How to Resolve a Payroll Tax Dispute
Payroll tax disputes often arise when a worker is paid as an independent contractor, but the IRS or California Employment Development Department (EDD) believes that the worker is an employee. There are some differences between federal and state requirements, but a business will often have to deal with both the IRS and EDD when a worker misclassification problem arises.

The 20-Factor Test

Many employers believe that as long as they have a contract stating that a worker is an independent contractor, they are covered. This is not true. A worker is legally classified as an employee or independent contractor based on the circumstances of the employment relationship.

The California Franchise Tax Board’s Financial Hardship Programs
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) encourages taxpayers facing a financial hardship to work with the FTB to find a way to pay off their tax debt. The FTB can give California taxpayers more time to pay, or settle tax debt for less than the full amount in some cases. Each method of solving your California income tax problems has its own requirements and benefits, so ask a California tax attorney which program can help with your situation.

Delay Collection Activities Due to Financial Hardship

The FTB will delay collection activities for taxpayers that are facing financial hardship. This is similar to being put into currently not collectible status by the IRS. The FTB does not advertise this option much, because it does not bring them any closer to collecting money from you to pay off your California tax debt.

What Are the Penalties for Failure to File a Tax Return?
If you owe tax and fail to file a return on time, the IRS can assess both civil and criminal tax penalties. The penalty for failure to file is separate from the penalty for failure to pay taxes, and both civil and criminal penalties can be assessed for the same return.

Penalty for File to File a Tax Return

The penalty for failure to file is 5 percent of the tax owed per month. Contrast that with the failure to pay penalty of only half a percent per month, and you can see why it is a good idea to file your return on time, even if you cannot pay your tax.

The IRS Classification Settlement Program Can Reduce Your Tax Debt
The IRS Classification Settlement Program (CSP) is designed to allow businesses to settle a tax debt owed due misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Along with safe harbor relief under Section 530, the CSP can be an effective tool for businesses involved in payroll tax disputes.

The Costs of Misclassifying Employees

Many businesses would like to treat their workers as employees, but the status of the employment relationship is not determined solely based on the employer’s classification of the worker. Rather, the facts and circumstances of the employment arrangement will determine whether the worker is an employee of independent contractor. In particular, courts will look at the behavior control, financial control, and relationship of the parties when classifying a worker.

Do I Have to File an FBAR If I'm Not a U.S. Citizen?
The Bank Secrecy Act may require you to file a FinCEN 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), even if you are not a U.S. Citizen. The FBAR must be filed annually by all “United States Persons”, which includes U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, and certain entities. The FBAR must be filed if your total interest in foreign accounts exceeds $10,000 at any point during the calendar year.

FBAR Filing Requirements for Non-Citizens

The IRS has its own rules for determining if you are a resident for tax purposes. If you meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test, the IRS considers you a resident, and you must comply with all tax filing requirements, including filing an FBAR.

What Can Cause an Investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility
The IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) regulates tax practitioners, including tax lawyers, CPAs, and enrolled agents. OPR has exclusive responsibility for practitioner conduct and sanctions.

Causes of an OPR Investigation

OPR usually does not initiate its own investigations. Cases are referred to OPR when certain tax preparer penalties have been assessed. This makes it critical that tax preparers know how to defend themselves if they are being assessed a tax preparer penalty, because it can result in an OPR referral, which could eventually led to a suspension of practice before the IRS or other serious penalties.

What Is an Abusive Tax Shelter
An abusive tax shelter is an investment scheme that attempts to reduce income tax without serving any other economic purpose. The value of income or assets is not changed, so the sole purpose of an abusive tax shelter is to avoid tax.

The IRS attempts to deter participations in abusive tax shelters through tax audits, summons enforcement, litigation and other methods. There is also an abusive tax shelter hotline, where anyone can anonymously provide information about abusive tax shelter transactions.

Analyzing an Abusive Tax Shelter