Let’s recap the tax relief news we covered this week. Featured topics were: eliminating joint filing to help innocent spouses, Florida brothers sentenced for tax evasion, ways to pay your back taxes, IRS tax scams and schemes to avoid, and the Southland Better Business Bureau (BBB) LA Chapter gets expelled for “pay to play” practices.
Joint Tax Filing Thought to Help Innocent Spouses
I wrote a post titled Eliminating Joint Tax Filing Could Help Innocent Spouses after reading a Forbes article titled “Time to Eliminate Joint Filing?” by contributor Peter C. Reilly who ponders whether joint filing is really beneficial to couples. Reilly, in recent years has come to think that joint returns for married couples are not such a great idea due in part to innocent spouse cases. As someone who handles difficult innocent spouse cases, I’m not sure eliminating the joint return is the silver bullet that would wipe out the need for the innocent spouse defense. One thing is for sure in innocent spouse cases, past tax filing mistakes can come back to haunt a couple whether they are married or divorced.
Two Boca Raton, Florida brothers were sentenced to prison for income tax evasion for failing to report or pay taxes on their capital gains from stock sales. Michael Farnell received 18 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $448,128 while his brother James Farnell received 42 months and was ordered to pay restitution of $434,115, both to the IRS.
Payment Options for Back Taxes
As Tax Day draws near, people panic about how they can pay off their tax debt. In this post, I offer the following advice:
- Consult a qualified tax professional who can accomplish the following: analyze your previous returns, finish your 2012 return, and determine exactly how much you owe.
- If you are unable to pay off your IRS tax debt, even over time, you may want to consider the Offer in Compromise (OIC). This program allows indebted taxpayers to make a settlement offer to the Internal Revenue Service that could result in a significant discount.
- If you don’t qualify for the OIC, you may want to consider the Installment Agreement. This allows you to pay your tax debt off over time with manageable monthly payments.
Avoiding IRS Tax Scams and Schemes
For this post, I reached into the Tax Resolution University archive to update the IRS “Dirty Dozen Tax Scam List” for 2013 specifically the top five IRS tax scams all taxpayers need to be aware of and avoid at all costs.
- Identity Theft
- Return Preparer Fraud
- Hiding Income Offshore
- “Free Money” from the IRS
Other tax scams on the list to be mindful of:
- Social security tax scam
- False/Inflated income and expenses
- False Form 1099 Refund Claims
- Frivolous Arguments
- Falsely claiming Zero Wages
- Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions
- Disguised Corporate Ownership
- Misuse of Trusts
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of the Southland getting expelled from the Organization for its “pay to play” practices was HUGE news this week! As a Los Angeles based business who regarded the BBB reputation as an “honest” resource for consumers, it’s disappointing to know the Los Angeles BBB Chapter was such a corrupt organization.
Just a reminder, it is exactly one month to Tax Day!
Have a great weekend!
More Tax Help, IRS News and Tax Relief Tips:
- IRS Bankruptcy-Five Tax Relief Options for Back Taxes
- IRS Offers Tax Help Tips-Worker Classification
- New Offer in Compromise Policies Bring Tax Relief
- Tax Resolution Expert-Five Reasons to Hire One
- Tax Relief Weekly News Round-Up