Avoiding Penalties Through the First Time Abate Policy

Taxpayers who are facing a potentially large IRS penalty for late or unpaid taxes may be eligible for relief through the First Time Abate policy. This provides an opportunity for people who have fallen behind to become current on their tax obligations while eliminating any penalties from a previous tax issue. The First Time Abate program allows a person to work with an IRS attorney to relieve the stress in their lives.

In order to qualify for the First Time Abate program, a taxpayer needs to have not had a previous delinquency with the IRS. You will want to work with an income tax attorney to determine if your case qualifies for the First Time Abate policy, as not all types of tax filings are eligible to have penalties waived. Examples of event filings that could qualify include:

  • Form 706 U.S. Estate Tax Returns
  • Form 709 United States Gift Tax Returns
  • Form 1120 U.S. Corporation Income Tax Returns

You’ll need to be current with your taxes in order to be eligible to have your penalties waived through the First Time Abate policy. This means that if you have taxes that aren’t fully paid off but you are on a payment plan negotiated between your tax attorney in San Jose and the IRS, you can still qualify.

The First Time Abate policy gives you a second chance at resolving a tax problem. If you are facing penalties but can’t prove “reasonable cause” that you can’t afford the penalties, the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. believes you should consider the First Time Abate policy.

Amending a Filing Will Not Trigger an Audit

There is a common belief that if you amend your tax return, you are raising a red flag for an IRS tax lawyer to trigger a review of your return. In fact, many people won’t correct an incorrect, previously-filed

tax return because they are afraid of a potential audit. This is the wrong approach to take. The Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. urges you to correct any errors on past tax returns in order to avoid potential problems in the future.

The reality is that you won’t trigger an audit by amending a previous tax return. If the IRS did this, it would be a major deterrent for taxpayers to correct mistakes or update previous tax filings with new information. The IRS wants people to pay the right amount in taxes and not overpay or underpay. Allowing taxpayers the chance to work with an Orange County tax lawyer to amend their previous filings makes sense for the IRS as well as taxpayers.

An amended tax filing will go through the same audit review process as any other filing. If you are concerned about how a change in your filing status might impact an audit review, make sure to provide a detailed description of why you are changing your filing status on your Form 1040X.

Not only will you not automatically trigger a tax audit by amending your tax return, you may leave yourself open to serious issues in the future if you don’t correct a tax filing. Not correcting a filing can be viewed similarly as willingly making a false tax filing and could open you up for major consequences that require a criminal tax attorney.

Warding Off a Tax Levy with a Payment Plan

If you owe more in taxes than you can afford, you have several options to avoid going into default and incurring a tax lien or levy. One way to avoid protracted tax levy and lien issues with an IRS lawyer is to enter into a payment plan. Working with the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. is one of the most effective ways to negotiate a payment plan with the IRS that is right for you.

Depending on how much you owe will drive how much verification information/documents that IRS requires to consider a payment plan.  If you owe more than $50,000 in taxes, the IRS will require full verification of your financial information.  Likewise, if you are self-employed, you can expect the IRS to look at your financial information. No matter how much you owe, the IRS will be looking to set up a payment plan that will erase your debt within 60 or 72 months. If you owe more than you can pay within that timeframe, you’ll want to hire in tax lawyer in Fairfield or elsewhere to work on an Offer of Compromise to potentially reduce your debt.

You have a strong chance of having your payment plan accepted if you owe less than $10,000 and meet certain requirements including:

  • Having filed taxes on time for the previous five years while paying in full and not having requested an installation agreement.
  • Showing the IRS that you are unable to pay your tax bill in full.
  • Agreeing to pay your debt within three years.

Working with a tax attorney lawyer is the best way to assure that you get a payment plan that works for your situation and prevents IRS collection action to be taken against you.

The Pros and Cons of an Installment Agreement

Owing back taxes doesn’t mean that you have to live in fear of penalties, the garnishment of wages or even criminal prosecution. If you live in the Bay Area and owe back taxes, it makes sense to work with a tax attorney in San Francisco to find a way to settle your debts. The IRS has several options available for taxpayers who owe back taxes and one of the easiest to enter into an installment agreement with the IRS. Before you reach out to a tax settlement attorney, learn a bit more about this option.

With an installment agreement, you pay off your tax debt in monthly installments. It eases the burden on you and allows you to pay off the debt in a comfortable manner. If you fail to make a payment, you do run the risk of going into default; setting up an automatic payment method such as direct withdrawal can help you to avoid this. 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.  Before you set up an installment agreement, you’ll want to contact an IRS audit attorney to determine what type of installment agreement would be best.

An installment agreement isn’t always the perfect option. For example, if you owe a large amount of money and can only afford to make minimum payments each month, you might find yourself paying for years without making a major dent into the principal amount that you owe. In this case, an option like an Offer in Compromise might be the better choice for you. Contacting the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. can help you in evaluating your options.

Using an Offer in Compromise to Avoid a Tax Lien

Working with a tax lawyer in Los Angeles to reach an Offer in Compromise with the IRS is an effective tool for reducing the amount you owe in federal taxes. It can save you from dire consequences such as a lien against your property or having your wages garnished. If you are seeking an Offer in Compromise to reduce your debt and avoid a tax lien, the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. wants to let you know some variables that the IRS will consider when evaluating your case:

Health: If you have recurring health issues that are keeping you from earning a steady paycheck. The IRS might consider this as a factor in reducing or even eliminating the amount you owe in taxes. This may also happen if you are caring for a seriously ill dependent.

Age: People who are nearing or past retirement age will have less prospects for earning money in the future; this will mean that a tax relief attorney can sometimes successfully argue for the IRS to collect a smaller amount upfront to settle the debt since there is no guarantee of long-term future payments.

Amount of Offer: Working with a tax attorney can help you to greatly reduce the amount of your tax debt whereby you can settle for “pennies on the dollar”.  Because every potential Offer In Compromise is different, an offer amount that would be suitable for one taxpayer may not be high enough for another taxpayer.  That is where professional guidance from the tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. comes in handy as we can set the balance between paying the lowest amount possible to the IRS with providing an Offer that the IRS would be interested in accepting — even though it’s for a small percentage of the total amount owed.

IRS Increases User Fee For Establishment Of Payment Plan

Effective January 1, 2014, the user fee charged by IRS to establish a payment plan has been increased from $105.00 to $120.00.

If you cannot pay all that you owe now and do not qualify for an offer in compromise, an IRS installment agreement may be your next best option. Payment Agreements allow 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.

The IRS has different types of plan available and some even allow the IRS to refrain from filing a Federal Tax Lien which if filed would adversely effect your credit.  Additionally, the IRS cannot levy against your property (1) while your request for a Payment Agreement is under consideration, (2) while your agreement is in effect, (3) for 30 days after your request for an agreement has been rejected, or (4) for any period while an appeal of the rejection is being evaluated by the IRS.

Most people do not have the necessary skills or knowledge of the IRS collection process to propose a payment plan that can meet IRS standards and be within a person’s budget.

The tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. have extensive experience with getting reasonable payment plans processed by the IRS for the lowest possible monthly payment and secure a final acceptance with IRS.

IRS Increases Application Fee For Offer In Compromise

Effective April 27, 2020, the application fee charged by IRS to apply for an Offer In Compromise has been increased from $186.00 to $205.00.

Established by the Internal Revenue Service, the Offer in Compromise Program 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.

The tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. have extensive experience with getting Offers processed by the IRS for the lowest possible amount and secure a final acceptance with IRS.

Avoiding Increases in Taxes in Audits on Art Appraisals

Whether you are dealing with art given to you as a gift, or art you inherited as part of an estate or art that you are giving as a charitable donation, there are plenty of potential tax implications. An experienced tax attorney can help you avoid potential tax problems that can arise where there is no art appraisal or there is an incorrectly performed appraisal.

When does the IRS order its own art appraisals? The IRS requires that its own Art Advisory Panel appraise any artwork reported by a taxpayer with a claimed value of more than $50,000.

Who is part of the Art Advisory Panel? You won’t find a tax lawyer on the Art Advisory Panel. Instead, it is made up of 25 different artists, art historians and museum curators who serve without compensation.

What about art with values below $50,000? For deductions claimed on art pieces with a value greater than $5,000, you need to receive a written deduction from a qualified art appraiser. For pieces with a value of between $5,000 and $20,000, the IRS also requires a photograph of the art along with the written appraisal.

How long should I keep a copy of the appraisal? The IRS can challenge any valuation of greater than $5,000 for up to four years after the initial filing, so the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. strongly recommends that you store copies of this information where you can retrieve it when needed.

Avoiding Increases in Taxes in IRS Audits over Your Charitable Giving

Giving money or goods to a charity is admirable but it can also lead to headaches with the IRS if you don’t do it right. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. have dealt with many cases where charity donations being claimed incorrectly were picked up in tax audits and the IRS was looking to assess penalties. As a leading tax attorney in San Francisco, we can offer some tips that can help you to avoid potential problems down the road with a tax filing relating to your charitable giving.

Donating Clothes and Household Goods: One common issue that IRS tax attorneys see with charitable giving comes from donating clothes and household items. If you donate goods with a value of more than $250, you need to get an acknowledgement of the donation in writing from the charity.

Donating Money: If you make a donation of more than $250 to a charity, you need to receive a letter acknowledging this donation from the charity in order to claim a tax exemption. If your donation is under $250, you can either use this type of letter or a bank statement, canceled check or credit card statement as proof of the donation.

Eligible Donations: One of the major issues that an IRS agent will see as a red flag is claiming an ineligible donation. In order for your donation to be tax-deductible, the organization you give it to has to be a registered Exempt Organization.  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.

Claiming Deductions for a Home Office

The tax law allows qualified taxpayers to deduct a home office.  However, because the IRS perceives that taxpayers either misuse or abuse this deduction, the IRS puts these taxpayers at a higher risk for audit. The tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. can provide you with guidance in balancing the benefit of the home-office deduction and risk of such deduction being denied by the IRS in an audit.

An IRS audit usually involves many complex tax law issues besides entitlement to and amount of a home-office deduction which we see on a regular basis. With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are looking to claim a home office:

Dedicated Space: Any space in your home that you claim to be your home office needs to be exclusively dedicated to work use. This means that if you have a room in your home that solely functions as your work office, you can claim it. But you can’t claim your kitchen table.

Regular Use: You also need to regularly use your home office space for work in order to claim a deduction. This doesn’t mean that you have to be there working from 9 to 5 every day, but it does mean that you need to work from home frequently.

Indirect Deductions: You can claim 100 percent of your deductions for direct work expenses like your computer, printer or upkeep on your work space. You can also claim a partial deduction for home-related items such as mortgage payments and utility bills. This is prorated based on the size of your home office.