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February 2013 Archives

IRS regulation of tax preparers: an update

It's been over a month now since a federal judge ruled that the IRS had exceeded its statutory authority in its proposed new regulatory framework for professional tax preparers. As we discussed in our January 30 post, California's state-level regulation of preparers remains in place despite the ruling.

IRS warns against scammers who use the IRS name

It's bad enough being contacted by the IRS about a potential audit or an ongoing investigation. But in some ways it's even worse when scammers and various bad online actors send bogus e-mails purporting to be from the IRS. These scammers attempt to use the IRS name - or even its logo - to trick people into revealing personal information.

California small business owners face end of partial capital gains exclusion

The word "taxes" is a very general one. In practice, there are many different types of taxes. In part, this is because there are so many levels of government: not only federal, but also state and local. It therefore isn't only the decisions of the IRS that can loom large over taxpayers. In California, the decisions of the Franchise Tax Board can do so as well.

IRS whistleblower program is under scrutiny

The term "whistleblower" provides an excellent example of the difference between literal and figurative language. Someone who exposes suspected wrongdoing, perhaps because of financial incentives, rarely blows a literal whistle. But the impact of figurative whistleblowers looms large in many different arenas.

Subpoenas, self-incrimination and financial account records

How far can federal authorities go in seeking to compel American taxpayers to produce records concerning their foreign accounts? To be sure, there is no definitive answer to that question. But as the U.S. government continues its recent efforts to enforce offshore account compliance, it is important to become informed about the basic principles involved.

California initiates program to investigate child care tax credit

Estimates of the average cost to raise a child are an exercise in sticker shock. U.S. government figures from the Department of Agriculture conservatively put the number in six figures for expenses such as food and clothing up to age 17. And the cost of day care and other dependent care expenses only add to parents' considerable financial responsibilities.