If you're still getting your tax return ready to file, you've got plenty of company. Millions of taxpayers around the country wait until the last minute to file. On April 18 alone (the last day to file in 48 states), the IRS expects the number of returns that come in to be more than 5 million.
At the end of 2015, Congress passed a law that eliminated the need for end-of-the-year brinkmanship over tax extenders. The Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act did not contain much that was new, but it did offer clarity and more certainty.
With no funding increase since 2000, the Internal Revenue Service has lost approximately a quarter of its enforcement officers. Fewer staff has tended to correlate with reductions in collections. This was the case last year as collections dropped to $52.4 billion from $57 billion the prior year.
The Internal Revenue Service started accepting e-filed returns last Tuesday. Yet employers and businesses have until February 1, 2016 to send the tax forms required to complete a return.
This week the IRS announced the dates for the upcoming tax filing season. Federal tax returns for 2015 will be accepted beginning on January 19, 2016.
In the first part of this post, we noted that the IRS uses a computer program that tries to detect the underreporting of income. The Automated Underreporter Program (AUR) seeks to identify discrepancies between the income you have reported on your tax return and income reflected in reports from third parties such as banks and employers.
There are many worst case scenarios that one could imagine when it comes to taxes and the IRS. The federal agency could file a lien against you; you may owe the IRS a lot of money as a result of back taxes or crimes; or you could be audited by the IRS.
It's been awhile since we last discussed the rights that taxpayers have to challenge the IRS through appeals.
Let's pick up the thread of our discussion of civil forfeiture from last month. In recent years, the IRS and other government agencies have often been quick to seize assets for suspected violations of the Bank Secrecy Act or other laws - even in cases where no criminal charges are ever filed. We discussed this problem in our May 8 post.
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.