If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Biden Administration Publishes Proposed Rule Moving Cannabis to Schedule III

Biden Administration Publishes Proposed Rule Moving Cannabis to Schedule III.  If this proposed rule is approved, the Federal government would recognize medical benefits of cannabis, make Section 280E inapplicable to licensed cannabis operators, and open up financial and banking markets.

The Associated Press reported on April 30, 2024 that the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) will propose a rule to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III under the Controlled Substance Act. The proposed rule has since been reviewed by the Department Of Justice and on May 16, 2024 has been published in the Federal Register. Next the DEA will take public comment on the plan to move marijuana from its current classification as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD. It moves pot to Schedule III, alongside ketamine and some anabolic steroids, following a recommendation from the federal Health and Human Services Department. After the public comment period and a review by an administrative judge, the agency would eventually publish the final rule in the Federal Register.

The Growing Trend In Legalizing Cannabis – Current Standings:

Medical marijuana is legal in 38 states.

The medical use of cannabis is legal (with a doctor’s recommendation) in 38 states and Washington DC. Those 38 states being Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. The medical use of cannabis is also legal in the territories of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Recreational marijuana is legal in 24 states.

Twenty-three states and Washington DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use — no doctor’s letter required — for adults over the age of 21. Those 23 states being Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington and the territories of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

Recreational marijuana is legal in 6 tribal nations.

Six Tribal nations have legalized marijuana for recreational use.  Those 6 tribes being the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (South Dakota), Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe (South Dakota), Suquamish Tribe (Washington state), Squaxin Island Tribe (Washington State), Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina) and St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (New York).

The New Rule If Approved Will Put Federal Law More In Line With State Laws.

Currently, under Federal law (Controlled Substances Act 21 U.S.C. 801) marijuana is designated as a Schedule I controlled substance due to the historical belief that it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment, and lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

The New Rule If Approved Will Result In A Tax Regime Similar To What Non-Cannabis Businesses Face.

Generally, businesses can deduct ordinary and necessary business expenses under I.R.C. §162. This includes wages, rent, supplies, etc. However, in 1982 Congress added I.R.C. §280E. Under §280E, taxpayers cannot deduct any amount for a trade or business where the trade or business consists of trafficking in controlled substances…which is currently prohibited by Federal law. Marijuana, including medical marijuana, is a controlled substance. What this means is that dispensaries and other businesses trafficking in marijuana have to report all of their income and cannot deduct rent, wages, and other expenses, making their marginal tax rate substantially higher than most other businesses.  Therefore, under current law, the Internal Revenue Code which treats businesses in the marijuana industry differently resulting in such business paying at least 3-times as much in taxes as ordinary businesses.

The New Rule If Approved DOES NOT Change Reporting Of Cash Payments.

The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (“BSA”) requires financial institutions in the United States to assist U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering. Specifically, the act requires financial institutions to keep records of cash purchases of negotiable instruments, and file reports of cash purchases of these negotiable instruments of more than $10,000 (daily aggregate amount), and to report suspicious activity that might signify money laundering, tax evasion, or other criminal activities. The BSA requires any business receiving one or more related cash payments totaling more than $10,000 to file IRS Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business.

The minimum penalty for failing to file EACH Form 8300 is $25,000 if the failure is due to an intentional or willful disregard of the cash reporting requirements. Penalties may also be imposed for causing, or attempting to cause, a trade or business to fail to file a required report; for causing, or attempting to cause, a trade or business to file a required report containing a material omission or misstatement of fact; or for structuring, or attempting to structure, transactions to avoid the reporting requirements. These violations may also be subject to criminal prosecution which, upon conviction, may result in imprisonment of up to 5 years or fines of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations or both.

Marijuana-related businesses operate in an environment of cash transactions as many banks remain reluctant to do business with many in the marijuana industry. Like any cash-based business the IRS scrutinizes the amount of gross receipts to report and it is harder to prove to the IRS expenses paid in cash. So it is of most importance that the proper facilities and procedures be set up to maintain an adequate system of books and records.

How Do You Know Which Cannabis Tax Attorney Is Best For You?

Given that cannabis is still illegal under existing Federal law you need to protect yourself and your marijuana business from all challenges created by the U.S. government.  Additionally, assuming that this new rule is approved – ONLY LICENSED cannabis operators can benefit. So it is best to be proactive and engage an experienced cannabis tax attorney in your area who is highly skilled in the different legal and tax issues that cannabis businesses face.  Let the cannabis tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), the Inland Empire (Ontario and Palm Springs) and other California locations protect you and maximize your net profits.  And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

Ohio taxpayers impacted by March 2024 tornados qualify for tax relief

On May 16, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by tornadoes that began on March 14, 2024 in Ohio. These taxpayers now have until September 3, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The September 3, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension beyond September 3 for their 2023 federal income tax return if you have not already filed an extension, should request it by filing a paper copy by September 3. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on September 3, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on April 15, 2024 and June 17, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on April 30, 2024 and July 31, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after March 14, 2024, and before March 29, 2024, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by March 29, 2024.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 28, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on March 25, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, landslides and mudslides that began on November 20, 2023 in parts of Alaska now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Ohio – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Auglaize, Crawford, Darke, Delaware, Hancock, Licking, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Richland and Union counties.

For Alaska – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in the Wrangell Cooperative Association of Alaska Tribal Nation.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State or “4763-DR” for Alaska or “4777-DR” for Ohio.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.

Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit

If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.

We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper.  By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.

So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:

  • Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
  • Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
  • Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
  • Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
  • Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
  • Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
  • Entertainment and Travel Logs for business

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.  Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – DEA to Propose Rule Moving Cannabis to Schedule III

If this change is approved, the Federal government would recognize medical benefits of cannabis, make Section 280E inapplicable to licensed cannabis operators, and open up financial and banking markets.

The Associated Press reported on April 30, 2024 that the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) will propose a rule to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III under the Controlled Substance Act. The proposed rule is subject to review by the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”).  After the OMB gives its approval, the DEA will take public comment on the plan to move marijuana from its current classification as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD. It moves pot to Schedule III, alongside ketamine and some anabolic steroids, following a recommendation from the federal Health and Human Services Department. After the public comment period and a review by an administrative judge, the agency would eventually publish the final rule in the Federal Register.

The Growing Trend In Legalizing Cannabis – Current Standings:

Medical marijuana is legal in 38 states.

The medical use of cannabis is legal (with a doctor’s recommendation) in 38 states and Washington DC. Those 38 states being Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. The medical use of cannabis is also legal in the territories of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Recreational marijuana is legal in 24 states.

Twenty-three states and Washington DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use — no doctor’s letter required — for adults over the age of 21. Those 23 states being Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington and the territories of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

Recreational marijuana is legal in 6 tribal nations.

Six Tribal nations have legalized marijuana for recreational use.  Those 6 tribes being the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe (South Dakota), Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe (South Dakota), Suquamish Tribe (Washington state), Squaxin Island Tribe (Washington State), Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina) and St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (New York).

The New Rule If Approved Will Put Federal Law More In Line With State Laws.

Currently, under Federal law (Controlled Substances Act 21 U.S.C. 801) marijuana is designated as a Schedule I controlled substance due to the historical belief that it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment, and lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

The New Rule If Approved Will Result In A Tax Regime Similar To What Non-Cannabis Businesses Face.

Generally, businesses can deduct ordinary and necessary business expenses under I.R.C. §162. This includes wages, rent, supplies, etc. However, in 1982 Congress added I.R.C. §280E. Under §280E, taxpayers cannot deduct any amount for a trade or business where the trade or business consists of trafficking in controlled substances…which is currently prohibited by Federal law. Marijuana, including medical marijuana, is a controlled substance. What this means is that dispensaries and other businesses trafficking in marijuana have to report all of their income and cannot deduct rent, wages, and other expenses, making their marginal tax rate substantially higher than most other businesses.  Therefore, under current law, the Internal Revenue Code which treats businesses in the marijuana industry differently resulting in such business paying at least 3-times as much in taxes as ordinary businesses.

The New Rule If Approved DOES NOT Change Reporting Of Cash Payments.

The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (“BSA”) requires financial institutions in the United States to assist U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering. Specifically, the act requires financial institutions to keep records of cash purchases of negotiable instruments, and file reports of cash purchases of these negotiable instruments of more than $10,000 (daily aggregate amount), and to report suspicious activity that might signify money laundering, tax evasion, or other criminal activities. The BSA requires any business receiving one or more related cash payments totaling more than $10,000 to file IRS Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business.

The minimum penalty for failing to file EACH Form 8300 is $25,000 if the failure is due to an intentional or willful disregard of the cash reporting requirements. Penalties may also be imposed for causing, or attempting to cause, a trade or business to fail to file a required report; for causing, or attempting to cause, a trade or business to file a required report containing a material omission or misstatement of fact; or for structuring, or attempting to structure, transactions to avoid the reporting requirements. These violations may also be subject to criminal prosecution which, upon conviction, may result in imprisonment of up to 5 years or fines of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations or both.

Marijuana-related businesses operate in an environment of cash transactions as many banks remain reluctant to do business with many in the marijuana industry. Like any cash-based business the IRS scrutinizes the amount of gross receipts to report and it is harder to prove to the IRS expenses paid in cash. So it is of most importance that the proper facilities and procedures be set up to maintain an adequate system of books and records.

How Do You Know Which Cannabis Tax Attorney Is Best For You?

Given that cannabis is still illegal under existing Federal law you need to protect yourself and your marijuana business from all challenges created by the U.S. government.  Additionally, assuming that this new rule is approved – ONLY LICENSED cannabis operators can benefit. So it is best to be proactive and engage an experienced cannabis tax attorney in your area who is highly skilled in the different legal and tax issues that cannabis businesses face.  Let the cannabis tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), the Inland Empire (Ontario and Palm Springs) and other California locations protect you and maximize your net profits.  And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

IRS further extends tax relief for Rhode Island and Maine 2024 flooding and storm victims

On April 4, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced further postponement until July 15, 2024, various tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023, and January 9, 2024 in Rhode Island and the severe storms and flooding that began on January 9, 2024 in Maine.  Previously the deadline was June 15, 2024.

The July 15, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on January 16, 2024, April 15, 2024 and June 17, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on January 31, 2024 and April 30, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 28, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on March 25, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, landslides and mudslides that began on November 20, 2023 in parts of Alaska now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on March 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by the August 8, 2023, wildfires in Hawaii now have until August 7, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Hawaii – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Maui and Hawaii counties.

For Alaska – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in the Wrangell Cooperative Association of Alaska Tribal Nation.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, Washington and York Counties

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Kent, Providence and Washington Counties.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4764-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State or “4763-DR” for Alaska or “4724-DR” for Hawaii.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.

Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit

If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.

We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper.  By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.

So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:

  • Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
  • Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
  • Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
  • Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
  • Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
  • Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
  • Entertainment and Travel Logs for business

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.  Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

 

IRS Using Inflation Reduction Act Funding To Catch Taxpayers Who Illegally Secured COVID Funds

IRS announced it has investigated 1,644 tax and money laundering cases related to COVID fraud potentially totaling $8.9 billion, with well over half that amount coming from cases opened in the last year.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act the IRS is receiving $80 billion in new funding over nine years. The $80 billion price tag is more than six times the current annual IRS budget of $12.6 billion. The money will be distributed to IRS over nine years and comes with few strings attached.

IRS Claims Of Collection Enforcement And Examinations

On March 28, 2024 the IRS announced continued progress to expand enforcement efforts and increase scrutiny related to a wide range of criminal activity, including fraudulently obtained loans, credits and payments meant for American workers, families and small businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act as a result of the additional funding it is receiving under the Inflation Reduction Act.

As of February 29, 2024, 795 people have been indicted for their alleged COVID-related crimes and 373 individuals have been sentenced to an average of 34 months in federal prison. During the last four years, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CI) reports it has obtained a 98.5% conviction rate in prosecuted COVID fraud cases.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel noted Inflation Reduction Act resources allows “IRS Criminal Investigation to provide a vital role in protecting against fraud and serves a key part in the agency’s wider efforts to ensure fairness in the nation’s tax system. Protecting taxpayers against fraud in pandemic-era programs is just one example of the important role that CI plays in the law enforcement community. A healthy budget for the IRS helps us get the job done, and the work of CI provides a critical safety net to protect the nation against fraud.”
“In the last year alone, we have opened nearly 700 new COVID fraud investigations that collectively add up to $5 billion in potential fraud,” said CI Chief Guy Ficco. “While COVID may no longer be top of mind to the average American when they wake up, the fraud committed through these different programs is very much top of mind to CI. Our special agents continue to seek out fraudsters who stole money from government loan programs for their personal gain.”

New examples of cases closed since the Inflation Reduction Act passed

  • Long Island man sentenced to 10 years in prison for sprawling COVID-19 loan fraud – In March 2024, Rami Saab, also known as “Rami Hasan,” was sentenced to 10 years in prison and required to pay $9.6 million in restitution for his role as the mastermind behind a sprawling conspiracy to fraudulently obtain loans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Saab and a network of co-conspirators fraudulently applied for more than $32 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) on behalf of shell corporations they controlled. Relying on false information and fabricated documentation supplied by Saab and his conspirators, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and private banks administrating the PPP and EIDL programs granted at least 20 such applications, resulting in Saab and his fellow conspirators receiving $9.6 million in emergency-relief funds intended for distressed small businesses. Using a web of more than 50 otherwise dormant bank accounts, Saab and others laundered the proceeds before using the funds for their own self-enrichment.
  • Toledo area man sentenced to 94 months in prison for COVID fraud – Terrence L. Pounds was sentenced in March 2024 to 94 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $4.2 million dollars to the SBA after being convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Pounds and his co-defendants devised a scheme to obtain SBA-financed loans from the EIDL Program and the PPP under false pretenses, often claiming the loans were for nonprofit, faith-based organizations with over $1 million in revenue and 15 employees. He successfully obtained millions of dollars in loans and then used the money to purchase several new vehicles, which were later forfeited to the U.S. government.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. For California taxpayers, the Franchise Tax Board has up to four years to select a California State Income Tax Return for audit. In some cases these 3 and 4 year periods are extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.

Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit

If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.

We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper.  By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.

So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:

  • Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
  • Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
  • Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
  • Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
  • Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
  • Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
  • Entertainment and Travel Logs for business

Appealing Results Of An IRS Tax Audit

Now if your IRS tax audit is not resolved, the results may be challenged. After the Revenue Agent has concluded the tax examination, the agent will issue a copy of the examination report explaining the agent’s proposed changes along with notice of your appeals rights. Pay attention to the type of letter that is included as it will dictate the appeals process available to you.

The “30-day letter”

The “30-day letter” gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the IRS Office Of Appeals. To do this, you need to file a Tax Protest within 30 days of the date of the notice. The Appeals Office is the only level of appeal within the IRS and is separate from and independent of the IRS office taking the action you disagree with. Conferences with Appeals Office personnel are held in an informal manner by correspondence, by telephone, or at a personal conference.

The “Notice Of Deficiency”

If the IRS does not adopt your position, it will send a notice proposing a tax adjustment (known as a statutory notice of deficiency). The statutory notice of deficiency gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the United States Tax Court before paying it. To do this, you need to file a petition within 90 days of the date of the notice (150 days if the notice is addressed to you outside the United States). If you filed your petition on time, the court will eventually schedule your case for trial at the designation place of trial you set forth in your petition. Prior to trial you should have the opportunity to seek a settlement with IRS Area Counsel and in certain cases, such settlement negotiations could be delegated to the IRS Office Of Appeals. If there is still disagreement and the case does go to trial, you will have the opportunity to present your case before a Tax Court judge. The judge after hearing your case and reviewing the record and any post-trial briefs will render a decision in the form of an Opinion. It could take as much as two years after trial before an Opinion issued. If the Opinion is not appealed to a Circuit Court Of Appeals, then the proposed deficiency under the Opinion is final and your account will be sent to IRS Collections.

IRS Area Counsel are experienced trial attorneys working for the IRS whose job is to litigate cases in the U.S. Tax Court and look out for the best interests of the Federal government. So to level the playing field, it would be prudent for a taxpayer to hire qualified tax counsel as soon as possible to seek a mutually acceptable resolution without the need for trial, and if that does not happen, to already have the legal expertise in place to vigorously defend you at trial.

What Should You Do?

We encourage taxpayers who are concerned about their COVID funding awards to come in voluntarily before the IRS commences any examination or investigation.  By then, it will be too late to avoid the risk of returning all COVID funds awarded plus interest and penalties as well as facing criminal prosecution.

If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), the San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose and Walnut Creek) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you and if you are involved in crypto-currency, check out what a Bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

IRS further extends tax relief for Hawaii 2023 wildfire victims

On March 27, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced further postponement until August 7, 2024, various tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for individuals and businesses affected by the August 8, 2023, wildfires in Hawaii. Previously, the deadline was February 15, 2024.

The August 7, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on September 15, 2023, January 16, 2024, April 15, 2024 and June 17, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2023, January 31, 2024, April 30, 2024 and July 31, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, individuals, businesses and tax-exempt organizations who had valid extensions to file their 2022 returns will now have until August 7, 2024, to file them. However, payments on these returns are not eligible for relief because they were originally due before the wildfires occurred.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 28, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on March 25, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, landslides and mudslides that began on November 20, 2023 in parts of Alaska now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Hawaii – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Maui and Hawaii counties.

For Alaska – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in the Wrangell Cooperative Association of Alaska Tribal Nation.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State or “4763-DR” for Alaska or “4724-DR” for Hawaii.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.

Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit

If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.

We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper.  By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.

So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:

  • Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
  • Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
  • Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
  • Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
  • Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
  • Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
  • Entertainment and Travel Logs for business

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.  Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

IRS Using Inflation Reduction Act Funding To Ramp Up Audits Of High-income Non-filers

IRS has identified 125,000 persons who failed to file tax returns with financial activity topping $100 billion.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act the IRS is receiving $80 billion in new funding over nine years. The $80 billion price tag is more than six times the current annual IRS budget of $12.6 billion. The money will be distributed to IRS over nine years and comes with few strings attached.

IRS Claims Of Collection Enforcement And Examinations

On February 29, 2024 the IRS announced continued progress to expand enforcement efforts and increase scrutiny related to high-income individuals, large corporations, complex partnerships who do not pay overdue tax bills as a result of the additional funding it is receiving under the Inflation Reduction Act.

In its enforcement efforts and increasing scrutiny, the IRS is focusing on high-income taxpayers who have failed to file federal income tax returns in more than 125,000 instances since 2017.

The new initiative begins with IRS CP59 compliance letters going out in March 2024 on more than 125,000 cases where tax returns haven’t been filed since 2017. The mailings include more than 25,000 to those with more than $1 million in income, and over 100,000 to people with incomes between $400,000 and $1 million between tax years 2017 and 2021.  These are all cases where IRS has received third party information—such as through Forms W-2 and 1099s—indicating these people received income in these ranges but failed to file a tax return.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel noted Inflation Reduction Act resources allows the IRS “to increase scrutiny on high-income taxpayers as we work to reverse the historic low audit rates and limited focus that the wealthiest individuals and organizations faced in the years that predated the Inflation Reduction Act. At this time of year when millions of hard-working people are doing the right thing paying their taxes, we cannot tolerate those with higher incomes failing to do a basic civic duty of filing a tax return.”

IRS Actions Escalate If Tax Returns Are Not Filed

People who don’t respond to the non-filer letter will receive additional notices and other enforcement actions. Ultimately, this can lead to a variety of IRS compliance activity, including collection and audit action as well as potential criminal prosecution. As part of this, the IRS can also take steps to file what’s known as a Substitute for Return (SFR).

If a person repeatedly fails to respond and does not file, the IRS may create a substitute tax return for the taxpayer. The IRS calculates this substitute tax return based on wages and other income reported to the agency by employers, financial institutions and others. The return factors in the tax, penalty and interest owed by the taxpayer.

This tax return might not give the person credit for deductions and exemptions they may be entitled to receive because the IRS does not know each taxpayer’s situation. In this scenario, the IRS will send a notice of deficiency CP3219N (a 90-day letter) proposing a tax assessment. The taxpayer will have 90 days to file the past due tax return or file a petition in Tax Court. If the person does neither, the IRS will proceed with the proposed assessment.

If the IRS files a substitute return, it is still in the person’s best interest to file their own tax return to take advantage of any exemptions, credits and deductions they are entitled to receive. The IRS will generally adjust the account to reflect the correct figures.

The tax return the IRS prepares for these taxpayers will likely lead to a tax bill, which, if unpaid, will trigger the collection process. This can include such actions as a levy on wages or a bank account or the filing of a notice of federal tax lien. If a taxpayer repeatedly does not file, they could be subject to additional enforcement measures, such as additional penalties and/or criminal prosecution.

New examples of cases closed since the Inflation Reduction Act passed

  • In January 2024, two individuals were sentenced to 25 years and 23 years respectively in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns and money laundering for their role in promoting a fraudulent tax shelter scheme involving syndicated conservation easements.
  • In December 2023, a Swiss Bank entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and agreed to pay approximately $122.9 million to the U.S. Treasury for their role in assisting U.S. taxpayer-clients with evading their U.S. taxes by opening and maintaining undeclared accounts. The bank also maintained accounts of certain U.S. taxpayer-clients in a manner that allowed them to further conceal their undeclared accounts from the IRS. In total, from 2008 through 2014, the bank held 1,637 U.S. Penalty Accounts, with aggregate maximum assets under management of approximately $5.6 billion in January 2008, on behalf of clients who collectively evaded approximately $50.6 million in U.S. taxes.
  • In December 2023, an individual was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months and ordered to pay more than $130,000 in restitution, another was sentenced to 102 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5M in restitution and a third individual was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5M in restitution for their involvement in a RICO Conspiracy for cyber intrusion and tax fraud. These individuals used the dark web to purchase server credentials for the computer servers of Certified Public Accounting and tax preparation firms across the country.
  • In December 2023, an individual was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison and ordered to pay over $470,000 in restitution to the IRS for filing a false tax return while working as a money mule for romance scams. The individual opened and maintained bank accounts to collect proceeds from the schemes and to send the money to himself and others overseas.
  • An individual was sentenced to 57 months in prison for their failure to pay more than $1.35 million of taxes arising from their operation of several restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. The individual evaded taxes by concealing assets and obscuring the large sums of money they took from the businesses by purchasing property in the name of a nominee entity and causing false entries in the businesses’ books and records to hide personal purchases using business bank accounts.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. For California taxpayers, the Franchise Tax Board has up to four years to select a California State Income Tax Return for audit. In some cases these 3 and 4 year periods are extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.

Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit

If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.

We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper.  By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.

So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:

  • Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
  • Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
  • Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
  • Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
  • Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
  • Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
  • Entertainment and Travel Logs for business

Appealing Results Of An IRS Tax Audit

Now if your IRS tax audit is not resolved, the results may be challenged. After the Revenue Agent has concluded the tax examination, the agent will issue a copy of the examination report explaining the agent’s proposed changes along with notice of your appeals rights. Pay attention to the type of letter that is included as it will dictate the appeals process available to you.

The “30-day letter”

The “30-day letter” gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the IRS Office Of Appeals. To do this, you need to file a Tax Protest within 30 days of the date of the notice. The Appeals Office is the only level of appeal within the IRS and is separate from and independent of the IRS office taking the action you disagree with. Conferences with Appeals Office personnel are held in an informal manner by correspondence, by telephone, or at a personal conference.

The “Notice Of Deficiency”

If the IRS does not adopt your position, it will send a notice proposing a tax adjustment (known as a statutory notice of deficiency). The statutory notice of deficiency gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the United States Tax Court before paying it. To do this, you need to file a petition within 90 days of the date of the notice (150 days if the notice is addressed to you outside the United States). If you filed your petition on time, the court will eventually schedule your case for trial at the designation place of trial you set forth in your petition. Prior to trial you should have the opportunity to seek a settlement with IRS Area Counsel and in certain cases, such settlement negotiations could be delegated to the IRS Office Of Appeals. If there is still disagreement and the case does go to trial, you will have the opportunity to present your case before a Tax Court judge. The judge after hearing your case and reviewing the record and any post-trial briefs will render a decision in the form of an Opinion. It could take as much as two years after trial before an Opinion issued. If the Opinion is not appealed to a Circuit Court Of Appeals, then the proposed deficiency under the Opinion is final and your account will be sent to IRS Collections.

IRS Area Counsel are experienced trial attorneys working for the IRS whose job is to litigate cases in the U.S. Tax Court and look out for the best interests of the Federal government. So to level the playing field, it would be prudent for a taxpayer to hire qualified tax counsel as soon as possible to seek a mutually acceptable resolution without the need for trial, and if that does not happen, to already have the legal expertise in place to vigorously defend you at trial.

What Should You Do?

Protect yourself and contact a trusted tax professional to quickly prepare and file your late tax returns to prevent or mitigate adverse tax consequences that could involve imposition of penalties and even criminal prosecution.  You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), the San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose and Walnut Creek) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you and if you are involved in crypto-currency, check out what a Bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

Alaska taxpayers impacted by November 2023 severe storms qualify for tax relief

On March 25, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, landslides and mudslides that began on November 20, 2023 in parts of Alaska. These taxpayers now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The June 17, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on January 16, 2024, April 15, 2024 and June 17, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2023, January 31, 2024 and April 30, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after November 20, 2023, and before December 5, 2023, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by December 5, 2023.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 28, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Alaska – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in the Wrangell Cooperative Association of Alaska Tribal Nation.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State or “4763-DR” for Alaska.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.

Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit

If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.

We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper.  By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.

So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:

  • Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
  • Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
  • Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
  • Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
  • Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
  • Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
  • Entertainment and Travel Logs for business

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.  Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

IRS Using Inflation Reduction Act to Launch Further Initiatives and Penalties to go after High-Income Taxpayers

More than $482 million recovered from 1,600 millionaires who have not paid tax debts and even more taxpayers will be subject to further scrutiny.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act the IRS is receiving $80 billion in new funding over nine years. The $80 billion price tag is more than six times the current annual IRS budget of $12.6 billion. The money will be distributed to IRS over nine years and comes with few strings attached. Before the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS had limited budgets and staffing resources to be able to carry out this task. With new funding available due to the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS now has the capability to launch a large compliance effort.

IRS Claims Of Collection Enforcement And Examinations

The IRS previously announced continued progress to expand enforcement efforts and increase scrutiny related to high-income individuals, large corporations, complex partnerships who do not pay overdue tax bills as a result of the additional funding it is receiving under the Inflation Reduction Act.

In its enforcement efforts and increasing scrutiny, the IRS is focusing on people using partnerships to avoid paying self-employment taxes. The IRS is also continuing to pursue millionaires that have not paid hundreds of millions of dollars in tax debt, with an additional $360 million collected on top of the $122 million reported in late October 2023. The IRS has now collected $482 million in ongoing efforts to recoup taxes owed by 1,600 millionaires with work continuing in this area.

The various and specific ways the IRS is pursuing higher scrutiny and expanding their enforcement efforts include, prioritization of high-income collection cases, pursuing multi-million-dollar partnership balance sheet discrepancies, ramp of audits of 76 largest partnerships leveraging artificial intelligence, compliance alerts for large foreign-owned corporations who use transfer pricing rules year after year to report losses and avoid reporting an appropriate amount of U.S. profits, expansion of large corporate compliance program, and IRS has been increasing compliance to ensure that Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) taxes are being properly reported and paid by wealthy individual partners who provide services and have inappropriately claimed to qualify as “limited partners” in state law limited partnerships (such as investment partnerships) not subject to SECA tax.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel noted Inflation Reduction Act resources allows the IRS “to increase scrutiny on high-income taxpayers as we work to reverse the historic low audit rates and limited focus that the wealthiest individuals and organizations faced in the years that predated the Inflation Reduction Act. We are adding staff and technology to ensure that the taxpayers with the highest income, including partnerships, large corporations and millionaires and billionaires, pay what is legally owed under federal law. At the same time, we are focused on improving our taxpayer service for hard-working taxpayers, offering them more in-person and online resources as part of our effort to deliver another successful tax season in 2024. The additional resources the IRS has received is making a difference for taxpayers, and we plan to build on these improvements in the months ahead.]

IRS begins new compliance efforts and penalties on high-income taxpayers who failed to file tax returns

Following its commitment to enhancing tax compliance enforcement activity, on February 29, 2024, the IRS announced that IRS compliance notices CP59 are going to be mailed out to more than 125,000 taxpayers where tax returns haven’t been filed since 2017. The mailings include more than 25,000 to those with more than $1 million in income, and over 100,000 to people with incomes between $400,000 and $1 million between tax years 2017 and 2021. In these cases, the IRS has received third-party information—such as W-2s and 1099s—indicating these people received income in these ranges but failed to file a tax return. The IRS is sending out CP59 notices starting with the highest-income taxpayers, with thousands of additional notices to be followed weekly.

Under this new compliance effort, if a taxpayer does not file there is a  failure-to-file penalty, which is an additional 5% of the amount owed every month – up to 25% of the tax bill.  If a person continually fails to file, the IRS may create a substitute tax return for the taxpayer. This substitute tax return is calculated based on wages and other income reported to the IRS by employers, financial institutions, and others. These substitute tax return factors in the tax, penalty and interest owed by the taxpayer. Furthermore, if a taxpayer does not file their taxes they could possibly miss out on a refund, a right to claim specific tax credits, or if a taxpayer is self-employed, they will not receive credit towards Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

What the IRS does if you do not file a tax return …

People who don’t respond to the non-filer letter will receive additional notices and other enforcement actions. Ultimately, this can lead to a variety of IRS compliance activity, including collection and audit action as well as potential criminal prosecution. As part of this, the IRS can also take steps to file what’s known as a Substitute for Return (“SFR”).

If a person repeatedly fails to respond and does not file, the IRS may create a substitute tax return for the taxpayer. The IRS calculates this substitute tax return based on wages and other income reported to the agency by employers, financial institutions and others. The return factors in the tax, penalty and interest owed by the taxpayer.

When the IRS creates a SFR, almost always that liability on the SFR is higher than if an actual return is filed by the taxpayer.  That is because an SFR does not take into account deductions and basis that you would otherwise be entitled to report.

In this scenario, the IRS will send a Notice Of Deficiency (Form CP3219N or sometimes referred to as a “90-day letter”) proposing a tax assessment. The taxpayer will have 90 days to file the past due tax return or file a petition in Tax Court. If the person does neither, the IRS will proceed with the proposed assessment.

If the IRS files a substitute return, it is still in the person’s best interest to file their own tax return to take advantage of any exemptions, credits and deductions they are entitled to receive. The IRS will generally adjust the account to reflect the correct figures.

The tax return the IRS prepares for these taxpayers will likely lead to a tax bill, which, if unpaid, will trigger the collection process. This can include such actions as a levy on wages or a bank account or the filing of a notice of federal tax lien. If a taxpayer repeatedly does not file, they could be subject to additional enforcement measures, such as additional penalties and/or criminal prosecution.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. For California taxpayers, the Franchise Tax Board has up to four years to select a California State Income Tax Return for audit. In some cases these 3 and 4 year periods are extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.

Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit

If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.

We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper.  By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.

So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:

  • Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
  • Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
  • Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
  • Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
  • Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
  • Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
  • Entertainment and Travel Logs for business

Appealing Results Of An IRS Tax Audit

Now if your IRS tax audit is not resolved, the results may be challenged. After the Revenue Agent has concluded the tax examination, the agent will issue a copy of the examination report explaining the agent’s proposed changes along with notice of your appeals rights. Pay attention to the type of letter that is included as it will dictate the appeals process available to you.

The “30-day letter”

The “30-day letter” gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the IRS Office Of Appeals. To do this, you need to file a Tax Protest within 30 days of the date of the notice. The Appeals Office is the only level of appeal within the IRS and is separate from and independent of the IRS office taking the action you disagree with. Conferences with Appeals Office personnel are held in an informal manner by correspondence, by telephone, or at a personal conference.

The “Notice Of Deficiency”

If the IRS does not adopt your position, it will send a notice proposing a tax adjustment (known as a statutory notice of deficiency). The statutory notice of deficiency gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the United States Tax Court before paying it. To do this, you need to file a petition within 90 days of the date of the notice (150 days if the notice is addressed to you outside the United States). If you filed your petition on time, the court will eventually schedule your case for trial at the designation place of trial you set forth in your petition. Prior to trial you should have the opportunity to seek a settlement with IRS Area Counsel and in certain cases, such settlement negotiations could be delegated to the IRS Office Of Appeals. If there is still disagreement and the case does go to trial, you will have the opportunity to present your case before a Tax Court judge. The judge after hearing your case and reviewing the record and any post-trial briefs will render a decision in the form of an Opinion. It could take as much as two years after trial before an Opinion issued. If the Opinion is not appealed to a Circuit Court Of Appeals, then the proposed deficiency under the Opinion is final and your account will be sent to IRS Collections.

IRS Area Counsel are experienced trial attorneys working for the IRS whose job is to litigate cases in the U.S. Tax Court and look out for the best interests of the Federal government. So to level the playing field, it would be prudent for a taxpayer to hire qualified tax counsel as soon as possible to seek a mutually acceptable resolution without the need for trial, and if that does not happen, to already have the legal expertise in place to vigorously defend you at trial.

What Should You Do?

You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes.  People receiving CP59 notices should take immediate action to avoid additional follow-up notices, higher penalties, and potentially stronger enforcement measures. If you are selected for an audit, or CP59 notice stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), the San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose and Walnut Creek) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you and if you are involved in crypto-currency, check out what a Bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

Spokane area taxpayers impacted by August 2023 wildfires qualify for tax relief

On February 28, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State. These taxpayers now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The June 17, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on September 15, 2023, January 16, 2024 and April 15, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2023, January 31, 2024 and April 30, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after August 18, 2023, and before September 5, 2023, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by September 5, 2023.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.

Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit

If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.

We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper.  By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.

So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:

  • Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
  • Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
  • Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
  • Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
  • Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
  • Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
  • Entertainment and Travel Logs for business

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income.  Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.