Author Archive for Jeffrey B. Kahn, Esq. - Principal Attorney

The Tax Benefits Of Claiming Your Sweetheart on Your Tax Return, Giving Gifts To Your Sweetheart Or Marrying Your Sweetheart – Part 1 Of 2.

Valentine’s Day is all about that special someone in your life, but have you ever wondered if your date across the dinner table might actually be able to save you money on your tax return or if the two of you now decide to get married, whether you can deduct any portion of the wedding and thereafter pay less in taxes?

What you need to know about who qualifies as a dependent.

Dependents, which can range from a girlfriend to a child or even a friend, are often an area where tax deductions are either missed or misstated on tax returns. To help taxpayers navigate this gray area, here are the tests necessary to claim someone as your dependent—and some of the tax benefits available for claiming the one you love:

First and foremost, whether they are your child or your Valentine:

You cannot claim them if you can be claimed as a dependent by another person.

They cannot file a joint tax return (in most cases).

They must be a U.S. citizen, resident alien, national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.

In order to claim a child as a dependent, these five additional tests must be met:

Relationship: Must be your child, adopted child, foster-child, brother or sister, or a descendant of one of these (grandchild or nephew).

Residence: Must have the same residence for more than half the year.

Age: Must be under age 19 or under 24 and a full-time student for at least 5 months. Can be any age if they are totally and permanently disabled.

Support: Must not have provided more than half of their own support during the year.

Joint support: The child cannot file a joint return for the year.

These four tests determine where a relative or sweetheart qualifies as a dependent:

They are not the “qualifying child” of another taxpayer or your “qualifying child.”

Dependent earns less than $4,000 taxable income in Tax Year 2015 and $3,950 in Tax Year 2014.

You provide more than half of the total support for the year.

The person must live with you all year as a member of your household or be one of the relatives who doesn’t have to live with you.

You can even claim a boyfriend, girlfriend, domestic partner, or friend as a qualifying relative if:

They are a member of your household the entire year.

The relationship between you and the dependent does not violate the law, meaning you can’t still be married to someone else. Also check your individual state law, since some states do not allow you to claim a boyfriend or girlfriend as a dependent even if your relationship doesn’t violate the law.

You meet the other criteria for “qualifying relatives” (gross income and support).

Once you’ve determined who in your life can be claimed as a dependent, be sure to take advantage of the following tax deductions and credits:

Dependent exemption: Have you been supporting your boyfriend or girlfriend? If he or she meets the above tests, this may entitle you to a deduction of $3,950.

Dependent care credit: Allows you to claim up to $6,000 of your eligible dependent care costs for two or more dependents.

Child tax credit: Depending on your income, you can claim up to $1,000 per qualifying child—helping to reduce your federal taxes.

What you need to know on deducting gifts to your staff.

If you own or run a business, you know how important it is to keep your staff feeling appreciated. Sometimes you will want to reward your staff members after a particularly big project or demanding event. Other times that you may want to give gifts to staff include holiday gatherings, birthdays, wedding and birth announcements and after a staff member loses a loved one. The IRS understands that businesses routinely give small gifts to employees and has established rules governing the deductibility of those gifts.

General Rules Regarding Gifts. The IRS allows businesses to make gifts to other businesses or individuals for the purposes of developing goodwill and a favorable business environment. There are two broad categories of gifts — tangible gift items and entertainment. The IRS allows businesses to deduct gifts of up to $25 in value per recipient. If you make a gift to a client’s or employee’s wife, the IRS considers that to be a gift to the client or employee. If the gift is an entertainment expense, the IRS allows you to deduct half of the expense, as long as the expense is not exceedingly lavish or unreasonable.

De Minimis Fringe Benefits. The IRS also recognizes that employers frequently provide gifts or insignificant fringe benefits to their employees that cannot be reasonably tracked and expensed. Generally, if a business provides complimentary bagels to employees on an infrequent basis, or sends flowers to a staff member mourning the loss of a loved one or celebrating a new birth, this expense is deductible to the company but not taxable to the employee. Generally, if the gift is less than $100 in value, and is given infrequently by the company, or only on special occasions, there is no requirement to report this item as income.
Awards and Prizes. The IRS considers cash awards and prizes of any amount to be compensation and are, therefore, deductible to the employer. Awards and prizes are taxable to the employee, however; and as a business owner, you must track the award and report it on the employee’s W-2 form. However, if the award is for longevity, safety or similar awards, you may only deduct $400 for awards not part of a qualified plan that does not discriminate against highly compensated employees, or $1,600 for all awards.

Reporting Gifts. For gifts of nominal value that you give to employees to promote goodwill, you can generally deduct the expense on your business tax return or on your Schedule C as a nonwage business expense. Deductible expenses include most meals you provide to employees and up to $2,000 in life insurance.

In part 2 of this blog I discuss how you may get a Tax Write-Off for your wedding, is an engagement ring tax deductible and is there a Marriage Tax Penalty?

It’s Risky Business To Claim Your Sweetheart on Your Tax Return or Deduct Gifts To Your Sweetheart or Take A Tax Write-Off For Your Wedding.

Writing off wedding costs reduces your tax liability for the year in question and may increase your tax refund but consider whether you are willing to endure an audit for your attempted deductions. Quirky write-offs are red flags for the IRS. So if you are writing off your honeymoon as a business trip, keep a log of activities like appointments and what business was transacted. A paper trail of receipts will back up your case. It costs a lot to support our children and sometimes even our friends who have been living on the couch for the past year but taking advantage of these tax tips may provide you with some relief and well-deserved tax savings this Valentine’s Day.

You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Diego San Francisco and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.

Description: Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems to allow you to have a fresh start.

IRS Extends A Sweetheart Deal This Valentine’s Day To U.S. Taxpayers With Undisclosed Foreign Bank Accounts

On June 18, 2014, the IRS announced major changes in the 2012 offshore account compliance programs, providing new options to help taxpayers residing in the United States and overseas. The changes are anticipated to provide thousands of people a new avenue to come back into compliance with their tax obligations and would largely waive these penalties if taxpayers come forward and show that they didn’t hide the money on purpose.

Separate from United States income tax returns, many U.S. persons are required to file with the U.S. Treasury a return commonly known as an “FBAR” (or Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts; known as FinCEN Form 114), listing all non-US bank and financial accounts. These forms are required if on any day of any calendar year an individual has ownership of or signature authority over non-US bank and financial accounts with an aggregate (total) balance greater than the equivalent of $10,000.

The penalties for FBAR noncompliance are stiffer than the civil tax penalties ordinarily imposed for delinquent taxes.

Failing to file an FBAR can carry a civil penalty of $10,000 for each non-willful violation. But if your violation is found to be willful, the penalty is the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the amount in the account for each violation—and each year you didn’t file is a separate violation. By the way the IRS can go back as far as 6 years to charge you with violations.

Criminal penalties for FBAR violations are even more frightening, including a fine of $250,000 and 5 years of imprisonment. If the FBAR violation occurs while violating another law (such as tax law, which it often will) the penalties are increased to $500,000 in fines and/or 10 years of imprisonment.

The streamlined filing compliance procedures are available to taxpayers certifying that their failure to report foreign financial assets and pay all tax due in respect of those assets did not result from willful conduct on their part.  The streamlined procedures are designed to provide to taxpayers in such situations (1) a streamlined procedure for filing amended or delinquent returns and (2) terms for resolving their tax and penalty obligations.

Taxpayers will be required to certify that the failure to report all income, pay all tax, and submit all required information returns, including FBAR’s (FinCEN Form 114, previously Form TD F 90-22.1), was due to non-willful conduct.

What Constitutes Non-Willful Conduct?

The key to qualification in this new procedure is to prove that your past actions or inactions can be considered to be non-willful conduct.  Non-willful conduct is conduct that is due to negligence, inadvertence or mistake, or conduct that’s the result of a good-faith misunderstanding of the requirements of the law.  The application of this standard will vary based on each person’s facts and circumstances so it is something that has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

If the IRS has initiated a civil examination of a taxpayer’s returns for any taxable year, regardless of whether the examination relates to undisclosed foreign financial assets, the taxpayer will not be eligible to use the streamlined procedures.   Similarly, a taxpayer under criminal investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation is also ineligible to use the streamlined procedures.

Taxpayers eligible to use the streamlined procedures who have previously filed delinquent or amended returns in an attempt to address U.S. tax and information reporting obligations with respect to foreign financial assets (so-called “quiet disclosures” made outside of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”) or its predecessor programs) may still use the streamlined procedures.

The Streamlined Procedures are classified between U.S. Taxpayers Residing Outside the United States and U.S. Taxpayers Residing in the United States.

Both versions require that taxpayers:

a. Certify that the failure to report the income from a foreign financial asset and pay tax as required by U.S. law, and failure to file an FBAR (FinCEN Form 114, previously Form TD F 90-22.1) with respect to a foreign financial account, resulted from non-willful conduct. Non-willful conduct is conduct that is due to negligence, inadvertence, or mistake or conduct that is the result of a good faith misunderstanding of the requirements of the law.

b. File 3 years of back tax returns reflecting unreported foreign source income;

c. File 6 years of back FBAR’s reporting the foreign financial accounts; and

d. Calculate interest each year on unpaid tax.

In return for entering the streamlined offshore voluntary disclosure program, the IRS has agreed:

a. Possible waiver of charges of criminal tax evasion which would have resulted in jail time or a felony on your record;

b. Possible waiver of other fraud and filing penalties including IRC Sec. 6663 fraud penalties (75% of the unpaid tax) and failure to file a TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report, (FBAR) (the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the foreign account balance); and

c. Possible waiver of the 20% accuracy-related penalty under Code Sec. 6662 or a 25% delinquency penalty under Code Sec. 6651.

For U.S. Taxpayers Residing Outside the United States who apply to the streamlined program, the IRS is waiving the OVDP penalty.

For U.S. Taxpayers Residing in the United States who apply to the streamlined program, the IRS is imposing a 5% OVDP penalty (applied against the value of the undisclosed foreign income producing accounts/assets).

Case Example:

Raj is an engineer working and living in California. He was born in India and came to California after completing his education in India. While he was a child his parents set up a bank account in India which he did not even know about until just recently. That account has been earning interest all of these years and now has a balance of $100,000.00.

What liabilities does Raj face under the Internal Revenue Code?

1. Back taxes, interest and 20% accuracy related penalty for the unreported interest income going back at least three years.

2. FBAR penalties of $10,000 per account per year (going back 6 years results in a $60,000 penalty).

When I total that all up, what started out as an account with $100,000.00 would leave Raj with about $30,000 – that’s a 70% reduction in value!

How would Raj fare by hiring tax counsel experienced in OVDP and going forward with one of the programs established by IRS?

1. Back taxes and interest for the unreported interest income for the last three years.
2. No 20% accuracy related penalty.
3. No FBAR Penalties
4. A one-time 5% OVDP penalty (applied against the value of the account)

So when I total that all up, what started out as an account with $100,000.00 now would leave Raj with about $93,000.00 – a 7% reduction in value. That’s a lot better than a 70% reduction in value! And there are things that we can do as tax counsel to make that reduction even smaller and perhaps get full abatement of penalties.

What Should You Do?

We encourage taxpayers who are concerned about their undisclosed offshore accounts to come in voluntarily before learning that the U.S. is investigating the bank or banks where they hold accounts. By then, it will be too late to avoid the new higher penalties under the OVDP of 50% percent – nearly double the regular maximum rate of 27.5%.

Don’t let another deadline slip by. If you have never reported your foreign investments on your U.S. Tax Returns or even if you have already quietly disclosed or you are in the 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (“OVDI”), you should seriously consider participating in the IRS’s 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”). Once the IRS contacts you, you cannot get into this program and would be subject to the maximum penalties (civil and criminal) under the tax law. Taxpayers who hire an experienced tax attorney in Offshore Account Voluntary Disclosures should result in avoiding any pitfalls and gaining the maximum benefits conferred by this program.

Protect yourself from excessive fines and possible jail time. Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and elsewhere in California qualify you for OVDP.

Description: Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems, get you in compliance with your FBAR filing obligations, and minimize the chance of any criminal investigation or imposition of civil penalties.

Wife Convicted Of Murdering Husband To Avoid Him Learning Of Their Outstanding IRS Debt

While death and taxes are always certain, take lesson from Amy Bosley that you should never mix them together.

These are busy days for Joe Yates.  The brisk fall air has ushered in a long ledger of names. Home owners in need of having their chimneys swept and inspected. And those with chimney emergencies who summon Yates 24 hours a day.  These are also somber days for the 6-foot-5 inch, 280 pound Pendleton County man, known to many Northern Kentuckians as simply “Big Joe.”

“Big Joe,” who is 30, has a tall top hat and tails to fill. It’s a hat he wishes would never have been left vacant.  “Big Joe,” is one of 14, who lost their boss and their jobs in the early hours of May 17, 2005.

That boss was Robert Bosley, owner of Bosley Roofing and Chimney Sweep in Alexandria, who was shot to death as he slept in his small cabin in Campbell County. Robert was the owner of Bosley Roofing and Chimney Sweep of Alexandria, and a member of St. Peter & Paul Church, National Chimney Sweep Guild, Alexandria Businessman’s Association and he was a private pilot. Robert who lived to age 42 was murdered by his wife Amy Bosley. The reason? Amy did not want Robert to know the huge business debts and IRS debts she had racked up. Yes this is another story of how outstanding IRS debt contributed to the death of a taxpayer. 

Robert was born Aug. 6, 1962 in Campbell County Kentucky. With his wife, Amy, they were making a name for themselves in their small Kentucky community. Together they ran a successful roofing and chimney sweep business eventually turning it into somewhat of a local empire with Amy right beside him handing the bookkeeping.

Amy Bosley was the archetypal American dream wife…attractive, kind and funny, a devoted mother, a valued business partner to her husband, an untiring charity worker and community stalwart in the small town of Campbell, Kentucky.

Together they were like local royalty with their million-dollar roofing business and being active volunteers in their community. They had sports cars, horses, their own plane and a 50-ft motor-yacht. They also planned to build a castle-like mansion on their 35-acre estate. It was on this land, mainly remote woods, that the Bosley’s had built their weekend retreat, a luxury cabin.

Nightmare In The Woods.

But that dream became a nightmare at dawn on a May morning in 2005 when 38-year-old Amy rang police in floods of tears to report that an intruder had broken into their remote luxury cabin deep in woodland in Campbell County.

“Someone is breaking into my house,” Amy frantically told a 911 dispatcher.

The conversation then abruptly ends.

So the 911 dispatcher called back and getting through to Amy asks if the intruder was still in the house?

Amy replied: He just left but he shot my husband. Oh my God, he shot my husband!!

Moments later a patrolman arrived at the Bosley’s cabin. Amy Bosley tells him, He shot my husband, he shot my husband! She tells him the intruder fled out the back door. The patrolman pushes past her and there, lying on the bed is Robert Bosley riddled with bullets. His lips were blue. He was dead. He was face down on the bed, shot 7 times. The room and the rest of the cabin, had been ransacked – possessions and clothes strewn around the doors and windows broken.

The Bosleys’ two sons, Trevor, nine, and Morgan, six, asleep in a first-floor loft bedroom had not been harmed although they had been woken by the commotion and told to stay in their room by their mother.

Police searched the house and grounds, but no intruder was found. Amy Bosley in a state of shock was taken to the house of friends. She described the intruder as a white guy in his thirties, very tall and with a pointed very mean face.

Police launched a manhunt for the intruder using sniffer dogs and helicopters but no one was found. The lead investigator immediately suspected something was wrong with Amy’s story. Robert had been shot seven times while sleeping, and his gun was missing. Also missing were the shell casings, which should have littered the crime scene. Indeed, surveying the wreckage, one hardened detective muttered to a colleague: “This is overkill…No intruder would kill the guy like this and then destroy the place.” Detective Dave Fickensecher said later “You could see bullet-holes everywhere. The once immaculate cabin was a shambles. Whatever had gone on was extremely violent.”

Amy Bosley made a tearful statement in a press conference held the next day in which she said: “We have every faith in the police department and the investigation to find this killer. We are helping the authorities in every way we can. Unfortunately as of now all I can remember is that I woke up and was on the floor. I heard shots and I saw a man leave the house.”

Soon afterwards police investigations began to reveal that the Bosley marriage had not been as idyllic as Amy claimed it to be. Robert spent most weekends on his boat on nearby Lake Cumberland holding parties at which most of the guests were women.

Friends said that Robert would be on the lake for days at a time and refuse to tell Amy who he was with and when he would be back. But not all the Bosley’s secrets concerned Robert’s extramarital affairs. A close study of the finances of the roofing company, of which Amy was financial director, showed that the apparently booming enterprise was going bust.

Police also discovered a motive: the Bosley’s were deep in debt, and, unknown to Robert, the IRS was literally knocking at their door over a $1.5 million tax bill. Amy it seemed was destroying the business by embezzling nearly $2 million which should have been paid to the IRS. In fact during the investigation into the murder, police discovered something suspicious in Amy’s car: hundreds of unmailed checks to the IRS totaling about $1.7 million in back taxes.

Weeks before the shooting, Amy met with an IRS Revenue Officer who informed her they were investigating Robert for nonpayment of taxes. According to police, Amy went to great lengths to keep the tax problems from her husband even going as far as to impersonate him over the phone. She also got a P.O. Box for the business which Robert did not know about and had all IRS notices go to that box so Robert would not be aware of this problem. But this tax problem was coming to a head and Robert was to hear about it firsthand from the Revenue Officer himself.

Crime Scene Staged?

Throughout the investigation, police, prosecutors, townspeople and even the Bosley family had their suspicions about who committed the crime — Amy Bosley, something she vehemently denied. “I had no reason to shoot him,” she told police. But the Bosley’s unusual marriage, the looming IRS investigation, Amy’s story of an intruder and her behavior following the murder just didn’t seem to add up.

“Her actions weren’t appropriate. He’s dead just two hours and she’s bashing him in a police interview,” said Fickenscher. Prosecutors felt her crying was forced and not at all genuine. “Her husband had just been killed and even though she would do the same crying out, no one saw a tear fall from her eye,” said an investigator.

Authorities said even the crime scene looked staged. Around the body police found just two bullet shell casings; the others were found in the most unusual of places, like the bottom of the washing machine. According to Amy’s lawyer, Jim Morgan, those casings were old, probably left in Robert’s jeans from target practice. “Just like coins typically fall out of your pocket in the washing machine, the shell casings [did too],” he said.

Police don’t buy that explanation and had their own theory. The day of the murder, the IRS was coming to audit the business’s books, potentially exposing Amy’s secret. Police say Amy might have felt that the only way to make the tax problem go away was to kill her husband. “The IRS was investigating Robert Bosley and if Robert Bosley couldn’t tell them otherwise, then he could be at fault,” said Fickenscher.

Ten days after Robert Bosley was shot and killed, Amy was arrested for the murder. She insisted she was innocent, but a week later another piece of incriminating evidence turned up in Amy’s purse — a Glock handgun. It was the same type of gun used to kill her husband. Even though police had no doubt they’d found the murder weapon, authorities couldn’t definitively match it to the lead slugs that struck Robert Bosley because the slugs were too mutilated.

The Surprising Outcome

Amy first pleaded not guilty, but her case didn’t hold up well during a dramatic four-hour pretrial hearing.

While there was a mountain of circumstantial evidence against Amy, prosecutors admitted they didn’t have a slam dunk. But statements Amy’s children, Morgan, 9, and Trevor, 6, gave to police following the murder would become the strongest piece of evidence. “The first thing that woke the children up was gunshots,” said the investigator. “The children heard the glass breaking after the gunshots,” the investigator added, which would contradict Amy’s story of an intruder break-in.

Their testimony was crucial, but no one wanted to force young children who had already lost their father to testify against their mother. As a result, prosecutors reluctantly offered Amy Bosley a deal — the minimum sentence of 20 years if she pleaded guilty — and to everyone’s surprise she took the deal. “Amy entered a plea for one reason, and that was to save her children from testifying,” said her attorney, who maintains his client is not guilty. Robert’s parents who are now raising the couple’s two children were happy to hear that the kids would be spared from having to testify against their mother.

In November 2005, Amy Bosley was sentenced to 20 years for murder and five years for the tampering charge. The sentences to be served concurrently. Unfortunately, the IRS would still be looking to collect the over $1.7 million in payroll taxes from Robert’s estate.

Don’t Take The Chance And Lose Everything You Have Worked For.

Protect yourself. If you are being audited or investigated by IRS or in danger of wage garnishments or bank levies or having a tax lien placed against your property, stand up to the IRS and your State Tax Agency by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including tax audits, criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.

Description: Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems to allow you to have a fresh start.

Jeffrey B. Kahn, Esq. Discusses taxes and the IRS targeting you for your undisclosed foreign accounts or criminal investigation On ESPN Radio – February 6, 2015 Show

Topics Covered:
1. Man Convicted Of Threatening To Assault & Kill IRS Agent And Torture The Agent’s Family Over Audit Proceedings
2. America’s Manifest Destiny Still Lives On Today As FATCA Imposes Our Will On Banking Worldwide
3. Tools And Tactics That IRS Criminal Investigation Division Uses To Gather Information About You

4. Questions from our listeners:

  • Do many people cheat on their taxes?
  • If I can’t pay my taxes, should I file my return anyway?
  • Can I get an extension to pay a tax without penalties and interest?
  • My state had an amnesty period for nonfilers. Can I ever hope the IRS will have one?

Yes we are all working for the tax man!

Good afternoon! Welcome to the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show

This is your host Board Certified Tax Attorney, Jeffrey B. Kahn, the principal attorney of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. and head of the KahnTaxLaw team.

You are listening to my weekly radio show where we talk everything about taxes from the ESPN 1700 AM Studio in San Diego, California.

When it comes to knowing tax laws and paying taxes, let’s face it — everyone in the U.S. is either in tax trouble, on their way to tax trouble, or trying to avoid tax trouble!

It is my objective to make you smarter so that you legally pay the least tax as possible, avoid tax problems and be aware of the strategies and solutions if you are being targeted by the IRS or any State tax agency.

Our show is broadcasted each Friday at 2:00PM Pacific Time and replays are available on demand by logging into our website at www.kahntaxlaw.com.

I have a lot to cover today in the world of taxes and helping me out today will be my associate attorney Amy Spivey who will be calling in later in today’s show.

Man Convicted Of Threatening To Assault & Kill IRS Agent And Torture The Agent’s Family Over Audit Proceedings

While death and taxes are always certain, take lesson from Andrew A. Calcione that you should never mix them together.

In May 2014, a federal judge found 49-year-old Andrew A. Calcione of Cranston, Rhode Island, guilty of threatening to assault an IRS Revenue Agent, rape and kill the agent’s wife and injure the agent’s daughter while the agent watched before murdering the agent.  The reason? Mr. Calcione didn’t want to pay his tax bill of $330,000.

According to government testimony as reported in United States of America v. Andrew A. Calcione, U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island (Providence County), Case No. 1:13-mj-00291-LDA, Mr. Calcione was selected for audit for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. Mr. Calcione’s behavior is also so bizarre because for many years worked as a professional tax return preparer and was a partner in a tax preparation business in Rhode Island.  As a result of the audit which was being conducted by an agent out of the IRS office in Warwick, Rhode Island, it appeared that Mr. Calcione would be responsible for an additional $330,000 in tax liability.

In April 2013 while the audit was still in progress, Mr.  Calcione and his ex-wife Patricia were asked to sign a form allowing extra time to assess their case. As part of the audit process, an IRS revenue agent requested that Mr. Calcione and his ex-wife sign a Consent to Extend Time to Assess Tax. A consent is almost always requested during audit because, by statute, the Service does not have an unlimited time to examine a tax return. As a general rule, the IRS can’t assess tax more than three years after the later of the date the return was due or the date the return was actually filed (this is sometimes referred to as the statute of limitations) though exceptions may apply. If an audit is bumping up against that statute of limitations, it is sometimes (but not always) advantageous to sign a consent to allow more time to argue your case before the IRS issues a notice of deficiency. In short, it’s a question of timing.

Mr. Calcione signed the document, but his wife did not, spurring the agent to leave a voicemail on Mr. Calcione’s cell phone asking about the consent on July 12, 2013.

Mr. Calcione called the agent back three days later which was July 15, 2013. He did not, however, call to leave a friendly status update. Rather, according to court documents, Mr. Calcione advised the agent that if he called again, Mr. Calcione would show up at the agent’s home and torture the agent’s family before killing all of them. And he said it all on voicemail.

It wasn’t a run of the mill threat either. The initial call lasted over 3 minutes and contained numerous threats. He was pretty specific, saying things like: “Matter of fact, I’d shoot you in the f****** knee caps, tie you to a f****** chair, gag ya…” The message continued, with Calcione invoking some pretty horrific threats against the agent’s wife and daughter. You can check out my blog if you’re interested in the gory details.

You’d think that he’d stop there. But he didn’t. Mr. Calcione actually called the agent back on the same day, telling him to “disregard my previous voicemail.” Mr. Calcione went on, according to the agent, to say that the message was intended to mess (though he used a more colorful word) with his daughter.

After receiving the threatening calls, the agent reported Mr. Calcione to the police.

Prosecutors were able to establish that both calls came from a cell phone belonging to Mr. Calcione’s wife. The agent also recognized Mr. Calcione’s voice.

What’s really bizarre is Mr. Calcione’s explanation for the call. He told IRS special agents that the call was intended for his ex-wife who was apparently seeking increased child support (and you wonder why she’s an ex).  At some point, it must have dawned on him that this story made no sense so he tried another version claiming that he was merely talking out loud in his car and must have accidentally activated his phone’s hands free calling feature.

Court records reveal that prior to this offense, Mr. Calcione ran a successful financial services business and had no criminal record.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith didn’t buy any of Mr. Calcione’s stories. He found Mr. Calcione guilty of threatening to assault and murder the agent and his family after Mr. Calcione waived a jury trial.

Following the conviction, the U.S. government made several statements:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan had prosecuted the case and his boss, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha referred to Mr. Calcione’s behavior as “outrageous, threatening, and frankly bizarre noting that “[t]he vast majority of Americans understand the payment of their federal taxes is part of their civic responsibilities.” Mr. Neronha went on to say that his office would be “seeking the toughest, appropriate sense in this case.”

For the record, while bad behavior and threats can always be considered criminal, there are special rules which apply with dealing with the feds. Federal law provides that “knowingly and intentionally threaten to assault and murder a Revenue Agent of the IRS with intend to interfere with the official in the performance of official duties and knowingly and intentionally threaten to assault and murder a member of the immediate family of a Revenue Agent of the IRS are each punishable by statutory penalties of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.”

That meant that Mr. Calcione could face up to 20 years for his crimes.

But on September 27, 2014 in U.S. Federal District Court he was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison.  Although part of the record is sealed, what is public suggests that Mr. Calcione may have tried to claim an anxiety disorder as a reason for his bizarre behavior. If true, he will have plenty of time to meditate while in prison.  By the way, his tax bill of $330,000.00 will still be waiting for him when he completes his sentence.

Well it’s time for a break but stay tuned because we are going to tell you how America’s philosophy of the 19th century is being applied today in targeting taxpayers with undisclosed foreign bank accounts.

You are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team on the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN.

BREAK

Welcome back.  This is KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN and you are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team.

Calling into the studio from our San Francisco Office is my associate attorney, Amy Spivey.

Chit chat with Amy

Jeff then to discuss:

America’s Manifest Destiny Still Lives On Today As FATCA Imposes Our Will On Banking Worldwide

In the 19th century, Manifest Destiny was a widely held belief in the United States that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent. Historians have for the most part agreed that American felt they had an irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty. This spirit has endured into the 21st century with the application of FATCA over worldwide banking activity.

Never heard of FATCA? You will.

FATCA—the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act—is America’s global tax law. It was quietly enacted in 2010.  And after a four-year ramp up, it is finally in full effect. What is most amazing is not its impact on Americans—although that is considerable—but its impact on the world. Yes, the whole world.

Never before has an American tax law attempted such an astounding reach. And it is clear FATCA has succeeded, after shrewd diplomacy by President Obama and his Treasury Department. FATCA requires foreign banks to reveal Americans to the Department Of Treasury and the IRS with accounts over $50,000. Non-compliant institutions could be frozen out of U.S. markets, so everyone is complying.

Essential Facts About FATCA:

Jeff to read off each one with Amy to explain.

  1. FATCA Blew In On a Perfect Storm. FATCA grew out of a controversial rule. America taxes its citizens—and even permanent residents—on their worldwide income regardless of where they live. In 2009, the IRS struck a groundbreaking deal with the Swiss banking giant UBS for $780 million in penalties and American names. Recently, Credit Suisse took a guilty plea and paid a record $2.6 billion fine. Since then, all 106 Swiss banks accepted a U.S. Department Of Justice (DOJ) deal and with many other subsequent developments, banking is now more transparent than could ever have been imagined. FATCA was enacted in 2010, when only some of those developments were unfolding. The idea was to cut off companies from access to critical U.S. financial markets if they didn’t pass along American data. And boy did that idea work.
  1. Everyone Around the World is Complying. More than 80 nations—including virtually every one that matters—have agreed to the law. As for those few rouge nations that remain that have not signed on, I would question how safe is your money anyways in those countries. So far, over 77,000 financial institutions have signed on too. Countries must throw their agreement behind the law or face dire repercussions. Even tax havens have joined up. The IRS is so proud of this accomplishment that it maintains a searchable list of financial institutions on its website. Click here to check out this list.
  1. Even Russia and China Agreed to FATCA. If you think money anywhere can escape the IRS, think again. Even notoriously difficult China and Russia are on board. Which is more amazing? Probably Russia. The U.S. and Russia were negotiating a FATCA deal until March, 2014, but Russia’s annexation of Crimea caused the U.S. to suspend talks. That meant Russian financial institutions faced being frozen out of U.S. markets. Russia took last minute action to allow Russian banks to send American taxpayer data to the U.S. when President Vladimir Putin Signed a Law in the 11th Hour to Satisfy U.S. Treasury. By the way, now that the embargo on Cuba has been lifted, the U.S. Treasury will be looking for Cuba to promptly sign on to FATCA as a condition for opening banking relationships.
  1. FATCA is America’s Big Stick. Cleverly, FATCA’s 30% tax and exclusion from U.S. markets would be so catastrophic that everyone has opted to comply. Foreign financial institutions must withhold a 30% tax if the recipient is not providing information about U.S. account holders. The choice is simple, and that’s why everyone is complying.
  1. Everyone is on the Lookout for American Indicia. Foreign Financial Institutions (FFI’s) must report account numbers, balances, names, addresses, and U.S. identification numbers. For U.S.-owned foreign entities, they must report the name, address, and U.S. TIN of each substantial U.S. owner. And in what is a kind of global witch hunt, American indicia will likely mean a letter. Don’t ignore it.

PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment.  Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

  1. FBAR’s Are Still Required. FBAR’s predate FATCA, but get ready for duplicate reporting. FATCA just adds to the burden, including Form 8938, but it doesn’t replace FBAR’s. The latter have been in the law since 1970 but have taken on huge importance since 2009. U.S. persons with foreign bank accounts exceeding $10,000 must file an FBAR by each June 30. These forms are serious, and so are the criminal and civil penalties. FBAR failures can mean fines up to $500,000 and prison up to ten years. Even a non-willful civil FBAR penalty can mean a $10,000 fine. Willful FBAR violations can draw the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the account for each violation–and each year is separate. The numbers add up fast. Court Upholds Record FBAR Penalties, Exceeding Offshore Account Balance.
  1. FATCA is Compelling Compliance.S. account holders who are not compliant have limited time to get to the IRS. The IRS recently changed its programs, making its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program a little harsher. Yet for those not willing to pay the 27.5% penalty—which rose to 50% August 4, 2014 for some banks—the new IRS’s Streamlined Program may be a good option for those who qualify. The latter applies now to both foreign and U.S.-based Americans. Some still want to amend their taxes and file FBAR’s in a “quiet disclosure” which could bring civil FBAR penalties or even prosecution. Thus, caution is clearly in order.

Jeff states:

Why You Should Do Something About It Before It’s Too Late

Until the government receives your name and account information and chooses to act on that information, you have the opportunity to avoid the possibility of time in a federal prison and reduce the potential civil penalties for failing to report your foreign account. If you have never reported your foreign investments on your U.S. Tax Returns or even if you have already quietly disclosed, you should seriously consider participating in the IRS’s 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”). Once the IRS contacts you, you cannot get into this program and would be subject to the maximum penalties (civil and criminal) under the tax law. Protect yourself from excessive fines and possible jail time.

PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment.  Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

Stay tuned because after the break we are going to tell you the Tools And Tactics That IRS Criminal Investigation Division Uses To Gather Information About You.

You are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team on the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN.

BREAK

Welcome back.  This is KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN and you are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team.

And on the phone from our San Francisco office I have my associate attorney, Amy Spivey.

Jeff goes on to discuss:

Tools And Tactics That IRS Criminal Investigation Division Uses To Gather Information About You

A simple mistake, oversight, or your accountant’s malpractice may trigger an IRS criminal investigation. Specifically, unreported income, a false statement, the use of an impermissible accounting or banking service, or declaring too many deductions are things that could initiate an audit, which could then rise to the level of an IRS criminal investigation.

PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment.  Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

As you can imagine, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (“CID”) uses a vast array of tools to investigate a suspected tax evasion case or while conducting a criminal investigation. If you think about it, every employee of the IRS has a single task of ensuring that the IRS tax collections are maximized. IRS Special Agents, who work on the criminal tax cases, are no different. If you file your taxes, their goal is to prove that you may have understated or omitted income or sources of income or you may have falsified sources of income or taken deductions or credits for which you do not qualify.

The tools that the IRS Special Agents have at their disposal include interviewing the suspect, summons, search warrants, and use of grand juries.

Jeff asks Amy:

Should I talk to the IRS Special Agent during an IRS Criminal Investigation and what are my rights?

Amy replies:

Since the IRS Special Agents conduct a criminal investigation, you have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself and the right to an attorney. At your first encounter, the IRS Special Agent will advise you of your rights. You should exercise them and ask for an attorney. The Special Agent is then required to terminate the encounter.

As you can imagine, nothing you say to a Special Agent is off-the-record! If you choose to disregard this advice, the IRS Special Agent will be more than happy to continue with the encounter. You’ll be surprised how people continue to dig themselves into a deeper hole even after all these warnings.

Jeff asks Amy:

Interview with an IRS Special Agent

Amy replies:

The “interview” is the most obvious and also the most common tool is the old fashioned approach of directly asking you if you are engaged in tax evasion. This interview can take place at your home or your place of business or both. When an IRS field officer comes to interview a subject suspected of tax evasion, that officer doesn’t just ask questions. They are also required to assess your standard of living as compared to the income shown on your tax return. In addition, the Special Agents have the legal authority to examine books and records and take your testimony under oath.

Jeff then states:

During the interview, the Special Agents (they travel in pairs so one can interview and the other takes notes) will find out about other persons who may have knowledge about your sources of income and if there is cash that you may not have disclosed to the IRS. One of the primary goals of the interview is to establish cash on hand because one of the common defenses is uncertainty about cash on hand. If they seem to always appear at the most inconvenient time, it is because they are required to timely obtain confessions or admissions from the subjects and witnesses who may have information about the case. These witnesses may include your spouse, friends, neighbors, your tax return preparer and others including others with whom you may have a business relationship like banks and brokerages.

I must mention here that the tax return preparer must also not talk to the IRS Special Agent without consulting an attorney. This attorney should be different than the attorney who is representing the person who is under IRS criminal investigation.

Amy then asks Jeff:

Methods of Proof that the IRS Special Agents Use to Prove Their Case

Jeff replies:

To prove tax evasion, the IRS Special Agents may use many different methods like:

  1. Specific Item Method: One or more specific transactions that the taxpayer engaged in were not full or accurately reported.
  2. Net Worth Method: Attributes taxable income to the difference between assets and liabilities.
  3. Bank Deposits Method: In case of a business, IRS assumes that proof of deposits is a substantial evidence of taxable revenue receipts.

Amy then states:

Needless to say, each of these methods has its own pros and cons and some defenses. The method that the IRS Special Agent applies depends on the circumstances of the case and in case of businesses, the type of business and the method of accounting employed by that business.

Typically in IRS criminal investigation cases, the Agents are tight lipped about the details of the case. For this reason, at the conclusion of the IRS criminal investigation, your attorney should request a conference with the Special Agents in charge of the investigation. Much can be gleaned from the line of questioning of the Agents.

IRS does give consideration to the fact that you voluntarily disclosed the information that the IRS asked and also your age, health and mental condition. Essentially, the IRS is weighing their chances of winning a case.

Jeff then states:

What Should You Do?

Whether and when to answer questions from the IRS, or whether to stand on your 5th Amendment rights, are questions that only a tax fraud lawyer can help you answer. Your financial well being, as well as your personal freedom may depend on the right answers. If you or your accountant even suspects that you might be subject to a criminal or civil tax fraud penalty, we  can determine how to respond to these inquiries and formulate an effective strategy.

PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment.  Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

Stay tuned as we will be taking some of your questions. You are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team on the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN.

BREAK

Welcome back.  This is KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN and you are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team along with my associate attorney, Amy Spivey.

If you would like to post a question for us to answer, you can go to our website at www.kahntaxlaw.com and click on “Radio Show”.  You can then enter your question and maybe it will be selected for our show.

OK Amy, what questions have you pulled from the kahntaxlaw inbox for me to answer?

  1. Steve from Newport Beach. Do many people cheat on their taxes?

One out of five Americans admitted to cheating the IRS. The IRS says that 15.5% of us don’t fully comply with the tax laws. Undoubtedly the cheating would be greater if wage earners did not have taxes withheld by their employers. Small business owners and self-employed people have the most opportunities to play fast and loose.

Arguably, cheating by self-employed people approaches 100%. It may just be a question of degree—did you ever mail a personal letter with a business-bought stamp?

  1. Nancy from San Diego. If I can’t pay my taxes, should I file my return anyway?

Yes. Filing saves you from the possibility of being criminally charged or, more likely, from being hit with a fine for failing to file or for filing late. Interest continues to build up until you pay. Of course, filing without paying will bring the IRS collector into your life, but she’ll be friendlier if she doesn’t have to hunt you down. The sooner you start filing, the better.

  1. Jose from Chula Vista. Can I get an extension to pay a tax without penalties and interest?

Probably not. Although you can get an extension to file your tax return until October 15, you still must pay by April 15 or the IRS can impose a penalty and charge interest. Try pleading hardship on IRS Form 1127 to get up to six months extra to pay. Few payment extensions are granted. Even then, only penalties, not interest, stop accruing. Form 1127 works best in requesting an extension to pay estate taxes.

  1. Karen from Oceanside. My state had an amnesty period for nonfilers. Can I ever hope the IRS will have one?

Maybe—it is frequently kicked around in Congress. The IRS has always opposed tax amnesty legislation—which lets nonfilers come forward without being criminally prosecuted or civilly fined. The IRS’s reasoning is that after the amnesty period expires, significant numbers of people won’t file, expecting another amnesty. Based on the success of various states trying amnesty programs, I think the IRS is wrong.

PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment.  Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

Thanks Amy for calling into the show.  Amy says Thanks for having me.

Well we are reaching the end of our show.

You can reach out to me on Twitter at kahntaxlaw.  You can also send us your questions by visiting the kahntaxlaw website at www.kahntaxlaw.com.  That’s k-a-h-n tax law.com.

Have a great day everyone!

 

Tools And Tactics That IRS Criminal Investigation Division Uses To Gather Information About You

A simple mistake, oversight, or your accountant’s malpractice may trigger an IRS criminal investigation. Specifically, unreported income, a false statement, the use of an impermissible accounting or banking service, or declaring too many deductions are things that could initiate an audit, which could then rise to the level of an IRS criminal investigation.

As you can imagine, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (“CID”) uses a vast array of tools to investigate a suspected tax evasion case or while conducting a criminal investigation. If you think about it, every employee of the IRS has a single task of ensuring that the IRS tax collections are maximized. IRS Special Agents, who work on the criminal tax cases, are no different. If you file your taxes, their goal is to prove that you may have understated or omitted income or sources of income or you may have falsified sources of income or taken deductions or credits for which you do not qualify.

The tools that the IRS Special Agents have at their disposal include interviewing the suspect, summons, search warrants, and use of grand juries.

Should I talk to the IRS Special Agent during an IRS Criminal Investigation and what are my rights?

Since the IRS Special Agents conduct a criminal investigation, you have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself and the right to an attorney. At your first encounter, the IRS Special Agent will advise you of your rights. You should exercise them and ask for an attorney. The Special Agent is then required to terminate the encounter.

As you can imagine, nothing you say to a Special Agent is off-the-record! If you choose to disregard this advice, the IRS Special Agent will be more than happy to continue with the encounter. You’ll be surprised how people continue to dig themselves into a deeper hole even after all these warnings.

Interview with an IRS Special Agent

The “interview” is the most obvious and also the most common tool is the old fashioned approach of directly asking you if you are engaged in tax evasion. This interview can take place at your home or your place of business or both. When an IRS field officer comes to interview a subject suspected of tax evasion, that officer doesn’t just ask questions. They are also required to assess your standard of living as compared to the income shown on your tax return. In addition, the Special Agents have the legal authority to examine books and records and take your testimony under oath.

During the interview, the Special Agents (they travel in pairs so one can interview and the other takes notes) will find out about other persons who may have knowledge about your sources of income and if there is cash that you may not have disclosed to the IRS. One of the primary goals of the interview is to establish cash on hand because one of the common defenses is uncertainty about cash on hand. If they seem to always appear at the most inconvenient time, it is because they are required to timely obtain confessions or admissions from the subjects and witnesses who may have information about the case. These witnesses may include your spouse, friends, neighbors, your tax return preparer and others including others with whom you may have a business relationship like banks and brokerages.

I must mention here that the tax return preparer must also not talk to the IRS Special Agent without consulting an attorney. This attorney should be different than the attorney who is representing the person who is under IRS criminal investigation.

Methods of Proof that the IRS Special Agents Use to Prove Their Case

To prove tax evasion, the IRS Special Agents may use many different methods like:

  1. Specific Item Method: One or more specific transactions that the taxpayer engaged in were not full or accurately reported.
  2. Net Worth Method: Attributes taxable income to the difference between assets and liabilities.
  3. Expenditures Method of Proof: Taxpayers’ expenses are more than reported sources of income.
  4. Bank Deposits Method: In case of a business, IRS assumes that proof of deposits is a substantial evidence of taxable revenue receipts.
  5. Percentage Markup Method: IRS takes a big data approach and assumes that based on its analysis of a typical business.
  6. Unit and Volume Methods: Estimate receipts based on volume of business activity.

Needless to say, each of these methods has its own pros and cons and some defenses. The method that the IRS Special Agent applies depends on the circumstances of the case and in case of businesses, the type of business and the method of accounting employed by that business.

Typically in IRS criminal investigation cases, the Agents are tight lipped about the details of the case. For this reason, at the conclusion of the IRS criminal investigation, your attorney should request a conference with the Special Agents in charge of the investigation. Much can be gleaned from the line of questioning of the Agents.

IRS does give consideration to the fact that you voluntarily disclosed the information that the IRS asked and also your age, health and mental condition. Essentially, the IRS is weighing their chances of winning a case.

What Should You Do?

Whether and when to answer questions from the IRS, or whether to stand on your 5th Amendment rights, are questions that only a tax fraud lawyer can help you answer. Your financial well being, as well as your personal freedom may depend on the right answers. If you or your accountant even suspects that you might be subject to a criminal or civil tax fraud penalty, the experienced tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego and elsewhere in California can determine how to respond to these inquiries and formulate an effective strategy.

Description: Working with a tax attorney lawyer is the best way to assure that your freedom is protected and to minimize any additional amount you may owe to the IRS.

America’s Manifest Destiny Still Lives On Today As FATCA Imposes Our Will On Banking Worldwide

In the 19th century, Manifest Destiny was a widely held belief in the United States that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent. Historians have for the most part agreed that there are three basic themes to Manifest Destiny: the special virtues of the American people and their institutions; America’s mission to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America; and an irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty. This spirit has endured into the 21st century with the application of FATCA over worldwide banking activity.

Never heard of FATCA? You will.

FATCA—the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act—is America’s global tax law. It was quietly enacted in 2010. And after a four-year ramp up, it is finally in full effect. What is most amazing is not its impact on Americans—although that is considerable—but its impact on the world. Yes, the whole world.

Never before has an American tax law attempted such an astounding reach. And it is clear FATCA has succeeded, after shrewd diplomacy by President Obama and his Treasury Department. FATCA requires foreign banks to reveal Americans to the Department Of Treasury and the IRS with accounts over $50,000. Non-compliant institutions could be frozen out of U.S. markets, so everyone is complying.

Ten Essential Facts About FATCA:

1FATCA Blew In On a Perfect Storm. FATCA grew out of a controversial rule. America taxes its citizens—and even permanent residents—on their worldwide income regardless of where they live. In 2009, the IRS struck a groundbreaking deal with the Swiss banking giant UBS for $780 million in penalties and American names. Recently, Credit Suisse took a guilty plea and paid a record $2.6 billion fine. Since then, all 106 Swiss banks accepted a U.S. Department Of Justice (DOJ) deal and with many other subsequent developments, banking is now more transparent than could ever have been imagined. FATCA was enacted in 2010, when only some of those developments were unfolding. The idea was to cut off companies from access to critical U.S. financial markets if they didn’t pass along American data. And boy did that idea work.

2. Everyone Around the World is Complying. More than 80 nations—including virtually every one that matters—have agreed to the law. As for those few rouge nations that remain that have not signed on, I would question how safe is your money anyways in those countries. So far, over 77,000 financial institutions have signed on too. Countries must throw their agreement behind the law or face dire repercussions. Even tax havens have joined up. The IRS is so proud of this accomplishment that it maintains a searchable list of financial institutions on its website. Click here to check out this list.

3Even Russia and China Agreed to FATCA. If you think money anywhere can escape the IRS, think again. Even notoriously difficult China and Russia are on board. Which is more amazing? Probably Russia. The U.S. and Russia were negotiating a FATCA deal until March, 2014, but Russia’s annexation of Crimea caused the U.S. to suspend talks. That meant Russian financial institutions faced being frozen out of U.S. markets. Russia took last minute action to allow Russian banks to send American taxpayer data to the U.S. when President Vladimir Putin Signed a Law in the 11th Hour to Satisfy U.S. Treasury. By the way, now that the embargo on Cuba has been lifted, the U.S. Treasury will be looking for Cuba to promptly sign on to FATCA as a condition for opening banking relationships.

4FATCA is America’s Big Stick. Cleverly, FATCA’s 30% tax and exclusion from U.S. markets would be so catastrophic that everyone has opted to comply. Foreign financial institutions must withhold a 30% tax if the recipient is not providing information about U.S. account holders. The choice is simple, and that’s why everyone is complying.

5Everyone is on the Lookout for American Indicia. Foreign Financial Institutions (FFI’s) must report account numbers, balances, names, addresses, and U.S. identification numbers. For U.S.-owned foreign entities, they must report the name, address, and U.S. TIN of each substantial U.S. owner. And in what is a kind of global witch hunt, American indicia will likely mean a letter. Don’t ignore it.

6FBAR’s Are Still Required. FBAR’s predate FATCA, but get ready for duplicate reporting. FATCA just adds to the burden, including Form 8938, but it doesn’t replace FBAR’s. The latter have been in the law since 1970 but have taken on huge importance since 2009. U.S. persons with foreign bank accounts exceeding $10,000 must file an FBAR by each June 30. These forms are serious, and so are the criminal and civil penalties. FBAR failures can mean fines up to $500,000 and prison up to ten years. Even a non-willful civil FBAR penalty can mean a $10,000 fine. Willful FBAR violations can draw the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the account for each violation–and each year is separate. The numbers add up fast. Court Upholds Record FBAR Penalties, Exceeding Offshore Account Balance.

7FATCA is Compelling Compliance. U.S. account holders who are not compliant have limited time to get to the IRS. The IRS recently changed its programs, making its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program a little harsher. Yet for those not willing to pay the 27.5% penalty—which rose to 50% August 4, 2014 for some banks—the new IRS’s Streamlined Program may be a good option for those who qualify. The latter applies now to both foreign and U.S.-based Americans. Some still want to amend their taxes and file FBAR’s in a “quiet disclosure” which could bring civil FBAR penalties or even prosecution. Thus, caution is clearly in order.

8Banking Will Never Be the Same. FATCA is making banking transparent worldwide. With Swiss bank deals, prosecutions, John Doe Summonses, and FATCA, the IRS has quicker, better and more complete information than ever.

9Forget Repeal or Dismantling FATCA. Republicans have mounted a lackluster repeal effort, but there’s no serious push to repeal FATCA. Some say FATCA will be like prohibition, lasting for a time but doomed. We’ll see, but it sure doesn’t look that way now.

10Don’t Count on Other Passports. Some dual nationals or U.S. Green Card holders think they can bypass FATCA—and other U.S. tax rules—by using a non-U.S. passport and non-U.S. address with their foreign bank. Don’t succumb to this – you may just make it worse, handing the IRS another badge of willfulness. Your bank and the IRS will likely find out eventually, even if not right away.

Why You Should Do Something About It Before It’s Too Late

Until the government receives your name and account information and chooses to act on that information, you have the opportunity to avoid the possibility of time in a federal prison and reduce the potential civil penalties for failing to report your foreign account. If you have never reported your foreign investments on your U.S. Tax Returns or even if you have already quietly disclosed, you should seriously consider participating in the IRS’s 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”). Once the IRS contacts you, you cannot get into this program and would be subject to the maximum penalties (civil and criminal) under the tax law. Taxpayers who hire an experienced tax attorney in Offshore Account Voluntary Disclosures should result in avoiding any pitfalls and gaining the maximum benefits conferred by this program.

Protect yourself from excessive fines and possible jail time. Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and elsewhere in California qualify you for OVDP.

Description: Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems, get you in compliance with your FBAR filing obligations, and minimize the chance of any criminal investigation or imposition of civil penalties.

Man Convicted Of Threatening To Assault & Kill IRS Agent And Torture The Agent’s Family Over Audit Proceedings

While death and taxes are always certain, take lesson from Andrew A. Calcione that you should never mix them together.

In May 2014, a federal judge found 49-year-old Andrew A. Calcione of Cranston, Rhode Island, guilty of threatening to assault an IRS Revenue Agent, rape and kill the agent’s wife and injure the agent’s daughter while the agent watched before murdering the agent. The reason? Mr. Calcione didn’t want to pay his tax bill of $330,000.

According to government testimony as reported in United States of America v. Andrew A. Calcione, U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island (Providence County), Case No. 1:13-mj-00291-LDA, Mr. Calcione was selected for audit for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. Mr. Calcione’s behavior is also so bizarre because for many years worked as a professional tax return preparer and was a partner in a tax preparation business in Rhode Island. As a result of the audit which was being conducted by an agent out of the IRS office in Warwick, Rhode Island, it appeared that Mr. Calcione would be responsible for an additional $330,000 in tax liability.

In April 2013 while the audit was still in progress, Mr. Calcione and his ex-wife Patricia were asked to sign a form allowing extra time to assess their case. As part of the audit process, an IRS revenue agent requested that Mr. Calcione and his ex-wife sign a Consent to Extend Time to Assess Tax. A consent is almost always requested during audit because, by statute, the Service does not have an unlimited time to examine a tax return. As a general rule, the IRS can’t assess tax more than three years after the later of the date the return was due or the date the return was actually filed (this is sometimes referred to as the statute of limitations) though exceptions may apply. If an audit is bumping up against that statute of limitations, it is sometimes (but not always) advantageous to sign a consent to allow more time to argue your case before the IRS issues a notice of deficiency. In short, it’s a question of timing.

Mr. Calcione signed the document, but his wife did not, spurring the agent to leave a voicemail on

Mr. Calcione’s cell phone asking about the consent on July 12, 2013.

Mr. Calcione called the agent back three days later which was July 15, 2013. He did not, however, call to leave a friendly status update. Rather, according to court documents, Mr. Calcione advised the agent that if he called again, Mr. Calcione would show up at the agent’s home and torture the agent’s family before killing all of them. And he said it all on voicemail.

It wasn’t a run of the mill threat either. The initial call lasted over 3 minutes and contained numerous threats.

Court records reveal the following snippet of the call: “I’m just going to show up where you live. Hmm, and that’s a promise, man. It’s not a threat. I will just show up where you live, and then, it will be the end of it, like that. Huh? Hmm, I’m just right up the street, mother f****r, anytime you’re ready. Yeah … hmm, hmm. Security? Hmm (laughs). This ain’t Fisher Karate, karate, Jiu-Jitsu, f*****g kick boxing, or whatever. I have no problem f*****g blowing your brains … no … I won’t even think twice about it. Matter of fact, I’d shoot you in the f*****g knee caps, tie you to a f*****g chair, gag ya … and then f**k your wife in front of ya, and then blow her f*****g brains out in front of ya and maybe kill your f*****g kid and then maybe [inaudible]. So you can deal with that.”

You’d think that he’d stop there. But he didn’t. Mr. Calcione actually called the agent back on the same day, telling him to “disregard my previous voicemail.” Mr. Calcione went on, according to the agent, to say that the message was intended to mess (though he used a more colorful word) with his daughter.

After receiving the threatening calls, the agent reported Mr. Calcione to the police.

Prosecutors were able to establish that both calls came from a cell phone belonging to Mr. Calcione’s wife. The agent also recognized Mr. Calcione’s voice.

Mr. Calcione later switched up his story and told police that the message was actually intended for his ex-wife (and you wonder why she’s an ex). At some point, it must have dawned on him that none of those stories made any sense so he tried another version, claiming that he had been talking to himself in the car and must have accidentally called the agent using hands-free.

What’s really bizarre is Mr. Calcione’s explanation for the call. He told IRS special agents that the call was intended for his ex-wife who was apparently seeking increased child support (and you wonder why she’s an ex). At some point, it must have dawned on him that this story made no sense so he tried another version claiming that he was merely talking out loud in his car and must have accidentally activated his phone’s hands free calling feature.

Court records reveal that prior to this offense, Mr. Calcione ran a successful financial services business and had no criminal record.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith didn’t buy any of Mr. Calcione’s stories. He found Mr. Calcione guilty of threatening to assault and murder the agent and his family after Mr. Calcione waived a jury trial.

Following the conviction, the U.S. government made several statements:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan had prosecuted the case and his boss, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha referred to Mr. Calcione’s behavior as “outrageous, threatening, and frankly bizarre noting that “[t]he vast majority of Americans understand the payment of their federal taxes is part of their civic responsibilities.” Mr. Neronha went on to say that his office would be “seeking the toughest, appropriate sense in this case.”

J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, stated that “the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration works aggressively to protect IRS employees from individuals who seek to impair the integrity of tax administration by threatening harm or committing violent acts.”

Special Agent in Charge Robert E. O’Malley of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division stated that “threats and assaults directed against IRS employees are investigated and pursued to the fullest extent of the law.” Adding, “we will continue to place a priority on ensuring the safety of IRS employees by working towards the arrest, conviction, and sentencing of the perpetrator.”

For the record, while bad behavior and threats can always be considered criminal, there are special rules which apply with dealing with the feds. Federal law provides that “knowingly and intentionally threaten to assault and murder a Revenue Agent of the IRS with intend to interfere with the official in the performance of official duties and knowingly and intentionally threaten to assault and murder a member of the immediate family of a Revenue Agent of the IRS are each punishable by statutory penalties of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.”

That meant that Mr. Calcione could face up to 20 years for his crimes.

But on September 27, 2014 in U.S. Federal District Court he was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison. Although part of the record is sealed, what is public suggests that Mr. Calcione may have tried to claim an anxiety disorder as a reason for his bizarre behavior. If true, he will have plenty of time to meditate while in prison. By the way, his tax bill of $330,000.00 will still be waiting for him when he completes his sentence.

Don’t Take The Chance And Lose Everything You Have Worked For.

Protect yourself. If you are being audited or investigated by IRS or in danger of wage garnishments or bank levies or having a tax lien placed against your property, stand up to the IRS and your State Tax Agency by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including tax audits, criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.

Description: Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems to allow you to have a fresh start.

Beware Of New E-Mail Scam Using The IRS Name Targeting Foreign Taxpayers With U.S. Bank Accounts

An e-mail claiming to come from the IRS claims:

Our records indicate that you are a Non-resident, and that you are exempted from the United States of America Tax reporting and withholding on interest paid to you on your account and other financial benefits. To protect your exemption from tax on your account and other financial benefits, you need to re-certify your exempt status to enable us confirm your records with us. Therefore, you are required to authenticate the following by completing form W-8BEN attached and return same to us as soon as possible with a valid copy of government issued Identification (e.g., International Passport) through the email at the bottom of the form.”

This appears to be an identity theft scheme to obtain recipients’ personal and financial information so the scammers can clean out their victims’ financial accounts. In reality, a request for a Form W-8BEN, W-8 or W-9 would be made directly by your bank not the IRS.

Why Banks Need Your Social Security Number.

A social security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued by the Social Security Administration to all U.S. citizens, permanent residents and temporary working residents. The purpose of a social security number is to track individuals for taxation purposes. Federal law requires private businesses to collect an SSN when the Internal Revenue Service requires notification of the transaction. Banks and other financial institutions require individuals to provide an SSN when engaging in financial transactions.

Banks are required by federal law to participate in a Customer Identification Program for the opening of new accounts. Individuals opening up a checking account, savings account or renting a safe deposit box are required to provide the bank with a valid name, date of birth, current mailing address, and a social security number. Banks are required to verify the accuracy of the information by also requesting proof of identification in the form of a driver license, passport or by contacting a credit reporting agency that would have information on file based on the SSN. Banks are also required to obtain a SSN on existing accounts and where there is no SSN, the banks are required to withhold tax at the source (that means your bank account) and remit your money to the IRS. Banks check the SSN against government terror lists, to limit terrorist financing and fight against money laundering.

How The Scam Works.

Using a technique calculated to get almost anyone’s attention, the e-mail notifies the recipient that he or she to protect their exemption from tax on interest paid to you on your account and other financial benefits you must complete a tax form with their identifying information (such as Form W-8BEN) and email it back along with a copy of a government-issued ID.

Unusual for a scam e-mail, it may contain a salutation in the body addressed to the specific recipient by name. These scam e-mails are sent using the same technique used by spammers, in which hundreds of thousands of messages are sent to potential victims based on Internet address. Because of the volume, the typical scam e-mail is not personalized.

Beware this e-mail is a phony. The IRS does not send unsolicited, tax-account related e-mails to taxpayers. Also, any domain name in sender’s email or reply email address contained in the email are not legitimate as the domain name for IRS is “irs.gov”.

So What Should You Do?

If you get an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for your identification, here’s what you should do:

Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

And if you do owe taxes and you have not already resolved this with the IRS or you have not disclosed your foreign accounts as required by the IRS, then that is where we come in. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.

Description: Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. resolve your IRS tax problems to allow you to have a fresh start.

Jeffrey B. Kahn, Esq. Discusses taxes, the IRS and undisclosed foreign accounts On ESPN Radio – January 30, 2015 Show

Topics Covered:
1. Does The National Football League Deserve Tax-Exempt Status?
2. Hiding Money Or Income Offshore Among The List Of Tax Scams For The 2015 Filing Season
3. Programs And Plans Available To Taxpayers To Resolve Outstanding IRS debts And Avoid Collection Action

4. Questions From Our Listeners:

a. Is there an advantage to hire a former IRS agent over a tax attorney?

b. My CPA who prepared my tax return which has now been selected for audit, wants to represent me – why should I decline his offer and hire a tax attorney?

Yes we are all working for the tax man!

Good afternoon! Welcome to the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show.
This is your host Board Certified Tax Attorney, Jeffrey B. Kahn, the principal attorney of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. and head of the KahnTaxLaw team.
You are listening to my weekly radio show where we talk everything about taxes from the ESPN 1700 AM Studio in San Diego, California.

When it comes to knowing tax laws and paying taxes, let’s face it — everyone in the U.S. is either in tax trouble, on their way to tax trouble, or trying to avoid tax trouble!

It is my objective to make you smarter so that you legally pay the least tax as possible, avoid tax problems and be aware of the strategies and solutions if you are being targeted by the IRS or any State tax agency.

Our show is broadcasted each Friday at 2:00PM Pacific Time and replays are available on demand by logging into our website at www.kahntaxlaw.com.
I have a lot to cover today in the world of taxes and helping me out will be my associate attorney Amy Spivey who will be calling in later in today’s show.

Today’s Big Story: Does The National Football League Deserve Tax-Exempt Status?

You know that with this weekend being the Super Bowl game it seems everywhere I go somebody is talking about this big event.

Besides the match-up of the Seahawks and the Patriots, people are excited over the entertainment and half-time show, what celebrities will be attending the game and of course – the commercials.

Sponsors present their best commercials during the Super Bowl, and the big game wouldn’t be the same without them. For the advertising community, the Super Bowl is their Super Bowl, and often creates commercials specifically for the enormous viewership that the game provides. For many, watching the commercials is the most entertaining part of the Super Bowl. Advertisers try to get their money’s worth by unveiling their most creative and innovative spots.

And so with the Super Bowl 49 coming up, what does taxes have to do with football?

Well as I said one of the things we look forward to are the commercials. The cost to air a 30-second commercial during the 2015 Super Bowl is $4.5M. $4.5M dollars!

How about the cost of a ticket to attend the Super Bowl? Well the cheapest seat – and this is face value – is $800.00. The more expensive seats (and I am not even talking about suites) go up to $1,900.00. For that price I will pass and instead buy one of those 80 inch screen TV’s which I can enjoy every day! I just can’t justify paying that much to go to a game when I can sit in the comfort of my own home and not have to worry about beer sales closing at the end of the third quarter.

Now here is a fact that is not so widely known – the National Football Association which you figure makes a ton of money is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt entity. You heard me right – the National Football League does not pay income taxes as any for-profit-company would.

How can this be?

Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the exemption from tax entities which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.

Those entities are specifically:

  1. business leagues,
  2. chambers of commerce,
  3. real estate boards,
  4. boards of trade and
  5. professional football leagues.

It’s obviously notable that only professional football leagues are included here, as opposed to all sporting leagues.

It seems inconceivable that the NFL is not “engaging in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit.”

How are their efforts to maximize profits any different than those of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association or the National Hockey League? Those organizations do not have tax-exempt status.

Well professional football leagues were not always included in this list. This change dates back to 1966, when the tax code was amended to give a professional football league tax-exempt status in order to facilitate the merger of the NFL and the old American Football League.

In order to have that status, the NFL must be run as a charitable foundation. In 2012, they gave away a meager $2.3 million. Almost all of it–$2.1 million– went to the NFL Hall of Fame. Oh by the way, last time I checked the price of Adult admission to the Hall of Fame was $24.00 ($17.00 for a child). The average admission price (including free admission museums) for all museums in the United States is $8.00.

In 2012, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $29.5 million to run the organization. More crazy: Goodell’s salary is 1/10th of what the NFL claimed in total assets for 2012– $255 million. Even crazier: Goodell made 15 times what the NFL donated to other charities. Extremely crazier: the amount of charitable donations made by the NFL equaled one-one hundredth of their annual income.

Here are the stats: The NFL’s most recent Form 990 filed with the IRS ended on March 31, 2012. They claimed revenue of $255 million, up from $240 million in 2011. So, if you were concerned, things are good. The NFL has assets of over $822 million.

Under “grants”– meaning donations to other non profit organizations, the NFL did increase the number from just over $900,000 to $2.3 million. Generous right? However: the NFL’s executive salaries increased by $27 million to a total of over $107 million.

Here’s the best part: after all that, thanks to creative thinking, the NFL claims it finished the year in the red with negative $316 million.

What else did they spend money on? Well, for one thing, new office construction cost $36 million. That’s thirty six million dollars.

Just to put all this in perspective: going by numbers in Forbes, Goodell would come in at around number 28 of the highest paid CEO’s in 2012. He made more than the heads of FedEx, AT&T, Heinz, Ford Motors, Goldman Sachs, as well as Rupert Murdoch.

And remember, all those other businesses are for profit, not tax free foundations.

And if you’re wondering about the other sporting leagues, neither Major League Baseball nor the National Basketball Association is registered as a charity, foundation or trade organization. They each gave up their tax- free status years ago.

But don’t think that if you go on NFL.com and order super bowl tickets you can claim a charitable deduction. Why?

You see that when you make a donation to a charity and receive a benefit back, the amount deductible is only the excess of your contribution over the benefit you receive. Also, your charitable deduction cannot include the value of any benefits you received from the charity.  An example would be where you paid $200 to attend a charitable ball for which the charity states that the value of the ticket is $75.  In such an instance your charitable deduction would be $125.

Going back to whether the NFL should get to keep its tax-exempt status, the important thing here is that WE THE PEOPLE through our politicians in Washington DC granted the NFL this tax exemption, even if it was decades ago. This is no different that us granting the NFL’s anti-trust exemption for negotiating television broadcast contracts. As a result, should that exemption be revoked if the NFL blacks out its fans, forces fans to pay for personal seat licenses, extorts public money from municipalities by threatening to move teams, etc.? The NFL may technically be a “nonprofit,” but is it really acting in the public interest?

Well it’s time for a break but stay tuned because we are going to tell you about a big tax scam the IRS is following for people who have foreign accounts.

You are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team on the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN.

BREAK

Welcome back. This is KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN and you are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team.

Calling into the studio from our San Francisco Office is my associate attorney, Amy Spivey.

Chit chat with Amy

Jeff opens with: Hiding Money Or Income Offshore Among The List Of Tax Scams For The 2015 Filing Season

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was proud to announce that “the recent string of successful enforcement actions against offshore tax cheats and the financial organizations that help them shows that it’s a bad bet to hide money and income offshore and he encouraged taxpayers to come in voluntarily and getting their taxes and filing requirements in order.”

But most taxpayers do not know what they need to report or how to get in compliance which is why we make this offer – PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment. Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

Jeff states, Since the first Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) opened in 2009, the IRS reports there have been more than 50,000 disclosures and the IRS has collected more than $7 billion from this initiative alone.  The IRS also has conducted thousands of offshore-related civil audits that have produced tens of millions of dollars. Finally, the IRS has also pursued criminal charges leading to billions of dollars in criminal fines and restitutions.

Jeff asks Amy, now you have information on a multi-national conference dealing with this area.

Amy states, The IRS remains committed to top priority efforts to stop offshore tax evasion wherever it occurs.  Even though the IRS has faced several years of budget reductions, the IRS continues to pursue cases in all parts of the world, regardless of whether the person hiding money overseas chooses a bank with no offices on U.S. soil. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) co-hosted a three-day International Criminal Tax Symposium in Washington, D.C. starting January 27, 2015.  The symposium focused on combating offshore tax evasion and international financial crimes—including cyber-crime—and brought together delegates from criminal tax and enforcement programs from Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Jeff states:

Tax Scam: Hiding Income Offshore

Through the years, offshore accounts have been used to lure taxpayers into scams and schemes which usually peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire people to help with their taxes. Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shut down scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

Over the years, numerous individuals have been identified as evading U.S. taxes by hiding income in offshore banks, brokerage accounts or nominee entities and then using debit cards, credit cards or wire transfers to access the funds. Others have employed foreign trusts, employee-leasing schemes, private annuities or insurance plans for the same purpose.

The IRS uses information gained from its investigations to pursue taxpayers with undeclared accounts, as well as the banks and bankers suspected of helping clients hide their assets overseas.

Amy states:

Big Penalties For Non-compliance – Jail-time Is Possible.

While there are legitimate reasons for maintaining financial accounts abroad, there are reporting requirements that need to be fulfilled. U.S. taxpayers who maintain such accounts and who do not comply with reporting requirements are breaking the law and risk significant penalties and fines, as well as the possibility of criminal prosecution.

Separate from United States income tax returns, many U.S. persons are required to file with the U.S. Treasury a return commonly known as an “FBAR” (or Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts; known as FinCEN Form 114), listing all non-US bank and financial accounts. These forms are required if on any day of any calendar year an individual has ownership of or signature authority over non-US bank and financial accounts with an aggregate (total) balance greater than the equivalent of $10,000.

Jeff states:

The penalties for FBAR noncompliance are stiffer than the civil tax penalties ordinarily imposed for delinquent taxes.

Failing to file an FBAR can carry a civil penalty of $10,000 for each non-willful violation. But if your violation is found to be willful, the penalty is the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the amount in the account for each violation—and each year you didn’t file is a separate violation. By the way the IRS can go back as far as 6 years to charge you with violations.

Criminal penalties for FBAR violations are even more frightening, including a fine of $250,000 and 5 years of imprisonment. If the FBAR violation occurs while violating another law (such as tax law, which it often will) the penalties are increased to $500,000 in fines and/or 10 years of imprisonment. Many violent felonies are punished less harshly.

Amy states:

Voluntary Disclosure.

Since 2009, the IRS has provided several programs for taxpayers to disclose their offshore accounts, potentially reduce their financial liability, and avoid criminal prosecution. And, with new foreign account reporting requirements being phased in over the next few years, hiding income offshore is increasingly more difficult.

The IRS further warned that it is obtaining a significant amount of information regarding offshore tax evasion from its enforcement efforts as well as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which will require foreign financial institutions to start disclosing the identities of U.S. accountholders as early as March 2015.

Jeff states, now there are different voluntary disclosure programs available so let’s break them down for our listeners.

Amy please tell us about the regular program.

Amy says, The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) provides protection from criminal prosecution and offers fixed terms for resolving civil tax and penalty liabilities. Instead of the multitude of potential penalties, the OVDP generally allows taxpayers to pay a 27.5% miscellaneous penalty on the highest aggregate balance of undisclosed accounts, pay tax on any undisclosed income for the last 8 years, and pay interest on such income. The OVDP offers significant benefits, but a successful conclusion requires multiple complex steps. 

Amy please tell us about the streamlined program.

Amy says, Effective July 1, 2014, the Streamlined Disclosure Programs provide potential alternative methods for taxpayers to address their offshore reporting delinquencies. Under the Streamlined Disclosure Programs, taxpayers file three years of amended or delinquent returns and six years of FBAR’s, but are subject to a reduced penalty structure. U.S. residents pay a penalty of 5% of the highest balance of their offshore accounts, while non-U.S. resident taxpayers are subject to no penalty on their account balances. However, to participate in the Streamlined Disclosure Programs, the IRS requires taxpayers to certify that their failure to disclose their accounts was non-willful.

Jeff states,

What Should You Do?

If you have never reported your foreign investments on your U.S. Tax Returns or even if you have already quietly disclosed or in 2012 OVDI, you should seriously consider participating in the IRS’s 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”). Once the IRS contacts you, you cannot get into this program and would be subject to the maximum penalties (civil and criminal) under the tax law.

Protect yourself from excessive fines and possible jail time. PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment. Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

Stay tuned because after the break we are going to tell you how one person who owed the IRS about $60,000.00 ended up getting $862,000.00 from them.

You are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team on the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN.

BREAK

Welcome back. This is KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN and you are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team.

And on the phone from our San Francisco office I have my associate attorney, Amy Spivey.

Programs And Plans Available To Taxpayers To Resolve Outstanding IRS debts And Avoid Collection Action

Now listen to how one person who owed the IRS about $60,000.00 ended up getting $862,000.00 from them. This is a true story taken from the New York Post.

Jeff to talk about the story.

A taxpayer who met with a Revenue Officer at an Internal Revenue Service office on Long Island successfully sued the IRS for $862,000 after he was injured by tripping over a phone cord.

William Berroyer claimed in his lawsuit that he could no longer play golf or have intimate relations with his wife more than once a month after he fell during a 2008 conference with a Revenue Officer at an IRS office in Hauppauge, N.Y., according to the New York Post. He had visited the offices to work out a payment agreement for a $60,000 tax bill when he tripped on the phone cord and fell against a cabinet.

After leaving the office, he telephoned the IRS Revenue Officer from the parking lot to inform him that he had lost the sense of feeling in his leg and was suffering from shoulder pain. He then spent 17 days in hospitals and rehabilitation centers recovering from his injury.

In his lawsuit he claimed $10 million in damages. Attorneys for the IRS claimed he was exaggerating his injury, but the judge ultimately awarded him $862,000 for pain and suffering. And the big prize is because this was for pain and suffering, he won’t have to pay taxes on the damages!

So now that the IRS has tucked away all their telephone cords, how can taxpayers who owe the IRS avoid collection action? You need to have a plan.

PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment. Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

Amy what are some of the plans that persons may incorporate to resolve outstanding IRS debts and avoid collection action?

Jeff to introduce each one, followed by Amy’s explanation and then Jeff to further comment.

1. Extension of Time to Pay — This is different than the extension you file on April 15th which that extension gives you an extra 6 months (to October 15th) to file your income tax return but any monies from that tax return still remain due April 15th. Instead this Extension of Time to Pay is offered by Collections after the tax returns have been filed. You may be eligible for a short extension of time to pay of up to 120 days. This might be a desirable option for you if are able to pay the taxes in full within the extended timeframe – due to an expected sale or liquidation of assets, securing financing, an expected gift or inheritance, or an expected bonus.

2. Offer In Compromise. This is a formal application to the IRS requesting that it accept less than full payment for what you owe in taxes, interest, and penalties.

An offer in compromise may allow you to settle back taxes or IRS liability at a substantial discount on the basis of doubt as to collectability, liability, or effective tax administration.

In addition, while your offer is under consideration, the Internal Revenue Service is prohibited from instituting any levies of your assets and wages.

Most people do not have the necessary skills or knowledge of the IRS collection process to make an offer in compromise that is in their best interest and can be processed by the IRS.

Government figures show that 75% of offers are returned at the beginning due to forms being filled out incorrectly, and of the 25% that are processed, approximately 50% are rejected.

3. Installment Agreement. Allows you to pay IRS debt in full in smaller, more manageable amounts, usually in equal monthly payments.

The amount of your installment payment will be based on the amount you owe and your ability to pay that amount within the time available to the IRS to collect tax debt from you.  However, be aware that because you are financing your liability with IRS, interest and penalties will continue to accrue.

Most installment agreements are set up with level monthly payments but there are also different types and terms of installment agreements which if you qualify may be more suitable for you.  The variations are not publicly offered by IRS – only a seasoned tax professional would know to ask for them.

4. Uncollectible Status. Occurs when the IRS has determined that they are presently unable to collect the taxes from the taxpayer by full payment, through an Installment Agreement or by way of an Offer in Compromise.

Once the account is placed on an Uncollectible Status, the IRS does not pursue collection activity against the taxpayer and the statute of limitations on the tax liabilities will continue to run.

Generally, unless the taxpayer’s financial situation changes, the account will remain on an Uncollectible Status until the tax liabilities expire. However, if the taxpayer’s financial situation improves the account will be taken off of Uncollectible Status so that the IRS can collect the taxes through full payment or an Installment Agreement.

Uncollectible Status although temporary could provide interim relief to taxpayers who all of a sudden run into financial hardship.

PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment. Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

Stay tuned as we will be taking some of your questions. You are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team on the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN.

BREAK

Welcome back. This is KahnTaxLaw Radio Show on ESPN and you are listening to Jeffrey Kahn the principal tax attorney of the kahntaxlaw team along with my associate attorney, Amy Spivey.

If you would like to post a question for us to answer, you can go to our website at www.kahntaxlaw.com and click on “Radio Show”. You can then enter your question and maybe it will be selected for our show.

OK Amy, what questions have you pulled from the kahntaxlaw inbox for me to answer?

1. John of Newport Beach, CA asks: Is there an advantage to hire a former IRS agent over a tax attorney?

Jeff to respond

What I find is that IRS agents are trained to deal with matters that are black and white. However many times matters are gray and that’s where a tax attorney can plead a case to your benefit and get the best resolution possible.

Agents are also typically regulated to a single function in IRS – such as an auditor whose job is solely to conduct tax audits. How can that agent then be able to help you get an Offer In Compromise? A tax attorney is experienced in all these areas so no matter what your tax problem is, you will have effective representation and should get the best possible outcome.

2. Kevin of Escondido, CA asks: My CPA who prepared my tax return which has now been selected for audit, wants to represent me – why should I decline his offer and hire a tax attorney?

Jeff to respond

CPA’s prepare tax returns and there are a lot of CPA’s and other tax professionals who a great in preparing tax returns.

A taxpayer will provide them with information and tax documents and a return will be generated for filing with the IRS. This process I refer to as “compliance”.

But a tax attorney will focus on “representation” – meaning that the cases taken on by the attorney are when the IRS is questioning a return or making other civil or even criminal inquiries of a taxpayer.

A tax attorney being familiar with the “representation” aspect, knows who to speak to at IRS and how to best present your case. The tax attorney can also devote full attention to your attention at any time since the tax attorney’s workload is not jammed like the CPA’s workload during tax season who is busy with tax return preparation and more focused over meeting filing deadlines and therefore cannot provide the needed attention to your case.

Speaking of civil and criminal inquiries, a taxpayer who engages a tax attorney also gets the benefit of attorney-client privilege. This benefit allows that taxpayer to freely discuss with his attorney any matters or issues without the threat of these communications being disclosed to the government or anyone else. You do not get this level of privilege when dealing with non-attorneys.

Lastly with the tax attorney there is no conflict of interest. The best way to explain this is by example – if a great defense is to rely on what the tax preparer did, do you think your tax preparer will put himself under the bus to save you from the IRS – chances are not. A tax attorney who had no involvement in the preparation of your returns can make these arguments thus truly serving your best interests.

PLUG: The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn will provide you with a Tax Resolution Plan which is a $500.00 value for free as long as you mention the KahnTaxLaw Radio Show when you call to make an appointment. Call our office to make an appointment to meet with me, Jeffrey Kahn, right here in downtown San Diego or at one of my other offices close to you. The number to call is 866.494.6829. That is 866.494.6829.

Thanks Amy for calling into the show. Amy says Thanks for having me.

Well we are reaching the end of our show.

You can reach out to me on Twitter at kahntaxlaw. You can also send us your questions by visiting the kahntaxlaw website at www.kahntaxlaw.com. That’s k-a-h-n tax law.com.

Have a great day everyone!