Archive for the ‘income tax’ Category
Monday, May 16th, 2011
The IRS has spoken. It has has no current plans to increase the standard mileage rate of 51¢ per mile for business miles driven, despite the big boost in gasoline prices.
Simplified deduction method. The optional mileage allowance for owned or leased autos (including vans, pickups or panel trucks) is 51¢ per mile for business travel after 2010. (The 2011 rate for using a car to get medical care or in connection with a move that qualifies for the moving expense deduction is 19¢ per mile, 2.5¢ more per mile than the 16.5¢ for 2010.) ( Rev Proc 2010-51, 2010-51 IRB 883 )
The mileage allowance deduction replaces separate deductions for lease payments (or depreciation if the car is purchased), maintenance, repairs, tires, gas, oil, insurance, and license and registration fees. The taxpayer may, however, still claim separate deductions for parking fees and tolls connected to business driving. ( Rev Proc 2010-51 )
The standard mileage rate may not be used for a purchased auto if: it was previously depreciated using a method other than straight-line for its estimated useful life; a Code Sec. 179 expensing deduction was claimed for the auto; the taxpayer has claimed the additional first-year depreciation allowance; or the taxpayer depreciated it using MACRS under Code Sec. 168.
A taxpayer who uses the mileage allowance method for an auto he owns may switch in a later year to deducting the business connected portion of actual expenses, so long as he depreciates it from that point on using straight-line depreciation over the auto’s remaining life. The depreciation deductions would still be subject to the Code Sec. 280F dollar caps. ( Rev Proc 2010-51 )
Additionally, employers may reimburse employees who are required to provide their own cars for business use at a rate that doesn’t exceed the standard mileage rate. A mileage rate that doesn’t exceed the standard mileage rate is treated as made under an accountable plan if the mileage is properly substantiated (time, place, mileage, and business purpose).
I handle IRS problems for my clients. If you get a letter from the IRS, and you are worried or have questions, send me an e-mail or, if urgent, call me.
Lowrance Law LLC
Friday, April 15th, 2011
The IRS issued a press release advising taxpayers of payment options when you file your income tax return. The release is IR 2011-42. I have placed it in the blog below. The most important thing for you to know is if you owe taxes but you cannot pay the full amount file your tax return and make a payment. Fill out and attach to your return Form 9465 — Installment Agreement Request. The IRS will contact you to work out a payment plan. Read the information below.
Remember, I am a tax attorney having worked in Office of Chief Counsel, IRS. If you have questions or need help with the IRS, just let me know.
Lowrance Law LLC
IRS reminds taxpayers with a balance due that there are several payment options available [IR 2011-42]: Taxpayers who have a balance due when they file their 2010 federal individual income tax returns have several payment options.
Payments can be made by electronic funds withdrawal, credit or debit card, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or check or money order. According to IRS, some taxpayers who itemize their deductions may be eligible to claim as a miscellaneous itemized deduction the convenience fee charged to pay individual income taxes by credit or debit card.
Along with a check or money order, a taxpayer must include Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher. If a return has already been submitted but additional payment is due, a check or money order should be mailed to IRS with Form 1040-V. “For members of the military and others serving in combat zones, the filing and payment deadline is normally postponed until at least 180 days after the service member leaves the combat zone,” IRS said. “If you are eligible, you get the extra time without having to ask for it,” IRS added.
The agency advises taxpayers with a balance due to pay as much as possible by April 18 to avoid penalties and interest. Those who cannot pay in full have several options to consider. The first is an installment agreement. In most cases, this can be done in several minutes by using the IRS website, the agency said. The second payment option is an Offer in Compromise, which is an agreement between a taxpayer and IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. It is subject to acceptance based on legal requirements. The news release can be viewed on the IRS website.
Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
The IRS just sent out IRS Tax Tip 2011-73. The notice gives you the IRS view of what to do if you receive a letter from the IRS. Read this over and do not panic. If you need assistance with the IRS, please contact me at 703 506 1600. I handle audits, examinations and litigation of IRS matters
Eight Things to Know If You Receive an IRS Notice
the Internal Revenue Service sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers
for a variety of reasons. Here are eight things to know about IRS notices – just
in case one shows up in your mailbox.
Don’t panic. Many of these letters can be dealt with simply and painlessly.
There are a number of reasons why the IRS might send you a notice. Notices may request payment of taxes, notify you of changes to your account, or request additional information. The notice you receive normally covers a very specific issue about your account or tax return.
Each letter and notice offers specific instructions on what you are asked to do to satisfy the inquiry.
If you receive a correction notice, you should review the correspondence and compare it with the information on your return. If you agree with the correction to your account, then usually no reply is necessary unless a payment is due or the notice directs otherwise. If you do not agree with the correction the IRS made, it is important that you respond as requested. You should send a written explanation of why you disagree and include any documents and information you want the IRS to consider, along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Mail the information to the IRS address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.
Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office. However, if you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available when you call to help us respond to your inquiry. It’s important that you keep copies of any correspondence with your records.
For more information about IRS notices and bills, see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. Information about penalties and interest is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals). Both publications are available at the IRS website, www.irs.gov.
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
On March 22, 2011 I gave a lecture for the Fairfax Bar Association (Fairfax Bar) Tax and Family Law Section at the Fairfax County Courthouse on key issues of Divorce Taxation that supplied Continuing Legal Education Credit for all Virginia attorneys present. The event was very well attended. My presentation on divorce taxes, which may seem boring to some, was spiced up with unusual tax court opinions, anecdotes and humorous comments. I did not include a lot of Internal Revenue Code citations, though they did form the basis for my talk. Rather my goal was to explain a complex tax area in a clear, understandable manner.
The attendees left with a fresher, more accurate perspective of how to handle the realities of the divorce process in light of the client’s best tax interest. Topics included: filing status, alimony, child support, retirement benefits, the distribution of property, and other tax topics to include in a property settlement agreement such as household employer taxes, the kiddie tax, child tax exemptions and child tax credits.
Tomorrow I will upload the power point for the tax talk I gave, as well as the written foundation for the talk for your benefit. I am happy to discuss your particular divorce tax situation with you. Feel free to contact me by email, by telephone, or by mail. Please see the contact page on my website for the details.
Lowrance Law LLC
703 506 1600
Disclaimer: No legal opinion here.
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
The IRS is reminding everyone that there are special, limited deductions for state and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase of new cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles. The deduction is available on new vehicles purchased from Feb. 17, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2009. In states that don’t have a sales tax, the law provides a deduction for other taxes or fees paid. This deduction is available whether or not a taxpayer itemizes deductions on Schedule A.
The deduction is limited to the taxes and fees paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of an eligible vehicle. The deduction is reduced for joint filers with modified adjusted gross incomes (MAGI) between $250,000 and $260,000 and other taxpayers with MAGI between $125,000 and $135,000. Taxpayers with higher incomes do not qualify. See IRS information at IRS Announcement
Check the IRS Video on You Tube at http://tinyurl.com/ydg9q69
Lowrance Law LLC
No legal opinion here
Monday, September 21st, 2009
WASHINGTON ─ The Internal Revenue Service today announced a one-time extension of the deadline for special voluntary disclosures by taxpayers with unreported income from hidden offshore accounts. These taxpayers now have until Oct. 15, 2009. See http://tinyurl.com/mv9oub and NY Times http://tinyurl.com/nleozr
Under special provisions issued in March, taxpayers with these hidden accounts originally had until Sept. 23, 2009 to come forward. Those taxpayers who do not voluntarily disclose their hidden accounts by the new deadline face much harsher civil penalties, where applicable, and possible criminal prosecution.
IRS officials decided to extend this deadline after receiving repeated requests from tax practitioners and attorneys around the country following an influx of taxpayer requests. By extending the deadline for a short period of time, the IRS is providing relief for those taxpayers who had intended to come forward prior to the deadline, but faced logistical and administrative challenges in meeting it. The extension will allow tax preparers and attorneys the necessary time to interview and advise their backlog of taxpayers with these hidden accounts, and prepare the necessary paperwork to qualify for the special penalty provisions.
The IRS also announced that there will be no further extensions.
No legal opinion here.
Monday, June 22nd, 2009
The U.S. Treasury Department announced on June 19 (see Treasury Press Releases) that Switzerland will agree to more exchange of financial information for tax enforcement purposes. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the new accord “will increase our ability to enforce our tax laws and will help bring an end to an era of offshore accounts and investments being used for tax evasion.”
Officials said the protocol would revise the existing US-Switzerland income tax treaty to allow for the exchange of information for income tax purposes “to the full extent permitted by Article 26 of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model Income Tax Convention.”
Article 26 of the OECD Model Income Tax Convention is the “exchange of information” clause that most countries use as their “exchange of information” paragraph in International Tax Treaties. The change in the US–Swiss Tax Treaty means that the Switzerland definition of “tax fraud” will not control the information that may be given to the US authorities under the US - Swiss Tax Treaty. In the past, Switzerland would not give information to the US under a tax treaty request unless the information led to “tax fraud” as defined by the Swiss law. “Tax fraud” under Swiss law is very narrow and does not meet the US standard of “tax evasion” that most US tax treaty requests encompass.
Article 26 of the OECD Model Income Tax Convention states:
“The competent authorities of the Contracting States shall exchange such information as is foreseeably relevant for carrying out the provisions of this Convention or to the administration or enforcement of the domestic laws concerning taxes of every kind and description imposed on behalf of the Contracting States, or of their political subdivisions or local authorities, insofar as the taxation thereunder is not contrary to the Convention.”
Now, the question will become, after the US - Swiss change, what if “foreseeably relevant” in the Switzerland’s opinion. This may be a whole new area for litigation in Switzerland and the US for the collection of financial information from Switzerland.
Hey, no tax opinon here.
Monday, May 18th, 2009
Okay. Get ready. The IRS is gearing up and has announced jobs for hundreds of critical jobs nationwide. Most of these jobs are for internal revenue agent positions (look for series number 0512). At least 30 hours of college-level accounting coursework is required for revenue agent jobs.
What does this mean? IRS will hire revenue agents to conduct audits and examinations. There will be more tax enforcement. It takes about a year for the IRS to hire and train a revenue agent before the agents start with tax audits. The future?
Read it all at Here
Thursday, May 7th, 2009
Here are a couple of the FAQs the IRS published yesterday on its web site regarding offshore accounts:
1. Why did the IRS issue internal guidance regarding offshore activities now?
The IRS has had a voluntary disclosure practice in its Criminal Manual for many years. Once IRS Criminal Investigation has determined preliminary acceptance into the voluntary disclosure program, the case is referred to the civil side of IRS for examination and resolution of taxes and penalties. Recent IRS enforcement efforts in the offshore area have led to an increased number of voluntary disclosures. Additional taxpayers are considering making voluntary disclosures but are reportedly reluctant to come forward because of uncertainty about the amount of their liability for potentially onerous civil penalties. In order to resolve these cases in an organized, coordinated manner and to make exposure to civil penalties more predictable, the IRS has decided to centralize the civil processing of offshore voluntary disclosures and to offer a uniform penalty structure for taxpayers who voluntarily come forward. These steps were taken to ensure thattaxpayers are treated consistently and predictably.
3. Why should I make a voluntary disclosure?
Taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts or entities should make a voluntary disclosure because it enables them to become compliant, avoid substantial civil penalties and generally eliminate the risk of criminal prosecution. Making a voluntary disclosure also provides the opportunity to calculate, with a reasonable degree of certainty, the total cost of resolving all offshore tax issues. Taxpayers who do not submit a voluntary disclosure run the risk of detection by the IRS and the imposition of substantial penalties, including the fraud penalty and foreign information return penalties, and an increased risk of criminal prosecution.
Remember the IRS deadline for this voluntary disclosure deal is September 23, 2009.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Hey, this is great. Get some help in buying a new car. IRS announces:
The Internal Revenue Service announced today, IRS Announcement, that taxpayers who buy a new passenger vehicle this year may be entitled to deduct state and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase on their 2009 tax returns next year.
“For those thinking about buying a new car this year, this deduction may give them a little more drive to make their purchase this year,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “This deduction enables taxpayers to buy now and get cash back later on their tax returns.”
The deduction is limited to the state and local sales and excise taxes paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of a qualified new car, light truck, motor home or motorcycle.
The amount of the deduction is phased out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is between $125,000 and $135,000 for individual filers and between $250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers.
IRS also alerted taxpayers that the vehicle must be purchased after Feb. 16, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2010, to qualify for the deduction.
The special deduction is available regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions on their return. The IRS reminded taxpayers the deduction may not be taken on 2008 tax returns.
No legal opinion here.