Taxes

IRS Delays Benefit my Clients

The IRS is woefully understaffed: in IRS offices across the country staffing is down 7 to 41% and not one office has seen an increase. Complicated correspondence is not answered timely, or sometimes at all. I have a large collection of letters from the IRS saying that it received my inquiry some time ago, that […]

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IRS Tax Debt Ten-Year Clock

Most people don’t know that the IRS stops trying to collect on tax debt after 10 years. This 10-year clock can be valuable to people who owe back taxes from several years ago. The statute of limitation on collecting tax owed is at 26 U.S.Code § 6502(a)(1): the IRS may start a collection proceeding only […]

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A Dream Job

A Dream Job   I love what I do. Intervening on behalf of my clients in tax audits, or helping people shed crippling debt, allows me to (1) draw on prior professional experience at the IRS and elsewhere, (2) use my detective and people skills in finding and negotiating with the right auditors and revenue […]

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Tax “Love Gifts”

Churches and ministers receive many tax breaks: churches do not need to withhold social security taxes from their ministers’ pay; churches receive income tax-free; and ministers do not pay tax on the cash value of church-provided housing. But receiving a tax-free salary is not one of the breaks ministers receive. I have client who’s a […]

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If You Sign Your Tax Return, You’re Responsible For It — Even If You Use A Preparer…

My client called in a panic. He was being audited, and the IRS wanted to know why he claimed $2,500 in mileage expense on his Schedule C. My client doesn’t own a Schedule C business. The IRS also questioned my client’s $10,000 loss on his professional stamp collecting – another fictional activity. His tax preparer […]

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The IRS Appeals Officer & Process

When a taxpayer disagrees with the IRS auditor’s determination, the IRS assigns the matter to an appeals officer. This is a second, new IRS employee that the taxpayer can negotiate with. Importantly, as a taxpayer deals with successively-higher-level employees in the IRS, the discretion of each employee increases. Appeals officers almost always have more discretion […]

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Alimony Not Tax-Deductible If Spouse Had to Sue to Collect

It’s satisfying when tax law actually does the right thing morally – such as providing a strong financial incentive to pay spousal support on time. Here’s an example. David and Christie Iglicki divorced in Maryland after eight years of marriage. David was ordered to pay Christie $735 per month in child support and $1,000 per […]

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US Tax Treatment of Foreign Bank Accounts

The United States has an unusual tax regime: it taxes its citizens and residents on their worldwide income, not just on what is earned in the United States. The only other country that does this is Eritrea. Can you even find Eritrea on a map? What else does it have in common with the United […]

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IRS Substitute for Return (SFR) Isn’t Always Nondischargeable

Debtors can discharge their taxes in bankruptcy so long as they meet certain tests: the three-year test, the two-year test, the 240-day test and no fraud. I lay it out in the first paragraphs here  and in the last paragraphs here . One of the tests is that the return has to have been actually […]

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When Dealing with the IRS, More Documentation is Better than Less

There are hundreds of strategies for handling IRS issues. But not all strategies are as effective as others. A car-repair owner got audited and brought his tax-return preparer (Jim) to handle the audit. The preparer said to give the IRS as little information as possible . “The IRS won’t want to go to trial, and […]

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