Tax Litigation Law Office of Scott Kauffman
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September 2010 Archives

Tax Cut Issue: Who Counts as "Rich?"

Congress is debating whether to extend the tax cuts from the Bush years. There is the issue of whether an extension would help or hurt the economy, but at an even more basic level, there is debate about the basic fairness of tax rates. Orange County tax lawyers who are looking at tax rates with clients can see the issue clearly: is it fair for a person who earns more than $200,000 a year to be taxed at rates similar to people who make, say, $5 million?

Many Swiss Banks Moving Into Asia to Preserve Secrecy

Swiss bank accounts have offered the appeal of secrecy for hundreds of years. Some wealthy American depositors have taken advantage of this secrecy to hide assets and evade taxes. Others use the offshore accounts in ways that do not run as much risk of the IRS's displeasure.

IRS Studying Payroll Tax Compliance, Audits to Follow

The Internal Revenue Service estimates that the gap between payroll taxes owed and payroll taxes actually paid is over $200 billion annually. Orange County tax attorneys know that as a result, the IRS has begun a National Research Project (NRP) to collect data that will allow them to understand what people are doing that, intentionally or unintentionally, results in underpayment of payroll taxes.

UBS Offshore Bank Account Holder Gets 1-Year Sentence

Former UBS AG client Federico Hernandez received a prison sentence from U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin on Friday. Hernandez was sentenced to one year in prison, followed by six months of home confinement, after he admitted hiding nearly $8.8 million from the IRS in offshore bank accounts.

Important Tax Fraud Trial Affecting Offshore Accounts Begins

Trial began recently in the case of two hotel developers who are accused by the IRS of hiding more than $150 million in offshore bank accounts. Mauricio Cohen Assor, 77, and his son, Leon Cohen Levy, 46, are accused of conspiring to defraud the IRS and filing false tax returns. This will be the first big Swiss bank account secrecy case that has gone to trial since the IRS obtained information on American account holders at the Swiss bank UBS. Orange County tax fraud attorneys are watching the trial closely.

How Can You Get "Innocent Spouse Relief" from Tax Liability?

More and more inquiries are made to Orange County tax attorneys all the time about innocent spouse relief. Many married taxpayers choose to file a joint tax return because of the benefits of filing jointly. However, both spouses have "joint and several" liability for the taxes and for any interest or penalties on the tax, even if they do not stay married. This means that each spouse is legally responsible for the entire liability. Even if a divorce decree spells out which former spouse will pay any money due on past tax returns, strictly speaking the IRS is not bound by the decree.

Got an IRS Notice? Here's What To Do:

Every year, the IRS sends out millions of notices to taxpayers, and quite a few of them generate questions for Orange County tax attorneys. But getting a letter or notice from the IRS does not necessarily mean you have something to worry about. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you receive one of these notices: