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January 2012 Archives

Seeking guidance: confusion arises out of OVDI programs

In our last post we discussed new concerns being raised by Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, regarding the IRS' administration of the offshore disclosure initiatives. Olson says that she is concerned that taxpayers who unintentionally failed to disclose assets are being disproportionately punished while criminal tax evaders are receiving slaps on the wrist.

Nina Olson takes on the offshore bank account disclosure initiative

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson says that criminal tax evaders are receiving a sweetheart deal from the IRS through its voluntary offshore bank account disclosure initiative. Although those who are intentionally hiding assets can come forward and pay a set penalty to avoid criminal prosecution, the system is often unfair to California taxpayers who unknowingly shielded assets from taxation, Olson says.

How to avoid tax scams from cyber criminals

Being contacted by the IRS is a scary thing especially if you have done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, many taxpayers feel harassed by the IRS every year because they have fallen victim to identity theft. Identity theft is increasingly being used to file fraudulent returns which can result in an audit when a taxpayer files his or her legitimate return. It is important to have an experienced California tax attorney on your side to help you deal with the IRS and restore your good standing with the government.

The thin line between business expenses and hobby losses

Last week we discussed the fact that sometimes business expenses are characterized as hobby losses by the IRS. The line between business expenses and hobby losses is sometimes thin, especially in the context of new businesses.

IRS reopens Voluntary Disclosure Program for offshore accounts

The IRS has reopened the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) for offshore bank account holders. This is a significant opportunity for California taxpayers with hidden overseas accounts to disclose these accounts to the IRS and avoid the possible criminal tax evasion penalties that are typically associated with offshore accounts.

Upstart California business expenses may be hobby losses

This is the year that many Orange County residents will follow their passions and start their own businesses. The current economic climate has shown many Californians that being an employee of someone else is not as risk-free as it once was, which is why increasing amounts of Californians are going into business for themselves while still employed. Normally, businesses can deduct expenses but the deduction of business expenses may not be as straightforward for many upstart businesses.

IRS harassment prompts teacher to sue

In our last post we discussed the importance of calling an Orange County tax attorney if you are contacted by the IRS. We also began discussing the tax issues that one teacher faced after someone stole his identity and filed a false return for a refund. The identity theft prompted the IRS to send the teacher audit letters and the IRS continued to harass the teacher even after he filed an affidavit of identity theft.

Teacher says he feels victimized by the IRS

Dealing with the IRS can be a frustrating experience. Save yourself a headache by contacting an experienced Orange County tax attorney if you are sent a letter or given a call by the IRS. Remember, there is no harmless contact by the IRS even if you have done nothing wrong.