A Practical Guide to Perfecting Your Tax Research Techniques and Achieving Sustainable Tax Return Filing Positions
In order to optimize your CPA Firm’s overall efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity in connection to researching and resolving a tax issue and determining the sustainability of a tax return filing position per Circular 230, the appropriate tax research processes must be meticulously designed, implemented, and executed. The subsequent five practical steps will guide you in establishing an all-inclusive tax research effort on behalf of your entire client base while properly ascertaining the likelihood of success should a tax position taken on a tax return be challenged by the Internal Revenue Service (hereinafter the “Service”) upon examination.
More than one million people who did not file a 2012 state income tax return are receiving letters seeking those returns or to verify that they do not have a tax filing requirement, according to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).
Since the 1950s, FTB has contacted people who have California income, but did not file a tax return. Last year, FTB collected more than $727 million through these efforts.
Each year FTB receives more than 400 million income records from third parties such as banks, employers, state departments, the IRS, and other sources. FTB matches these income records against its records of tax returns filed. While this program mainly identifies wage earners and self-employed individuals who have not filed, it also detects Read More
Once you have determined the type of property/asset you are dealing with you must determine use. There are four use classifications of property:
1. Personal-use property (not the same as personal type) is owned for personal use and enjoyment or living purposes. Items such as a primary residence, vehicle, clothing, household goods, recreational items, pets, etc, all are considered personal use property.
2. Investment-use property is property owned with a primary objective of increasing in value even though some current income may be generated. This classification includes things like land, collectibles like art or coins, capital stocks, bonds, and buildings not used in active rental. Read More
Part I of the topic exploring Form 5472, was posted last week and covered the situation when Form 5472 must be filed by a US corporation that is at least 25% owned by a foreign shareholder. Today’s post covers the other type of case requiring the filing of this form – when a foreign corporation that is engaged in a US trade or business (USTB) has a “reportable transaction” with either a US or a foreign related party.
Generally, the purpose of the form is to disclose the nature and amount of foreign and domestic transactions that occur with related-parties, since these types of transactions can give rise to abuse (for example, in transfer-pricing or in attempts to siphon off taxable earnings and profits in disguised non-taxable forms). Read More
My friend Bill Nemeth from Georgia informed me this morning of the IRS’ new application roll out that allows any individual taxpayer to view, print or download their own transcripts on-line in Real-Time using a computer or Smartphone. You simply go to www.IRS.gov and enter GET TRANSCRIPT in the site search bar, or go here http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript#!
This is a giant leap forward for those of us working with the IRS. Once in their system a user creates a user profile by identifying himself (SSN and DOB) and answering a number of security questions (standard public database questions like what what year did you purchase your home, how much did you pay for your home, etc). Read More
Depreciation is one of the standards of tax preparation that every tax professional must have a firm grip on to do right by their client. In order to understand depreciation you must first understand basis. Over the next several posts in this series we will review basis and depreciation, discuss the relationships of them to each other, and review old, new and expiring depreciation provisions.
Basis is generally defined as the taxpayer’s investment in the asset and depreciation is defined as the allocation of an asset’s cost over a period of time that is in line with the useful life of the asset. This allows the recovery of normal wear and tear on an asset throughout it’s useful life. Read More
As a general proposition, when a United States person makes a transfer of property to a foreign corporation to which Sections 354, 356, and 361 of the Internal Revenue Code, hereinafter the Code, would be applicable the transferee foreign corporation is not considered a corporation for statutory purposes. (1) It is this general rule that provides domestic corporations’ nonrecognition treatment by virtue of Section 354, 356, and 361 of the Code and requires a foreign corporation to recognize gain when it would otherwise be accorded a tax-free reorganization.
Reorganizations are only those transactions constructed in Section 368 of the Code. (2) It is Read More
ABS Ltd. Case Study Report Generated after the Tax Risk Management Strategy Workshop
ABS LTD. HAS exposure on tax in numerous areas. Tax issues have been identified as significant with an estimated worst-case exposure in excess of $300m (determined after assessing and quantifying the tax risk in the areas set out below) and if not speedily rectified will have both financial and reputational implications for ABS Ltd.
It is clear that the following key tax risk areas exist: Read More
Recently, the OECD ramped up its conflict with tax havens by issuing a report titled, Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Sharing. Obviously, the purpose of this report is to provide a set of options that OECD countries can enact to counter the negative impact of tax base erosion, or the shifting of tax revenue away from developed/higher tax countries to lower tax/tax havens. But before I get to the report, a bit of background is necessary to provide some context to the conflict.
First, how did tax havens develop? As I noted in a post I wrote on my economic blog about the Cyprus situation:
Let us start with the fact that the 2009 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative had deadlines but the new Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) does not. This new program will be available until further notice to taxpayers who wish to come forward and disclose their foreign bank assets.
What Does the OVDP do? This program seeks to bring taxpayers who had undisclosed foreign bank accounts or undisclosed foreign entities for the purpose of evading or avoiding tax into compliance with the laws of the United States.
This program is a counter-part of the Criminal Investigation’s Voluntary Disclosure Practice. It Read More
Many Americans living and working overseas are involved in charitable causes. The question often arises whether US expats living abroad can obtain the tax benefit for a charitable contribution deduction? The answer depends on various factors, including those discussed below.
Where is the Charity Organized or Created?
The mere fact that a United States taxpayer is living abroad will not prevent the taking of a charitable deduction on the tax return. The more critical consideration involves where the charity is created to which he is making the contribution. Under the US tax laws governing charitable deductions, the organization must be “created or organized in the United States or Read More
We previously posted “FATCA: Updates for Hong Kong, Philippines, New Zealand and Singapore” where we discussed FATCA Updates for Asia and Singapore’s media release last May 14th, where it indicated its intent to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the United States.
The United States is coming close to sealing a Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) deal with Singapore following a meeting with the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The bilateral discussions for the inter-governmental agreement are reported to be moving forward smoothly.
The deal would help to clamp down on US citizens avoiding tax through keeping finances in Read More