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.
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.
For most people, their paychecks from work are their financial lifeblood. Receiving such wages is often an essential part of a person's ability to meet the various expenses they incur as a part of everyday life. Thus, one could imagine how alarming a person would find it if the amount of their wages that actually went to them suddenly dropped significantly. This situation is one that individuals who have a federal tax debt may find themselves in.
In the first part of this post, we began discussing the importance for millions of taxpayers of choosing the right tax preparer. As we noted, a very basic place to start is with making sure that the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
The IRS will begin accepting tax returns for the new filing season on January 20, one week from today. It's a time of year when taxpayers across the country are considering what resources they need to comply with a federal tax code that has become notorious for its complexity.
With less than two months left in the year, the coming of another tax season is already on the horizon. It's a time to take actions that may be necessary in order to avoid unpleasant encounters with the IRS down the road.
One of the most fundamental aspects of tax planning for many people is maximizing the tax-shielding features of their retirement savings. This includes pensions, 401(k)s and individual retirement arrangements (IRAs).
While many federal workers in Massachusetts and elsewhere were furloughed in the beginning of October as a result of the federal government shutdown, many federal law enforcement agents were working to crack an alleged tax fraud scheme centered in South Florida. As a result of the investigation, 45 individuals are facing charges for various tax crimes in 30 different cases.
Massachusetts residents who possess offshore accounts would do well to follow an ongoing case in which a U.S. District Court judge most recently instructed five unidentified individuals to reveal confidential information about their finances. The judge ordered these taxpayers to divulge information about their foreign bank accounts to a grand jury to potentially use in a federal case against them.While some may argue that the judge had no authority to deprive individuals of their right to avoid self-incrimination, the judge said that individuals do not have the right to refuse disclosure of their bank records to the grand jury. The judge also argued that taxpayers cannot avoid being accountable because they used offshore accounts to try to hide assets. District courts in three other jurisdictions have also ruled that information related to a foreign bank account is not protected by the assertion of a Fifth Amendment right against self-discrimination. Furthermore, these courts have held that information pertaining to foreign bank accounts is governed by the federal government's "Required Records Doctrine."