Extending the Filing Date of Your Income Tax Return When You Are in an IRS Installment Agreement.

When a taxpayer agrees to pay the IRS through a monthly Installment Agreement, the terms of the agreement require that the taxpayer (1) timely file all required federal tax returns and (2) timely pay all federal tax obligations for the entire duration of the Installment Agreement.  This is known as being “in compliance.”  If a taxpayer is not in compliance with all required filing and payment obligations, the IRS can (and will) terminate the Installment Agreement. This sounds simple, but …

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Getting Relief From the IRS as an Innocent Spouse

A common problem we see is where the IRS is pursuing one spouse for taxes attributable to his or her spouse, or ex-spouse. These are particularly difficult in divorce situations since not only are many divorces sufficiently traumatic in and of themselves but adding the IRS to the mix makes it explosive. It is possible, under the right circumstances, for the innocent spouse to be relieved of IRS tax liabilities. First, relief is only available for income taxes; employment taxes …

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IRS to End Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

On March 13, 2018, Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter announced September 28, 2018 will be the end of the IRS’s popular Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), saying “Taxpayers have had several years to come into compliance with U.S. tax laws under this program . . . .  All along, we have been clear that we would close the program at the appropriate time, and we have reached that point.” Originally offered in 2009, the OVDP allowed Taxpayers with previously undisclosed …

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Should I Be Doing Any Special Year-End Tax Planning In Light of the Proposed Tax Legislation?

Year-end tax planning with clients has been a staple in CPA practices for nearly as long as the tax code has been in effect.  With all the discussion of the proposed tax bills, in all their iterations and negotiations, and the seemingly endless crystal ball commentary on their effects, many have questioned whether they should be doing anything special this year, anticipating a significant change in current law. Two significant disclaimers: first, tax planning is by its very nature highly …

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Mandatory Retirement Account Distributions

You faithfully make your annual contributions to your IRA or 401(k) accounts.  You’ve been doing this for years, maybe decades.  Can you keep your retirement funds in your account indefinitely?  Of course not.  You generally have to start taking withdrawals from your IRA, Simple IRA, SEP IRA, or other retirement plan account when you reach age 70 ½.  The following is an overview of the requirements. The IRS requires all traditional IRA owners to withdraw at least a minimum amount …

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How Will an IRS Lien Affect Me?

If you have an outstanding balance due the IRS that remains unpaid after the IRS gives notice and demands payment, then a federal tax lien automatically arises.  The lien applies to all real and personal property of a taxpayer, including any after-acquired property. To protect its interest in a taxpayer’s property against other creditors, the IRS may file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (“NFTL”)—this is generally filed with the Secretary of State and the County where any real property …

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Deadline To Make Late Portability Election Fast Approaching. Don’t Miss Out On this Estate Planning Opportunity—Act Before January 2, 2018.

A “Portability” election allows a spouse to use their deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption by transferring the unused portion to their own estate plan. This will save death taxes from the estate when they later pass.  To utilize this benefit, a timely election is required to be made.  Taxpayers (and trustees, executors and PRs) who failed to meet the deadline for making the election now have a limited opportunity to fix the problem.  If you have a large estate …

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If You Owe Money To The IRS, Your Credit Score May Be Going Up!

For years, the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) have been including tax liens and civil judgments on credit reports—which obviously have had negative implications on credit scores.  But recent efforts by consumer advocacy groups, citing numerous errors resulting from this practice, finally convinced these agencies to stop doing so. As of July 1, 2017, these agencies started enforcing stricter rules on the public records they collect and report, now only reporting public records containing the person’s …

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Why Today’s Families Need Modern, Protective Estate Planning

Blended families have become normal, with second and subsequent marriages often making up the modern American family.  They may have children from a prior marriage and children together.  Estate planning complications for these families can result in inheritance errors.   This can harm family relationships, and, in a worst-case scenario, end in costly litigation that can, and should, be avoided with careful planning up front. If you are bringing both assets and children into a new marriage, you may want some, …

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How Long Can the I.R.S. Audit and Collect From Me?

There are two phases to a tax case: the first part is when the IRS conducts an examination to determine how much you owe (“examination”) and the second part is when the IRS tries to collect from you (“collection”).  Of course, if you filed your tax return and did not pay all that was shown as due, the IRS will seek to collect the balance even if there was no examination. How long to examine? The general rule is the …

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