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Fort Worth Tax Law Blog

IRS to list 84 Certified Professional Employer Organizations

If your business is considering using a Professional Employer Organization this is good news.

A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can lower business expenses related to human resource administration as well as health and unemployment insurance costs by creating a bigger pool of employees.

Court declines nursing home’s request for undue hardship

Are businesses treated as individuals under tax law? Based on previous cases, it would appear the answer to this question is yes. Corporations are responsible for taxes and appear to receive many of the same protections as are present for individuals.

Although this would seem to be an established precedent, a recent case heard by the Tax Court sends a different message.

Will the IRS send notice before taking action on a passport?

The Taxpayer Advocate recently wrote about concerns with the new IRS enforcement program for "seriously delinquent tax debt" that allows for the denial of an passport application or revocation of a passport. The IRS announced that it had started certifying taxpayers to the Department of State in March.

For more background on 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and details of the program, please read our February blog post. Restricting the right to travel to force compliance is not new. It has been used to in the context of unpaid child support for years, but the notice requirements of the IRS program may not be adequate.

Congress repeatedly notifies IRS about digital currency issues

Digital currency, such as Bitcoin, has gained in popularity over recent years. As a result, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is scrambling to update tax rules and regulations to address this new form of currency. The federal agency was recently chastised twice by Congress for its handling of digital transactions. The concerns were voiced in two separate letters, sent within three weeks of each other.

Letter #1: Review these transactions wisely

U.S. government finding new ways to track offshore accounts

The federal government is ramping up its efforts to find and collect taxes on offshore accounts held by American citizens. For years, many people have placed funds in accounts abroad to take advantage of more lenient banking rules and more attractive incentives (like higher rates of return and shielding from discovery). While some have declared these accounts as legitimate assets to state and federal tax authorities, others have neglected to do so.

The reasons for failing to declare accounts are varied, and include:

  • Ignorance of the law (i.e., assuming that money held in a foreign account didn't count as a domestic asset even though the accountholder is a citizen or resident)
  • Hiding assets from a spouse during divorce, or from business partners during a dissolution
  • Shielding corporate assets from liability during litigation
  • Assuming that taxes paid on domestic assets "balanced out" what would be due on the foreign-held accounts

Is that contact from the IRS official or a fraudulent scheme?

Getting a phone call from someone who claims to work for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a stressful event. Unfortunately, a number of less than desirable characters know this and will attempt to take advantage of the stressful situation and gather personal information that could be used in a fraudulent scheme.

This fact puts those who receive calls or mailings from those who claim to be with the IRS in a difficult situation. How can you know if the contact is official or a scheme? Thankfully, the IRS is fairly predictable. Because of this, there are certain things that help us to better deduce if the contact is official or not. 

The Messi tax evasion case, part 2: implications for offshore compliance

In part one of this post, we took note of the unsuccessful appeal by soccer star Lionel Messi of his tax fraud conviction.

His attempt to claim lack of knowledge of his father's use of shell companies to hide income didn't go over well with the appeals court. The court upheld Lionel Messi's 21-month conviction, even as it reduced his father's sentence to 15 months due to cooperation with authorities.

What does the resolution of the Messi case tell us about tax compliance and enforcement, particularly regarding offshore accounts?

Three tips to avoid getting taxed in more than one state

Tax season recently ended. Some taxpayers may have experienced the unpleasant surprise that they owed state taxes not just in the state that they live in, the state they consider their domicile, but in another state or even multiple states as well.

This can happen for a number of different reasons, primarily connected to traveling for work. Those who find themselves frustrated with these obligations are not alone. The issue is so common that a recent article in Market Watch discussed the problem, noting a proactive approach can help reduce the risk of this double or triple state tax burden.

The Messi case, part 1: appeals court affirms tax fraud conviction

A year ago, the soccer star Lionel Messi was on the coveted cover of Sports Illustrated (SI). SI touted the success of his professional team and an upcoming match called the Copa America.

What a difference a year makes. This week's news about Messi is that an appeals court has affirmed his conviction on tax fraud charges.

In this two-part post, we will use a Q & A format to discuss what can U.S. taxpayers learn, as a cautionary tale, from the Messi case.

Abusive return preparer investigations by the numbers

Each year the criminal investigations unit of the IRS (IRS-CI) puts out its annual report. Agents in this division are in charge of investigation tax crimes and recommending prosecutions.

As IRS funding continues to fall short, the number of agents has steadily declined. What has this meant for abusive preparer investigations? We'll explain in more detail in this post.

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