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Showing posts from June, 2014

Hearings continue into missing IRS emails

The saga on the IRS inquiry over tea party tax exempt applications continues.   This week IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee on June 20 and the House Oversight Committee on June 23 to defend the agency’s handling of employee emails. 

Before the Ways and Means Committee, Koskinen rebutted accusations that former IRS official Lois Lerner destroyed her computer in 2011 to avoid prosecution for targeting conservative groups seeking nonprofit status. Koskinen told lawmakers that the hard drive on Lerner’s work computer crashed before the current Congressional investigations began and the agency’s information technology department could not repair it.

Koskinen also indicated that the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division plans to restart audits of Code Sec. 501(c)(4) organizations that were selected for examination but set aside. "I think it is unfair to them to leave them in limbo, that they deserve to have closure," Koskine…

Hearings continue into missing IRS emails

The saga on the IRS inquiry over tea party tax exempt applications continues.   This week IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee on June 20 and the House Oversight Committee on June 23 to defend the agency’s handling of employee emails. 

Before the Ways and Means Committee, Koskinen rebutted accusations that former IRS official Lois Lerner destroyed her computer in 2011 to avoid prosecution for targeting conservative groups seeking nonprofit status. Koskinen told lawmakers that the hard drive on Lerner’s work computer crashed before the current Congressional investigations began and the agency’s information technology department could not repair it.

Koskinen also indicated that the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division plans to restart audits of Code Sec. 501(c)(4) organizations that were selected for examination but set aside. "I think it is unfair to them to leave them in limbo, that they deserve to have closure," Koskine…

Newport Beach Businessman Sentenced to Over 2 Years for Sales Tax Evasion and to Pay Restitution to Board of Equalization

Life's not always a beach, even for the Beach Cruiser business "Let It Roll" owner in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.  On June 13, 2014, the Orange County Superior Court sentenced a local businessman, Douglas Lachman, to 27 months for sales tax evasion, according to a press release issued by the California Board of Equalization.  The business was a bike sales and rental shop that focused on the beach cruiser market for tourists.  Between 2002 and 2009 there was about $7 million under-reported sales, though this resulted in  a sales tax loss of only $553,478.

The State Board of Equalization is the California tax agency responsible for the administration of the sales taxes (among other types of taxes). The case was prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney's Office, which is a reminder, as we know all too well from our experience in California Audits of Medical Marijuana Tax Dispensaries, tax problems can come from all sides and the state (and cities) wants that …

Newport Beach Businessman Sentenced to Over 2 Years for Sales Tax Evasion and to Pay Restitution to Board of Equalization

Life's not always a beach, even for the Beach Cruiser business "Let It Roll" owner in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.  On June 13, 2014, the Orange County Superior Court sentenced a local businessman, Douglas Lachman, to 27 months for sales tax evasion, according to a press release issued by the California Board of Equalization.  The business was a bike sales and rental shop that focused on the beach cruiser market for tourists.  Between 2002 and 2009 there was about $7 million under-reported sales, though this resulted in  a sales tax loss of only $553,478.

The State Board of Equalization is the California tax agency responsible for the administration of the sales taxes (among other types of taxes). The case was prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney's Office, which is a reminder, as we know all too well from our experience in California Audits of Medical Marijuana Tax Dispensaries, tax problems can come from all sides and the state (and cities) wants that…

The Southern California Criminal Tax News Round-Up

The Southern California Criminal Tax News Round-Up

IRS Suffers Defeat in Appeals Court as Jury's Finding of Return Preparer Penalty Reversed

The IRS suffered a major defeat last week in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in Carlson v. United States, Case No. 12-13736 (June 13, 2014), as the appellate court reversed in part and vacated and remanded in part a decision from a Florida district court holding a tax preparer liable for penalties under Code Section 6701.  The eleventh circuit held that the burden of proof was not the usual minimum of a "preponderance of the evidence" (sometimes described as "more likely than not") but the higher "clear and convincing evidence" usually applied in civil fraud cases.  (Note: the clear/convincing standard is lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.)  Appellant, Frances Carlson, was a return preparer for Jackson Hewitt tax services.

Section 6701(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C., provides for a penalty to be imposed on any person:

(1)who aids or assists in, procures, or advises with respect to, the preparation or presentat…

IRS Suffers Defeat in Appeals Court as Jury's Finding of Return Preparer Penalty Reversed

The IRS suffered a major defeat last week in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in Carlson v. United States, Case No. 12-13736 (June 13, 2014), as the appellate court reversed in part and vacated and remanded in part a decision from a Florida district court holding a tax preparer liable for penalties under Code Section 6701.  The eleventh circuit held that the burden of proof was not the usual minimum of a "preponderance of the evidence" (sometimes described as "more likely than not") but the higher "clear and convincing evidence" usually applied in civil fraud cases.  (Note: the clear/convincing standard is lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.)  Appellant, Frances Carlson, was a return preparer for Jackson Hewitt tax services.

Section 6701(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C., provides for a penalty to be imposed on any person:

(1)who aids or assists in, procures, or advises with respect to, the preparation or presenta…

IRS Increases the FBAR Penalty for People with Offshore Accounts

In efforts to increase offshore tax compliance, the IRS just made brand new changes to its current offshore disclosure programs.  The streamlined procedures have been expanded to accommodate a wider group of U.S. taxpayers who have unreported foreign financial accounts.  This is a very good thing because now more people can use the procedures than could have before.

The original streamlined procedures announced in 2012 were available only to non-resident, non-filers. Taxpayer submissions were subject to different degrees of review based on the amount of the tax due and the taxpayer’s response to a “risk” questionnaire.
The expanded streamlined procedures are available to a wider population of U.S. taxpayers living outside the country and, for the first time, to certain U.S. taxpayers residing in the United States. The changes include:

•Eliminating a requirement that the taxpayer have $1,500 or less of unpaid tax per year;
•Eliminating the required risk questionnaire;
•Requiring the taxpaye…

IRS Increases the FBAR Penalty for People with Offshore Accounts

In efforts to increase offshore tax compliance, the IRS just made brand new changes to its current offshore disclosure programs.  The streamlined procedures have been expanded to accommodate a wider group of U.S. taxpayers who have unreported foreign financial accounts.  This is a very good thing because now more people can use the procedures than could have before.

The original streamlined procedures announced in 2012 were available only to non-resident, non-filers. Taxpayer submissions were subject to different degrees of review based on the amount of the tax due and the taxpayer’s response to a “risk” questionnaire.
The expanded streamlined procedures are available to a wider population of U.S. taxpayers living outside the country and, for the first time, to certain U.S. taxpayers residing in the United States. The changes include:

•Eliminating a requirement that the taxpayer have $1,500 or less of unpaid tax per year;
•Eliminating the required risk questionnaire;
•Requiring the taxpay…

Tax Problems Facing Marijuana Dispensaries, This Time From the City of Los Angeles

The LA times published an interesting article about marijuana dispensaries operating in Los Angeles.  The article focuses on the interesting fact that as Los Angeles tries to clamp down on the number of marijuana dispensaries operating in Los Angeles by making them follow Proposition D requirements, more than 450 medical marijuana shops filed business tax renewals with the Office of Finance.  This number is more than three times as many stores than what is estimated to be allowed to stay open.  So while local lawmakers are troubled by the number of medical marijuana shops that still exist in Los Angeles, the Office of Finance has no problem cashing in on all the taxes being collected from them.  The article states that Los Angeles collected roughly $2.1 million from medical marijuana tax renewals this year, an Office of Finance staffer told a City Council committee Monday.

The interesting thing about this article is that City Council is upset that these people are paying business taxes…

Tax Problems Facing Marijuana Dispensaries, This Time From the City of Los Angeles

The LA times published an interesting article about marijuana dispensaries operating in Los Angeles.  The article focuses on the interesting fact that as Los Angeles tries to clamp down on the number of marijuana dispensaries operating in Los Angeles by making them follow Proposition D requirements, more than 450 medical marijuana shops filed business tax renewals with the Office of Finance.  This number is more than three times as many stores than what is estimated to be allowed to stay open.  So while local lawmakers are troubled by the number of medical marijuana shops that still exist in Los Angeles, the Office of Finance has no problem cashing in on all the taxes being collected from them.  The article states that Los Angeles collected roughly $2.1 million from medical marijuana tax renewals this year, an Office of Finance staffer told a City Council committee Monday.

The interesting thing about this article is that City Council is upset that these people are paying business tax…

IRS (Probably) Spent More Money than Tax Owed in Symbolic Tax Court Victory

Symbolic of what?  I'll leave that to you.  From a Tax Court opinion released earlier this week, file this under Ridiculous Things the IRS Does:

Taxpayers filed a perfectly correct return listing their taxable social security income on the correct line.  IRS received the return and, using its big brain, decided the social security income was nontaxable, recalculates the tax, and issued the taxpayers an additional $548 refund.  Somehow, the IRS later realized the taxpayers were right and they shouldn't have sent the extra dollar bills, so they audited the couple and demanded they repay the $548.  When the couple declined, the IRS issued a notice of deficiency, on which the couple appealed to the tax court.  Somehow, probably driven by the couple's righteous indignation, the case went all the way to trial, where it was decided in a judicial opinion.  The taxpayers argued they shouldn't have to pay for the IRS's mistake, but the court found in favor of the…

IRS (Probably) Spent More Money than Tax Owed in Symbolic Tax Court Victory

Symbolic of what?  I'll leave that to you.  From a Tax Court opinion released earlier this week, file this under Ridiculous Things the IRS Does:

Taxpayers filed a perfectly correct return listing their taxable social security income on the correct line.  IRS received the return and, using its big brain, decided the social security income was nontaxable, recalculates the tax, and issued the taxpayers an additional $548 refund.  Somehow, the IRS later realized the taxpayers were right and they shouldn't have sent the extra dollar bills, so they audited the couple and demanded they repay the $548.  When the couple declined, the IRS issued a notice of deficiency, on which the couple appealed to the tax court.  Somehow, probably driven by the couple's righteous indignation, the case went all the way to trial, where it was decided in a judicial opinion.  The taxpayers argued they shouldn't have to pay for the IRS's mistake, but the court found in favor of t…

Tax Court Draws Bright Line in Completed Contract Method of Accounting Cases

Tax Court Draws Bright Line in Completed Contract Method of Accounting Cases

IRS "Adopts" Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Except No Actual Taxpayer Rights Adopted

The IRS issued a press releases this week, which can be found here, alerting taxpayers to the newly adopted Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which are outlined here.  Except there are no new rights and nothing can be "adopted" when it is a list of responsibilities and rights already belonging to the IRS and taxpayers.  Imagine if McDonald's put a customer "Bill of Rights" on their menu, which said that, when you pay for a hamburger, we'll give you a hamburger, except when we don't, in which case you can complain to your cashier and then to the manager to see if they care.  The IRS's Taxpayer Bill of Rights, included in Publication 1, which presumably will be sent to taxpayers during audits, provides the following: