form 1120) decreased to $10 million. Corporations meeting all other Schedule UTP filing requirements must file a Schedule UTP if total assets equal or exceed $10 million. This asset threshold decrease for tax year 2014 is the final phase of the five-year Schedule UTP filing requirement phase-in. The asset threshold for tax years 2010 and 2011 was $100 million, and it decreased to $50 million for tax years 2012 and 2013.

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Large Business And International Transfer Pricing Audit Roadmap

The Transfer Pricing Operations (TPO) of the Large Business and International (LB&I) division of IRS has released the Transfer Pricing Audit Roadmap to the public.  The Transfer Pricing Audit Roadmap (Roadmap) is a practical, user-friendly toolkit organized around a notional 24 month audit time-line.

The Roadmap provides recommended audit procedures and links to useful reference material. It is not intended as a template. Every transfer pricing case is unique and requires ongoing exercise of judgment and discretion.  With the release of the Roadmap, TPO is providing the public with insight into what to expect during a transfer pricing examination.  This transparency is intended to help improve communications and efficiency, for the benefit of both the IRS and taxpayers.

The Roadmap is a “living document”. TPO will continue to review the Roadmap and make changes over time as new techniques arise or additional reference materials become available.  Users are encouraged to contact the TPO to provide any input, feedback and suggestions for improvement.

As Reported By The IRS:

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/FinalTrfPrcRoadMap.pdf  

 

 

Sentencing Guidelines For A Taxpayer Charged with FBAR Violations

Do You Have Foreign Income?

In case you have foreign income or assets, you might be under an obligation to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) disclosing your assets and income to the IRS. The FBAR filing requirements specifically apply to US taxpayers with financial interest in, or signature authority over a financial account or foreign bank with a value of at least $10,000 at any point.

These FBAR requirements extend to U.S. residents, U.S. citizens and various kinds of business entities, such as limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations and partnerships. Keep in mind that FBAR violations, which usually involve failure to maintain relevant financial records or failure to file an FBAR, could result in severe penalties, especially if these violations are “willful.”

Failure To File

Since 2017, any failure to file can lead to harsh sentencing; this depends on how much you or your business has in foreign financial institutions or offshore accounts. A failure to disclose and furnish the information is usually an intentional act to deceive the IRS. You have to file the FBAR paperwork, as long as your accounts have over $10,000.

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What Taxpayers Should Know About Tax Return Copies And Transcripts

IRS, TaxConnections

The IRS recommends that taxpayers keep a copy of tax returns for at least three years. Doing so can help taxpayers prepare future tax returns or even assist with amending a prior year’s return. If a taxpayer is unable to locate copies of previous year tax returns, they should check with their software provider or tax preparer first. Tax returns are available from IRS for a fee.

Even though taxpayers may have a copy of their tax return, some taxpayers need a transcript. These are often necessary for a mortgage or college financial aid application.

Here is some information about copies of tax returns and transcripts that can help taxpayers know when and how to get them:

Transcripts
To get a transcript, taxpayers can:

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