May 4, 2010

IRS Tax Audit - No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: California Tax Attorney

California Tax Attorney:

Here is a quick summary of a recent US TAX COURT case against the Internal Revenue Service to challenge the taxpayer’s right to deduct donations to a Catholic Church. The case involves a married couple who got audited by the Internal Revenue Service concerning donations they deducted on their Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 tax return.

Anonymous U.S. Tax Petitioners v. COMMISSIONER OF Internal Revenue Service
Docket No. 6851-08. Filed May 2010.


Tax Problem
Can an American taxpayer deduct as charitable contributions of $25,050 in wire transfers to his wife’s relative who distributed the money for the benefit of the Catholic Church of a foreign country on their Internal Revenue Service Form 1040?

Can a taxpayer deduct the airfare expense incurred while rendering services for a Catholic church in a foreign country on their Internal Revenue Service Form 1040?

APPLICABLE TAX CODE SECTION

Internal Revenue Code §170 allows taxpayers to claim a deduction for a charitable contribution if the contribution is made to or for the use of a qualified organization.

Internal Revenue Code §170 (c)(2) identifies an eligible recipient of a charitable deduction as “a corporation, trust, or community chest, fund, or foundation created or organized in the United States or under the law of the United States”.

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CAN YOU DEDUCT DONATIONS MADE TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY?

Taxpayers claimed the charitable contribution deductions on their joint IRS Form 1040 Income Tax Return. Taxpayers also claimed a charitable contribution deduction for the airplane ticket taxpayer wife purchased to travel to her native country and provide services to Catholic churches of that foreign country. The IRS issued a notice of deficiency disallowing certain charitable contribution deductions. Most of the disallowed deductions originated from taxpayer wife’s donations and charity work for the benefit of Catholic churches in a foreign country. Taxpayers filed a tax court petition appealing the report issued by the IRS Audit with the US Tax Court .

Taxpayer’s wife was born in a foreign country. Her parents were devout Catholics. Her father served as an officer in that country’s army during the conflict with the guerilla forces. Taxpayer wife was a young girl when the guerrilla forces initiated a military campaign. Taxpayer wife’s uncle was a Catholic priest in her hometown. When the guerrilla forces seized her hometown, taxpayer wife witnessed over 400 of her fellow Catholics, including her uncle and other citizens of her hometown, being buried alive. The guerrilla forces destroyed much of her hometown, including the Catholic Church. The foreign country’s government eventually fell. Taxpayer wife and her family later escaped from their country to the United States. Taxpayer wife later married U.S. taxpayer. She is a member of a church that belongs to the local Catholic diocese near her home in Texas.

Taxpayer’s wife completed her college education and was hired as an engineer at an international corporation. After completing college she returned to her native country and witnessed extreme poverty. Her experience motivated her to contribute money and services to help rebuild Catholic churches in that country. These Catholic churches provide food, education, and shelter to the poor. During one of her trips to her native country, the local police detained and interrogated taxpayer’s wife about her activities in her hometown.. The police also informed taxpayer’s wife that they had been monitoring her whereabouts in the country and were aware of her family’s support for the former government.

Fearing for her life, taxpayer’s wife devised a plan to disguise her contributions to Catholic churches in her native country. She would wire the money to the personal bank account of her mother’s cousin (cousin) who lived in taxpayer wife’s original hometown. The cousin then transferred the money to selected Catholic churches in that country.

UNITED STATES TAX COURT DID NOT ALLOW TAXPAYERS TO DEDUCT DONATIONS TO A FOREIGN CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION
Taxpayers argue that the ultimate beneficiary of the wire transfers was the Roman Catholic Church, a qualified donee under Internal Revenue Code §170(c)(2), and that taxpayer wife thus made the wire transfers to or for the use of a qualified organization.

Taxpayers claim that the Catholic Church is a universal organization, and therefore Catholic churches in taxpayer wife’s native country are qualified as donees under Internal Revenue Code §170. The Tax Court found no basis as to if the Catholic churches in that foreign country to which taxpayer wife’s wire transfers were distributed were created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States in compliance with Internal Revenue Code . The language of Internal Revenue Code §170(c)(2) is explicit, and the Tax Court must follow such plain language.

Regarding the airfare expense deducted on the IRS Form 1040 Income Tax Return for Individuals , taxpayers assert that the unreimbursed expenditure incident to taxpayer wife’s services should be deductible under Internal Revenue Code §170 because petitioner wife worked on behalf of several qualified organizations.

Nonetheless, taxpayers have failed to show that any of the Catholic churches in the foreign country to which taxpayer wife’s rendered services is a qualified organization within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code § 170(c)(2). Taxpayer wife did not render services in the foreign country under the direction of, or to or for the use of her local church or the local diocese. The record shows only that her priest at her local church had some awareness of her work in her native country. Nor is there any evidence that petitioner wife provided those services.

US Tax Court found taxpayer wife’s testimony to be sincere. However, taxpayers have failed to prove that they contributed to a qualified organization under Internal Revenue Code §170 . Tax Court has held in favor of the Internal Revenue Service .

April 17, 2010

Tax Problem: Didn't Pay Your Taxes? Neither Did Pamela Anderson - California Franchise Tax Board(FTB) Releases List of Taxpayers Who Owe Taxes - Los Angeles California Tax Attorney

Los Angeles Tax Attorney:

California Income Tax - Franchise Tax Board FTB released

its annual list of top 250 California taxayers who haven't paid their taxes.

Tax Debt - Top 250 Honor Roll List

Highest Unpaid Tax Debt: $13,120,479
Lowest Unpaid Tax Debt: $ 290,964
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Notable Celebrity:
Pamela Anderson (Website:http://pamelaanderson.com/)
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Income tax due - $ 493,144.68 - 04/07/2009

According to the Franchise Tax Board FTB ,

Vast majority of individual and business taxpayers file their return and pay their lawful tax liability. Those who fail to pay the taxes they lawfully owe contribute to the tax gap. The tax gap is the difference between what taxpayers owe and what they voluntarily pay. As a result, an increased tax burden is passed on to those who pay what they owe. Closing the tax gap is in the best interest of all Californians.

FTB tries to collect taxes through tax liens, tax levy and wage garnishment. As part of the collection process, FTB annually publish the Delinquent Taxpayers list on their website Franchise Tax Board FTB to "encourage" tax payment compliance.

The FTB list shows the top 250 individual and business taxpayers with state income tax liens where the total balance owed is greater than $100,000. In most instances, taxpayers who owe to the FTB also owe even larger tax debt to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Many of these taxpayers could benefit from either a Tax Bankruptcy or Offer in Compromise to resolve their tax situation.


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April 13, 2010

IRS Charges Penalties for Improper Deduction on Tax Return - IRS Tax Attorney

Los Angeles Tax Attorney:

Here is a quick summary of a recent US TAX COURT case against the Internal Revenue Service to challenge the taxpayer’s right to deduct tax losses from a “S” Corporation. The tax case involves an attorney who claimed a loss from his incorporated law practice on his individual IRS Form 1040 tax return. IRS charged taxpayer with penalties and interests based on improper tax deduction.

R.WEISBERG et al v. COMMISSIONER OF Internal Revenue Service


Tax Problem
Is a taxpayer entitled to deduct a loss from his S corporation as a shareholder?


APPLICABLE TAX CODE SECTION

Internal Revenue Code §1363(a). A qualifying small business corporation that makes the proper election is generally not subject to income tax. Rather, its items of income, deductions, credits, and losses pass through to its shareholders, Internal Revenue Code §1366(a)(1), who then claim those items on their own income tax returns.

Internal Revenue Code §1366(d)(1). However, an S corporation shareholder may not claim a loss deduction greater than his basis in the S corporation, with “basis” in this context consisting essentially of his investment in the corporation. A taxpayer who claims a loss from a S corporation must establish his basis in the S corporation.

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Internal Revenue Code §61 (a) includes in gross income “all income from whatever source derived” unless excluded by a specific provision of the Code.

CAN YOU DEDUCT LOSSES FROM YOUR CORPORATION?

Taxpayer, who is an attorney, owned shares in an S corporation and in 2000 personally guaranteed a line of credit to the corporation. The S corporation incurred losses in 2003, and taxpayer deducted part of those losses on his 2003 IRS Form 1040 Income Tax return. In March 2004 taxpayer took out a loan and paid off the corporation’s line of credit in the amount. The IRS disallowed the 2003 loss on the grounds that taxpayer had insufficient basis in the S corporation and determined a tax deficiency, a late-filing addition to tax, and an accuracy-related penalty.

TAXPAYER NEEDS TO ESTABLISH TAX BASIS IN THE CORPORATION BEFORE ANY DEDUCTIONS FOR TAX LOSSES ON IRS INDIVIDUAL TAX RETURN


The US Tax Court and tax audit records contained no information concerning taxpayer’s basis in his S corporation before 2000. In that year he personally guaranteed a line of credit for the firm. Under certain conditions, debt can contribute to a shareholder’s basis in an S corporation, but those conditions are not satisfied in this tax court case. US Tax Court has held that mere shareholder guaranties of S corporation indebtedness generally fail to satisfy the requirements of section Internal Revenue Code §1366(d)(1).

No form of indirect borrowing, including a guaranty, gives rise to indebtedness from the corporation to the shareholders for such purpose until and unless the shareholders pay part or the entire obligation. US Tax Court also held that the mere guaranty of a loan does not involve any economic outlay. Until the guarantor pays the obligation, the guarantor does not have an actual investment.

Taxpayer’s guaranty of the line of credit did not, by itself, increase his basis in the S corporation. Consequently, US Tax Court had no evidence that in 2003 he had a basis in any amount. In 2004 taxpayer incurred his own personal loan and used it to pay off the firm’s line of credit. It may assumed that by doing that act taxpayer did increase his basis in the S corporation per Internal Revenue Code §1366(d)(1). However, the year in issue here is 2003, and that act in 2004 did not increase his basis in 2003. Consequently, taxpayer has not shown that he is entitled to claim any portion of the loss in 2003. Overall, taxpayer’s guaranty of the S corporation’s line of credit did not increase his basis in the S corporation per Internal Revenue Code §1366(d)(1) during the year in issue. Taxpayer was not allowed to deduct the losses from his corporation on his individual tax return in 2003. The decision was entered for the Internal Revenue Service .

February 2, 2010

Los Angeles Tax Attorney - Tax Court Rules that Late Filed Document Not Taxpayer's Fault - May Apply to Late Filed FBAR Voluntary Disclosure

Los Angeles Tax Attorney:

Here is a quick summary of a recent US TAX COURT case against the Internal Revenue Service . The ruling on this case may apply to other documents filed with the tax court or the IRS including late filed FBAR Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Tax Court Petitioners MADDOX v.
COMMISSIONER OF Internal Revenue Service


TAX PROBLEM:

This case seems to reflect the current trend by IRS Attorneys when dealing with tax court petitions that they receive 90 days after issuance of Notice of Determination arising from IRS Tax Audit or Collection Due Process hearing.

IRS TAX CODE

Internal Revenue Code §6213(a) provides that a petition for redetermination of a deficiency determined by the Commissioner is timely filed if it is filed within 90 days after a notice of deficiency is mailed. Internal Revenue Code §7502 - If a petition is received by the Court after the 90-day period, then the postmark date can be deemed the date of delivery.

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IRS MAY CHALLENGE TAX COURT PETITION IF RECEIVED 90 DAYS AFTER MAILING NOTICE OF DEFICIENCY

The IRS moved to dismiss this case on the ground that the petition was not filed within 90 days of the mailing of the notice of deficiency. Taxpayers state the petition was timely mailed even though not received by the Court within the 90-day period. IRS mailed on October 7, 2008, a notice of deficiency to taxpayers. A petition signed by taxpayers’ attorney, dated December 17, 2008, was received and filed by the Court on January 23, 2009, which was 108 days after the mailing of the notice of deficiency. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) cancellation stamps appeared on the envelope, but the exact date of cancellation was illegible. January 5, 2009, was the 90th day after the mailing of the notice of deficiency. On March 11, 2009, the IRS filed a motion to dismiss for lack of IRS tax court jurisdiction.

TAXPAYER'S TESTIMONY MAY BE SUFFICIENT TO SHOW THAT TAX COURT PETITION WAS MAILED

Taxpayers’ attorney mailed the petition by placing it in the mailroom in his office building before 4 p.m. on Friday, January 2, 2009. The mailroom was locked, and only building tenants and the USPS had access. The outgoing mail was placed in a USPS basket.

Usually, the postmark placed on the envelope in which the petition has been mailed is accepted as evidence of timely mailing and timely filing. In this case, however, the postmark is illegible. Because taxpayer’s petition was received and filed outside the prescribed period, bearing an illegible USPS postmark, it will be considered timely filed only if petitioners can show the date that the postmark was made and that the date was within the 90-day period.

Taxpayers have shown that the envelope was postage prepaid and had a USPS cancellation. Taxpayers also testified that the petition was timely placed in the USPS mail before the expiration of the 90-day period and timely postmarked (illegibly). The envelope was received by the Court and the petition was filed.

The decision was entered against the Internal Revenue Service . The tax court denied the IRS' motion to dismiss tax court case and concluded that the tax court petition was timely postmarked, timely mailed and timely filed.

Note that some documents filed with the IRS may be deemed filed upon receipt while others are deemed filed upon mailing of the document. Check with your tax attorney on the filing variations.


October 21, 2009

IRS Income Tax Credit - IRS Tax Court Case Review - Los Angeles Tax Attorney

Long Beach Tax Attorney:

Here is a quick summary of a recent US TAX COURT case against the Internal Revenue Service to challenge whether a minor's relative may claim a tax credit.

HENRY LEE SCOTT v.
COMMISSIONER OF Internal Revenue Service

Tax Problem:

The issue for decision is whether taxpayer’s nephew and niece were his qualifying children for purposes of the earned income tax credit (EITC) provided by section 32.


Applicable Internal Revenue Code:

Internal Revenue Code §32(a)(1) allows an eligible individual an earned income credit against the individual’s income tax liability. The credit is increased if the taxpayer has any qualifying children

Internal Revenue Code §32(c)(3)(A). §152(c)(1)(B) sets forth the requirement that a qualifying child have “the same principal place of abode as the taxpayer for more than one-half” of the taxable year.

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Principal Place of Residence Determines the Tax Credit

During 2004, 2005, and 2006, petitioner’s sister, Tameka Henderson, and her five children under the age of 19 resided in rented dwellings pursuant to written leases governed by the regulations of the Tennessee Low Income Housing Tax Credit Division. The leases each required that the premises be occupied only by the identified members of the household, which were Henderson and her five children. The leases covered property on Patton Street in Memphis in 2004 and 2005, and Walker Avenue in Memphis in 2006 to 2007. Taxpayer began living with Henderson when he was a teenager, after their mother died. In 2004, taxpayer was 31 years old. He lived with his sister and her children during at least part of 2004 and 2006, even though his name was never listed on the leases. The father of the children died in January 2004. Taxpayer contributed toward support of the children and was available as an emergency contact on records of the children’s schools. On his Federal income tax returns for 2004 and 2006, taxpayer listed one nephew and one niece as dependents and as qualifying children for purposes of the Earned Income Tax Credit. His return for 2004 used the Patton Street address as his address. His return for 2006 used an address on South Fourth in Memphis as his address. The petitions filed in these cases used Walker Avenue as taxpayer’s address. As of October 2007, taxpayer no longer used the Walker Avenue address.

US TAX COURT RULING
It is not improbable that taxpayer lived with Henderson and her children contrary to the terms of the leases. It is likely that after the death of the children’s father in January 2004, taxpayer assumed a paternal role toward his nephews and his niece as well as making payments toward their support. For 2004, therefore, we conclude that taxpayer and the children had the same place of abode for most of the year, that he cared for them as his own, and that they are qualifying children for purposes of the EITC. For 2006, however, there is other evidence suggesting that taxpayer maintained an address separate from Henderson’s. Because neither taxpayer nor Henderson adequately explained when he or they lived at the South Fourth address, we cannot conclude that taxpayer and the children shared the same abode for more than half of that year. Taxpayer’s nephew and niece are not qualifying children for 2006.

June 16, 2009

IRS Code §213(a) Medical Expense Deduction - Tax Court Analysis of Medical Expense Deduction - Pasadena Tax Attorney

Pasadena Tax Attorney:

Here is a quick summary of a recent US TAX COURT case against the Internal Revenue Service to challenge the tax deductibility of medical expenses incurred by taxpayers. The case involves taxpayers who deducted medical expenses related to in-vitro fertilization.

CHRISTINA MARIE THOMPSON MCGRATH, Petitioner v.
COMMISSIONER OF COMMISSIONER OF Internal Revenue Service
, Respondent
Docket No. 3954-08.

IRS Tax Problem
The issue in this case is whether the petitioner is entitled to deduct medical expenses paid on her behalf by another person.

Relevant Internal Revenue Code

Internal Revenue Code §213(a) allows “ as a deduction the expenses paid during the taxable year, not compensated for by insurance or otherwise, for medical care of the taxpayer.”

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CAN TAXPAYER DEDUCT MEDICAL EXPENSES PAID ON THEIR BEHALF BY THIRD PARTIES?

In 2005 the petitioner and her husband entered into an agreement for in vitro fertilization services. Petitioner’s father paid $39,542 for the services as a wedding gift to petitioner and her husband. The petitioner and her husband claimed a medical expense deduction of $34,313 of their 2005 individual income tax return, under section 213(a). In 2008 the petitioner received a full refund of the amount paid because the services were not successful. The respondent determined a deficiency in petitioner’s Federal income tax for 2008.

TAXPAYER CANNOT DEDUCT MEDICAL EXPENSES PAID BY A THIRD PARTY

The Internal Revenue Service claimed that the petitioner is not entitled to deduct the amount paid because her father paid for the services on her behalf. The Internal Revenue Service relied on a series of cases holding that taxpayers are not entitled to deduct medical expenses which they did not pay or which were reimbursed by some other source. Decision was entered for the Internal Revenue Service .

June 15, 2009

IRS Taxes Lawsuit Settlement - Money Received From Lawsuit Taxable IRS Code Section 104 and 61(a) - Torrance Tax Attorney Review of US Tax Court Case

Torrance Tax Attorney:

Here is a quick summary of a recent US TAX COURT case against the Internal Revenue Service to challenge the taxability of lawsuit settlement funds. The case involves money settlement received by a taxpayer from a class action against the US Air Force.

KEVIN HENNESSEY v.
COMMISSIONER OF Internal Revenue Service
Docket No. 20484-07.

Tax Problem
The issue is whether a lump-sum amount of money the petitioner received pursuant to a class action settlement agreement is excludable from gross income under section Internal Revenue Code 104(a)(2).

Internal Revenue Code

Internal Revenue Code §61 (a) includes in gross income “all income from whatever source derived” unless excluded by a specific provision of the Code.

Internal Revenue Code §104 (a)(2) excludes from gross “amount of any damages received (whether by suit or agreement and whether as lump sum or as periodic payments) on account of personal physical injuries or physical sickness”. california%20tax%20attorney%20tax%20problem%20attorney%20payroll%20tax%20business%20tax%20tax%20levy%20tax%20lien%20solve%20tax%20problem%20tax%20debt%20long%20beach%20tax%20attorney%20torrance%20tax%20lawyer%20redondo%20beach%20tax%20attorney.jpg


IS MONEY FROM LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT TAXABLE?
Mr. Hennessey and other officers, whom the U.S. Air Force selected for involuntary separation because of congressionally mandated personnel reductions in the Armed Forces, filed a complaint in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The plaintiffs claimed that the Board in charge violated their equal protection rights under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it improperly considered race and gender in selecting officers for involuntary separation. The class action case was settled and each member received a lump-sum payment. When petitioners filed their tax return, they did not include in income the lump-sum payment.

IRS TAXES ALL COMPENSATION UNLESS EXCLUDED BY SECTION 104(a)(2)

The lump-sum payment was not compensation for physical injuries or physical sickness that Mr. Hennessey might have suffered as a consequence of any actions taken by the U.S. Air Force. Therefore, the exception of Internal Revenue Code §104 (a) (2) is not applicable. The decision was entered for the Internal Revenue Service .

June 14, 2009

Los Angeles Lakers 2009 World Champions

Los Angeles Tax Attorney:


Congratulations Los Angeles Lakers #15

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Los Angeles Lakers 2009 World Champions Game Highlights

August 20, 2008

US Tax Court Problem - California Tax Attorney: Fake Tax Court Petition Used for Tax Based Fraud

US Tax Court - Tax Attorney

Internal Revenue Service IRS TAX and United States Tax Court US TAX COURT released information regarding tax fraud related scams using the name of the IRS and US Tax Court.

Tax Court Scam

In this scam, an e-mail that appears to come from the U.S. Tax Court contains a petition involving a court case between the IRS and the recipient. The document instructs the recipient to download other files. The downloads transfer malware, or malicious code, to the recipient’s computer.

There are various types of malware, which, for example, can hijack a victim’s computer hard drive to give someone remote access to the computer, or can search for passwords and other information and send them to the scammer.

The truth is that the Tax Court is not e-mailing notices to anyone who currently has a case before the court. Visit the court’s Web site at http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/ for more information. Recipients are advised to avoid clicking on any links in the e-mail and to delete the e-mail.

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How Scams Work

To lure their victims, phishing scams use the name of a known institution, such as the IRS, to either offer a reward for taking a simple action, such as providing information, or threaten or imply an unpleasant consequence, such as losing a refund, for failing to take the requested action.

The goal of the scams is to trick people into revealing personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, which the scammers can use to commit identity theft.

Typically, identity thieves use a victim’s personal and financial data to empty the victim’s financial accounts, run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim’s name, file fraudulent tax returns or even commit crimes. Most of these fraudulent activities can be committed electronically from a remote location, including overseas. Committing these activities in cyberspace allows scammers to act quickly and cover their tracks before the victim becomes aware of the theft.

People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years — and their hard-earned money — cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their reputations and credit records. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities or may be refused loans, education, housing or cars.

What to Do

Anyone wishing to access the IRS Web site should type www.irs.gov into their Internet address window, rather than clicking on a link in an e-mail or opening an attachment, either of which may download malicious code or send the recipient to a phony Web site.

Those who have received a questionable e-mail claiming to come from the IRS may forward it to the following address: phishing@irs.gov. Use the instructions contained in an article on this Web site titled “Protect Yourself from Suspicious E-Mails or Phishing Schemes.” Following the instructions will help the IRS track the suspicious e-mail to its origins and shut down the scam. Find the article by entering the words “suspicious e-mails” into the search box in the upper right corner of the page.

Those who have received a questionable telephone call that claims to come from the IRS may also use the phishing@irs.gov mailbox to notify the IRS.

The IRS has issued previous warnings on scams that use the IRS name to lend the scam legitimacy. More information on identity theft, phishing and telephone scams using the IRS name, logo or spoofed (copied) Web site is available this Web site. Enter the terms “phishing,” “identity theft” or “e-mail scams” into the search box in the upper right corner of the page.