TaxConnections


 

Tag Archive for taxpayers

TAS Study Finds Informing Taxpayers Can Help Avert Future Noncompliance

Nina Olson, Tax Advocate

Taxpayers can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in more than one tax year, so using the audit as an opportunity to educate them about the requirements for claiming EITC is of particular benefit to them and to the IRS. If a taxpayer claims the credit in error but understands why there was an error, he or she can not only become compliant for the year of any audit, but remain compliant going forward. However, audits are expensive for both the IRS and taxpayers, and are intrusive and intimidating for the taxpayer. There are many EITC returns the IRS does not audit but identifies as containing an error. Thus, while the IRS may not have the resources to audit these taxpayers, through other cost-effective approaches, it can educate them about why they appear to have erroneously claimed EITC, and avert future noncompliance.

Read more

IRS Ransomware Scam – Keep Taxpayers Safe

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an urgent warning about a new scheme targeting taxpayers. The scheme, which IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called “a new twist on an old scheme” involves a bogus email which impersonates the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.

The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI. The email urges recipients to click on a link to download a questionnaire allegedly from the FBI. The email implies that the questionnaire is required as part of changes in the law focused on tax compliance. The regs referenced in the email are bogus, and the link doesn’t click through to a questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads ransomware. Read more

Study Finds Taxpayers Enter IAs They Cannot Afford

In this and next week’s blog, I will discuss my recent Most Serious Problem on Installment Agreements (IAs) and the corresponding Research Study that was published in my 2016 Annual Report to Congress. Today I will focus my concerns on IAs and discuss the results of the study; in next week’s posting, I’ll review the recommendations my office made to address the problems identified in the study and the IRS’s response to our recommendations. Read more

New Passport Program: How Lack Of Notice Harms Taxpayers

In my first blog on passport issues, I discussed the importance of providing notice to taxpayers prior to certifying their seriously delinquent tax debts to the Department of State (DOS). Once the IRS makes the certification, the DOS must deny the person’s passport application and it may revoke their passport, except in certain emergency and humanitarian situations. Under the IRS’s current policy, the only direct notice prior to the certification is through language buried in the middle of the CDP notice, which was not included at all for taxpayers who received their CDP notices prior to January 2017. This policy impairs due process rights and the taxpayer’s right to be informed and right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard. Read more

Private Debt Collection: Recent Debts (Part 3 of 3)

In an earlier blog I discussed my concern about how the IRS’s private debt collection (PDC) program affects taxpayers who are likely experiencing economic hardship. In this blog, I want to share my concern that the IRS is not making good business decisions as it implements the PDC initiative.

Since 2004, Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 6306 has authorized the IRS to outsource tax debts to private collection agencies (PCAs).

Read more

Private Debt Collection: Hardship (Part 2 of 3)

I have always had concerns about outsourcing tax debts to private collection agencies (PCAs). First, I believe tax collection is an “inherently governmental function” within the meaning of section five of the 1998 FEAR Act that should be performed only by federal employees. Second, as a TAS study of the last private debt collection (PDC) initiative showed, the IRS is more efficient at collecting tax debt than PCAs are. Now that Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 6306(c) requires the IRS to outsource some tax debt, my job is to ensure that its PDC program operates in accordance with the law and respects taxpayers’ rights. Read more

Denying Taxpayers’ Right To Switch From OVDP To Streamlined

Previously, we discussed that three taxpayers seeking to switch over to the IRS’ new “streamlined” compliance program for unreported offshore income argued to a D.C. Circuit panel that their lawsuit is not foreclosed by the Anti-Injunction Act’s bar on pre-enforcement tax challenges, attacking the government’s key defense in the case. The case is Maze et al. v. Internal Revenue Service et al., case number 16-5265, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Read more

Helping Taxpayers Overcome The Fear Of Filing

Every American who files and pays federal taxes rarely thinks about taxes this time of year. They are typically enjoying the pleasures of summer. However, there are those who have failed to file. If you are among that group, you know that you never have a moment’s rest. The thought is always gnawing away in the back of your mind. Read more

Offshore Insurance Wrapper Holding Your Foreign Wealth?

When asked “With the success of the Swiss Bank Program, have there been plans to announce a similar initiative?” Former DOJ Tax Head Caroline Ciraolo responded by saying that when she left the DOJ earlier this year, the department wasn’t planning to announce another offshore program. “A part of the reason was because of the Success of the Swiss Bank Program,” she said. Read more

What To Do When You Receive An IRS Notice?

Ron Marini

The IRS sends many, many, many, letters and correspondence before they levy or garnished any taxpayer’s wages, bank accounts, or other assets. Many taxpayers take the ostrich approach and ignore the problem, in hopes that it will go away.

If you’re facing an IRS Problem, appropriate action can go a long way towards resolving it! Read more

Nine Tax Code “Head Scratchers”

John Stancil

Having survived tax season for one more year, I was struck by how complex our tax code really is. I’ve been preparing taxes for over 40 years, yet I ran into several provisions that I had not previously encountered. I am fully aware that there is much wrong with the code, that there are some major overhauls needed. In the midst of all this complexity, it struck me that there are provisions in the code which are not big deals, but are head scratchers. Why are these things in the code? Eliminating them can go a long way toward helping the middle-class taxpayer.

Read more

Italy’s New Flat Tax For First-Time Residents

Marco Rossi

With the Budget Law for fiscal year 2017, Italy enacted a new flat tax for Italian first-time residents. The flat tax amounts to euro 100,000 regardless of the amount of taxable income. Foreign source income is completely exempt from tax, while domestic source income is taxed under the normal rules (graduated tax rates on income brackets generally applying to all resident taxpayers).

Read more

TaxConnections