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Articles Tagged with tax lawyer

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, the IRS has provided relief to taxpayers by extending filing and other deadlines. Now, in an internal memorandum from Fred Schindler the Director of Headquarters Collection (SBSE), the IRS continues to provide relief to taxpayers with tax debt by suspending most tax collection activities. These changes mirror the previous relief provided by the IRS, and restates the relief contained in the People First Initiative.  Our tax litigation attorneys are advising our clients that they can expect enforced tax collection activities to be suspended unless there is an exigent circumstance including the loss of the opportunity for the government to collect taxes due. The expiration of the statute of limitations is one example.

The importance of the memo is that while it mostly repeats and fleshes out the People First Initiative, it is a direct “order” from the head of SBSE Collection to all Collection Executives. The People First Initiative is a bit more nebulous in terms of its actual impact on the activities of rank and file employees.  The collection activities outlined in the memo include most activities related to the collection process such as meeting with taxpayers, filing new Notices of Federal Tax Liens (NFTL), issuing levies, taking or scheduling seizures actions, and pursuing civil suit proceedings. Automated tax levy programs are also suspended. The memorandum also directs Collections not to default installment agreements for missed payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 (the suspension period).  Due to the ongoing and ever changing nature of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, the IRS may extend the suspension period and the incorporated relief provisions further.

It is important for taxpayers and their advisors to remember that even though collection enforcement activity will be rare from now through July 15th, once the suspension period ends the IRS may begin filing liens and levies with a vengeance. Our tax lawyers are therefore recommending to our clients that, to the extent practicable, they position themselves to take appropriate action to forestall collection after the suspension period ends. This includes submitting offers in compromise, and requesting installment agreements now.

How to Fight Tax Fraud Penalties
Tax fraud occurs when an individual’s conduct goes beyond negligence and becomes intentional or willful wrongdoing. It has been described as an intentional violation of a known legal duty.

If you want to fight tax fraud penalties, you will have to convince the IRS that they have insufficient evidence to prove that your acts were willful. You may be able to fight the charges against you, or negotiate the amount of penalties owed, but you must consult with a criminal tax attorney before saying anything to the IRS.

Badges of Tax Fraud

Do I Qualify For Innocent Spouse Relief
There are three different types of innocent spouse relief. The IRS offers these defenses to taxpayers who want relief from the joint and several liability that is imposed on married taxpayers who file joint returns.

Traditional Innocent Spouse Relief

To qualify for traditional innocent spouse relief, you must meet all of the following conditions:

How to Negotiate an Installment Plan With The IRS
An IRS installment plan is an agreement to pay your tax debt back over time in monthly payments. When you owe a tax debt to the IRS, they have a number of ways of collecting from you, including levying your bank account or wages, seizing your state tax refund, or seizing your home and selling it at an auction. An installment agreement is one strategy that can be used to halt these collection activities.

Before you consider negotiating an installment plan, you should be aware that there are other options that may be able to reduce your tax debt. If you are unable to pay back your tax debt, you may qualify for an Offer in Compromise. You may also consider using a tax bankruptcy, obtaining innocent spouse relief, or disputing the amounts you owe to the IRS.

All of these strategies can be used to effectively wipe out some or all of your tax debt, and they can also be combined with installment agreements in some cases. Consult with a tax attorney before you commit to a monthly payment plan with the IRS.

With What IRS Penalties and Charges Can Tax Preparers Be Charged
The IRS can go after professional tax preparers with many different penalties related to filing inaccurate or fraudulent tax returns. Targeting tax preparers allows the IRS to affect a large number of tax returns because each tax preparer can be responsible for completing tax returns for hundreds of taxpayers.

Some of the penalties related to understatement of tax that the IRS can charge tax preparers with include:

IRC § 6694(a) – Understatement due to unreasonable positions.  The penalty is the greater of $1,000 or 50% of the income derived by the tax return preparer with respect to the return or claim for refund.

Can You Request the IRS Waive Penalties Based on Medical Hardship
The IRS may offer penalty relief for taxpayers who can show a reasonable cause for failing to file tax returns or pay taxes. IRS penalties can be waived in certain cases, but the IRS will examine all of the facts and circumstances to determine if a reasonable cause exists in your particular case.

A typical situation that the IRS will consider a sound reason for failing to file or pay taxes is death, serious illness, incapacitation, or unavoidable absence of the taxpayer or a member of the taxpayer’s immediate family. If you owe a substantial amount of IRS penalties, you may want to consult with a tax attorney.

Facts Need to Establish Reasonable Cause Due to Medical Hardship

The Value of Attorney Client Privilege with Your Tax Lawyer
Attorney client privilege is a concept from the law of evidence that protects communications made between a client and his or her attorney. A client can claim this privilege to prevent the attorney from being forced to testify or produce evidence that is protected under this rule. This encourages the client to be forthcoming with all the information the attorney needs to represent the client’s interests.

Communications with accountants and tax preparers may also be privileged, but these privileges are much more limited than the attorney client privilege. There are situations where accountants and tax preparers can be forced to testify as a witness against their own clients.

Attorney Client Privilege Offers the Most Protection

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