Citizens in the city of Fall River, Massachusetts, got something a little different in their property tax bill last month. Along with a statement for their quarterly property tax bill, they also received an affidavit that they had to sign and return to the state department of revenue confirming their address and ownership of the property.
The state of Massachusetts returns an estimated $26 billion in tax breaks each year. That means, the state could have an additional $26 billion in the coffers if it changed its various tax incentives and exemptions for businesses. A panel convened last year by Gov. Patrick and the state legislature called the Tax Expenditure Commission approved the group's final report calling from less tax breaks and a periodic review of our current tax breaks to ensure they are meeting goals.
Massachusetts readers may be interested in the effect of a 2007 incident of tax fraud worth $48 million, which led Washington, D.C., to implement "enhanced control techniques" intended to detect any fraudulent tax-related activity in the future. These measures recently played a part in the discovery of a four-year tax refund scheme enacted by a tax examiner who worked for the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue (DCOTR). The incident resulted in more than $400,000 essentially stolen from taxpayers. The 47-year old woman who was charged recently pled guilty to wire fraud in a Washington, D.C., federal court.
Not even Boston churches are immune from tax collection cases. It has been reported that the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is attempting to recoup past property taxes it already paid on a former church. That church, located in the town of Scituate, was closed in 2004. The tax refund claims in dispute were paid between 2008 and 2011.
The Internal Revenue Service has its hands full conducting investigations into tax evasion. Until recently, any investigation into this area was made harder because many tax evaders would hide their assets overseas. Unless declarations were made of these assets, the Internal Revenue Service would not be able to track them. However, in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service is using a more direct strategy by providing reduced penalties and no jail time for tax evaders to come clean.
For the majority of Americans, tax season brings about a sense of urgency and feelings of stress. Once your tax return is completed, however, it can often feel like a relief. That is, unless a mistake has occurred. Finding a mistake on a tax return may leave you wondering what to do and where to turn next. Through The Wall Street Journal, a Massachusetts expert offered some advice recently on how to avoid a serious situation that could lead to an audit, fines and even charges of tax evasion.
It's hard to overstate the importance of filing a timely and accurate tax return with the IRS, but many low-income individuals and families are often hard-pressed to afford good tax advice. Yet according to the community organization Chelsea Neighborhood Developers (CND), on average, IRS tax refunds represent 9 percent of low-income households' total income for the year.
The Internal Revenue Service do not take infractions of their rules lightly. Even unintentional or minor violations are punishable with heavy fines and a potential jail sentence. Under IRC Section 6050I, any person or business that receives $10,000 or more in a single transaction is required to file Form 8300 within 15 days of receiving the funds. All bank deposits made in the US are monitored, and banks are required to report cash deposits in excess of $10,000 to the IRS. The owner of a recycling business in Somerville has been charged by a federal grand jury in Massachusetts with structuring payments in order to avoid detection by regulators.