Sunday, April 09, 2017

TOGETHERNESS. “Where togetherness is, there be dragons

Tax Justice Blog, Tax Justice Digest: Offshore Cash, Gas Tax and BAT

Career Corner. As Far As Horrible Bosses Go, The Ex-Fox News Comptroller Is Up There (Caleb Newquist, Going Concern)

No, not the recent television show; I’m showing my age, remembering the days, pre-Betty Friedan, when Otis Wiese devised a brilliant advertising slogan: “Togetherness, inspired by McCall’s, of course.”

If you remember McCall’s magazine in that iteration, you probably are eligible for Medicare, but the “togetherness” can be costly at any age if you amend your tax returns.

To tell you how, here’s Bradley A. Ballard and Poncella Ballard, 2017 T. C. Memo. 57, filed 4/6/17. Brad and Poncella have other problems than the one I will discuss, but hopefully your clients don’t have those. Judge Nega nails Brad for tax fraud. Poncella escapes the fraud chop, but the deficiencies are there.
Lew Taishoff, TOGETHERNESS. “Where togetherness is, there be dragons.”

Robert Wood,IRS Polices What Is Tax Planning Or Tax Evasion:
Taxes are complex, and mistakes happen. But the burden is on you to show that you acted reasonably (such as by relying on professional tax advice). If you can’t, you will probably end up with penalties.
The size of penalties varies, but often they are 25%. Higher penalties or even criminal prosecution is possible. The burden can be placed on you to prove you are right or that your mistakes were innocent. If the IRS believes you were trying to cheat, you could face a 75% penalty or even criminal prosecution. Most criminal tax cases start with civil audits. Innocent mistakes can often be forgiven if you can show that you tried to comply and got some advice. But it would be a mistake to assume that just about anything can be called an innocent mistake.
What might seem like a wonderful theory over a beer with your buddies can seem pretty lame when you have to explain it to a revenue agent, or a judge

Jack Townsend, IRS Criminal Tax Statistics. He summarizes from IRS statistics

Jack Townsend, Court Authorizes John Doe Summons to American Express Unit for Netherlands Taxpayer Info. “The JDS is issued to American Express Travel Related Services Company and seeks ‘the identities of Dutch residents who have debit or credit cards linked to bank accounts located outside of the Netherlands so the Dutch government can determine if those persons have complied with Dutch tax laws.'”

Kay Bell, Private tax debt collection begins again this week:

The IRS reminds folks whose tax bills are now in collection agency hands that they will always receive multiple contacts, letters and phone calls.
And the first contact will be from the IRS, not private debt collectors.
First, the IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and, if applicable, his/her tax representative informing them that their account is being assigned to a private collection agency, or PCA.
That letter will include the name and contact information for the PCA that will handle their account. It will one of four authorized collection agencies:
  • CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa,
  • Conserve of Fairport, New York,
  • Performant of Livermore, California, and
  • Pioneer of Horseheads, New York.
The IRS notification letter also will contain a copy of Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency.
If you hear from someone claiming to be collecting debt and its a surprise, it’s a scam.
TaxGrrrl, IRS Will Turn Over Tax Debts To Private Collection Firms This Week: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?. Kelly counts the ways.

Keith Fogg, Seeking Disclosure of Return Information in Tax Court Case (Procedurally Taxing):

This is a big deal for taxpayers who need information from the IRS in order to defend themselves in a tax matter.  The decision here will not open the IRS records in every case but it does provide a model for seeking information in Tax Court cases.  Because the Tax Court had not previously addressed this issue, it did so here through court conference.
This addresses the Mescalero Apache case we discussed yesterday. It could be a big deal.