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Boston Tax Law Blog

Innocent spouse relief: the role of proven tax counsel

A recent media story focusing upon instances where a divorced party might summarily receive a nasty surprise from the Internal Revenue Service owing to actions taken by an ex-spouse during marriage likely solicits instant empathy and understanding from most tax attorneys.

Following is a hypothetical scenario (yet certainly a matter that often plays out similarly in real life) described in the above-cited article. One spouse -- who routinely handled all the financial matters during a marriage that subsequently failed -- fudged a couple's tax returns by engaging in so-called "financial infidelity." That spouse's partner -- oblivious to any wrongdoing -- dutifully co-signed the joint tax return.

Communicating with the IRS: the important role of letters

Letters are a remarkably durable form of communication, with roots dating back into the ancient world. They were a medium of exchange that flourished for centuries, from the epistles of the New Testament to the love letters of the Romantic era and beyond.

But the increase in electronic options for connecting with others has greatly affected the use of letters for many of us. Phone calls, e-mail, social media - all seem much more immediate than an old-fashioned letter.

What if a levy on your bank account creates undue hardship?

If you have financial problems, tax debt is a double whammy. Difficulty in paying that debt is one problem. But things could get even worse if the IRS were to garnish your wages or levy against your bank account.

Is the IRS allowed to do this? In this post, we will address that question.

Keeping records of business expenses for deduction purposes

One of our recurring themes in this blog is the importance of record keeping for tax compliance.

After all, the quality of your records - or lack thereof - can be crucial in many different types of tax controversies. In this post, we will provide a reminder of why these records are so important.

Not getting your tax refund? Consider your options

A tax refund is your money, not the government's. But sometimes the government does not give the money back the way it should.

When that happens, you don't have to wait passively for a response. In this post, we will explain how you can take action to get the refund you have coming to you.

The IRS’s list of tax scams to avoid during year's filing season

Tax season is one of the most stressful times of the year for many Massachusetts residents. In order to make filing taxes a lot easier, many people turn to tax professional for help. However, one way to make tax season even more stressful is by falling for a scam.

Scams are in full force this time of year as criminals try to steal the personal information and tax refunds of unsuspecting taxpayers. The IRS recently released its annual list of the ‘dirty dozen’ tax scams to watch for this year, including:

Cancelled debt on a home mortgage, part 1: Is it taxable income?

Technically, when some or all of your mortgage debt is cancelled in a foreclosure or short sale, the amount of cancelled debt is supposed to count as income.

But is this really how the IRS expects you to handle things, when you have a debt cancellation on your home mortgage? In this two-part post, we will answer that question.

Third-party payroll services: outsourcing and tax liability

As the owner or operator of a small business, you face multiple pressures. Marketing your product or service effectively, driving revenue growth and managing employees are only some of the many demands on your time and attention.

Given these demands, it makes sense for many businesses to use a third-party provider to handle payroll services and tax compliance tasks. In this post, we will discuss some of the considerations to keep in mind in using such providers.

What reports must be filed for foreign assets and income?

Last week we concluded a two-part overview on the taxation of foreign accounts and income. In this follow-up post, we will get even more specific about reporting requirements.

But what is it that you may actually have to file? In this post, we want to remind you of the multiple reporting requirements that apply to offshore income and assets.

Offshore update, part 2: Can Uncle Sam tax foreign earnings?

In the first part of this post, we sketched the evolving compliance landscape for offshore accounts and income. With the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) taking effect, U.S. account holders with foreign assets find themselves under more scrutiny than ever before.

In this part of the post, let's look at an aspect of offshore compliance that is often overlooked: the foreign earned income exclusion.

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