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Archive for the ‘IRS’ Category

Right Under Their Noses…

Posted by taxguru on February 18, 2018

Most people give the IRS more credit for their alleged superpowers to sniff out every little tax mistake or fraud around the country than they deserve.  What kind of all-seeing detection abilities does IRS have if they aren’t even able to detect tax cheats in their own midst?

IRS still paying bonuses to tax cheat employees

Posted in cheats, IRS | Leave a Comment »

2018 IRS Mileage Rates

Posted by taxguru on December 17, 2017

As we all get ready for the transition to living in the year 2018, IRS has released its official standard mileage deduction rates to be used on 2018 tax returns.  While the 2018 tax returns won’t be prepared until the 2019 Tax Season, these figures are more currently relevant since most businesses use the IRS rates for reimbursing their employees for business related trips in their personal vehicles.

From the IRS news release:

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

 

As always, I want to encourage everyone who uses their vehicles for business purposes to keep track of their actual expenses because they are frequently much higher than the IRS’s standard rate, especially for more expensive vehicles that get lousy gas mileage. 

This article on the AAA website shows their calculations of typical annual operating costs for different types of vehicles.  Using 15,000 miles per year, AAA came up with annual operating costs ranging from $6,354 (42.36 cents per mile) for small sedans to $10,054 (67.03 cents per mile) for pickup trucks.  

Posted in IRS, Vehicles | Comments Off on 2018 IRS Mileage Rates

Catching Phony IRS Scammers

Posted by taxguru on December 4, 2017

I doubt there is anybody left in this country who hasn’t received a phony demand for money from scammers posing as IRS agents, whether by phone, email or snail mail.  I have been forwarding at least one such scam email to IRS’s special email address (phising@irs.gov) each week. 

Just as with other such scam emails, I have always been curious as to whether the crooks are ever caught.  This recent story about the arrest of three men in Georgia (USA, not Russia) and one in Illinois, with connections to a bigger organized crime operation in India, is a good sign that at least a few of the bad guys are being caught. 

With fake IDs, three Georgia men collected $666,537, prosecutors say

What is most mind boggling about these scammers is the fact that they allegedly conned 7,314 people to send them a total of almost $3.5 million for fictitious taxes.  Considering that this was just one gang, there have to be several others running the same kind of scam.  With all of the publicity about these scams, it’s a bit amazing that there are so many gullible folks who fall for it.  

IRS has a useful guide to dealing with these scams on their website that has been growing in size as more and more people get into this extremely lucrative criminal activity.

Tax Scams / Consumer Alerts

Posted in Crooks, IRS, scams | Comments Off on Catching Phony IRS Scammers

Is this some kind of joke?

Posted by taxguru on October 5, 2017

Unfortunately not.

IRS awards multimillion-dollar fraud-prevention contract to Equifax

IRS top brass continue to dig themselves even deeper down the untrustworthiness hole they have been in for the past few years.  This really boosts our confidence in giving IRS all of our personal financial and other information; not.  What could go wrong?  Unfortunately, when taxpayers’ private info falls into the wrong hands due to these idiots, there’s nothing we can do about it.  IRS, as well as all government employees, can’t be sued for stupidity.    

 

I also considered some other headlines for this hard to believe news.

The Blind leading the blind

Dumb and Dumber

Stupid is as stupid does

Posted in IRS | Comments Off on Is this some kind of joke?

IRS Hurricane Delays

Posted by taxguru on September 28, 2017

IRS has released the following summary of the delayed filing dates for taxpayers and preparers who are/were located in the areas hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

IRS Offers Help to Hurricane Victims: A Recap of Key Tax Relief Provisions Available Following Harvey, Irma and Maria

Hopefully, Maria will be the last big storm of the year to require such measures.

Posted in disaster, IRS | Comments Off on IRS Hurricane Delays

IRS Extends Deadlines for Irma Victims

Posted by taxguru on September 12, 2017

All last week, as we all prepared for the oncoming wrath of Hurricane Irma, I was confident that everyone in Florida could expect the same kind of official extensions of time from IRS to file tax returns that had their first extension expiring in the next few months. 

While this was mainly 2016 1040s, even more pressing are the extensions for pass-through entities, such as LLCs, Partnerships, Trusts and S-Corps, which have extended deadlines of September 15, 2017 for their 2016 tax returns.  In the “old days” filing any of these tax returns late wasn’t a big deal because late penalties were only based on the amount of taxes due, and as pass-through entities, they had no taxes and thus no late penalties.  However this was changed a number of years ago and nowadays IRS is very aggressive in assessing late filing penalties of hundreds of dollars per month per K-1.  These frequently grow into thousands of dollars.

Since Sept 15 is fast approaching, for the past few days, I have been checking the IRS news page for an announcement similar to the one they had for Hurricane Harvey, giving all those affected by Irma more time to file their 2016 tax returns.  Until just a short while ago, the only Irma affected territory mentioned as having filing relief were parts of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

IRS has just released this news release, announcing the expansion of the list of areas that have been granted official deadline extensions due to Hurricane Irma disruptions.

As of right now (2:50 pm on 9/12/17) The IRS’s list of affected Florida areas only includes 16 counties.  Since the evacuation order, preparation and the actual storm included all 67 counties here in Florida, IRS will need to expand that list.  According to the IRS description, it’s a function of what they are told by FEMA.  While not all 67 counties were hit as hard as some others, most were affected by the storm.  Even people who didn’t have any actual storm damage, but heeded the Governor’s pleas to get the hell out of Florida, are going to need a lot of time to get back to their normal lives after returning to their homes.  

I can only assume that the IRS’s official list of affected Florida counties will grow over the next few days or weeks.  Rather than list 60 to 65 county names, they may just take the simpler route and include the entire State of Florida.

[Update 9/14/2017] – I noticed a few more Florida counties being added yesterday to the IRS’s list.  As of just before Noon today, their list of affected counties is up to 37, including Citrus, where we are located.  As more hurricane damage is discovered and reported up the chain of command (FEMA, et al), this list will continue to grow.

[Update 9/15/2017] – The list of affected Florida counties is now up to 46.  Just 21 more to include the entire state.

[Update 9/16/2017] – The IRS list of affected Florida counties has now been changed to “This represents all 67 counties of Florida.”

[Update 9/20/2017] – IRS has just declared that Georgia taxpayers and preparers are also eligible for the special 1/31/18 extended filing deadline due to Hurricane Irma.

Posted in disaster, extensions, IRS | Comments Off on IRS Extends Deadlines for Irma Victims

A necessary prerequisite for Tax Reform

Posted by taxguru on August 11, 2017

Ever since the amazing election of Donald Trump, there has been debate as to whether or not he and the GOP controlled Congress will be able to enact any substantial reform of our wild and wacky Tax Code in the near future.  We in the Tax Practitioner community would love to know the answer to this question so we will know what to advise our clients.  The uncertainty surrounding this issue is very frustrating for us all.

Basing predictions of what our rulers in DC will do on their blustery talk is insane and ludicrous. However, if we look at what actual advance preparations are being made by our rulers for such reforms, it doesn’t look promising. 

As these others have noted, it’s pretty much impossible to clean up the IRS Swamp when its crooks are allowed to continue running it  and nobody is punished for their flagrant crimes.  How can we have anything resembling a fair tax system when we can’t trust those in charge of it?

IRS head Koskinen hurting tax reform, Rep. Brady wants him fired

The IRS is STILL toying with conservative nonprofits. When will Trump jump in and drain this swamp?

Posted in Crooks, IRS, TaxReform | Comments Off on A necessary prerequisite for Tax Reform

IRS Condones Employees’ Criminal Activities

Posted by taxguru on August 1, 2017

It’s not bed enough that such IRS miscreants as Lois Lerner and John Koskinen have never faced any legal consequences for their blatant illegal activities while working at the IRS, there is this news item that IRS is rehiring employees who had been fired for criminal actions while working for IRS.

IRS Rehired Employees That Falsified Documents, Had Unauthorized Access to Taxpayer Information 

We all know that IRS has been suffering from low manpower due to attrition and budget restrictions, but are they this desperate for worker bees that they ignore and excuse prior criminal actions? What message does this send to other IRS employees, the tax practitioner community, as well as the American TaxPayers?  It is nothing less than  insane.

Update: Rush Limbaugh discussed this issue in his Morning Update on 8/7/17.

Posted in Crooks, IRS | Comments Off on IRS Condones Employees’ Criminal Activities

Facing Off With IRS Auditor

Posted by taxguru on May 27, 2017

The third season of the TV version of Fargo has been very amusing.  This scene from a recent episode, where a cash bank withdrawal of a tiny bit over $10,000 brings in a pushy IRS auditor, is funny in the way that the villain’s henchman handles the auditor.

 

The henchman cites "Section 41(c) of the U.S. Tax Code" as dealing with the taxpayer’s right to have licensed  representation.  That citation sounded strange to me, so I looked it up in the actual Internal Revenue Code that is included in my main tax reference, TheTaxBook’s WebLibrary.  Section 41 actually deals with  Credit for increasing research activities.  There are paragraphs (a) and (b) under Section 41, but no (c).

Posted in Fargo, IRS, video | Comments Off on Facing Off With IRS Auditor

IRS Reputation Still Sullied

Posted by taxguru on April 6, 2017

Can the top brass at IRS pull the agency’s reputation for corruption out of the hole they dug themselves into?  Punishing the lawbreakers we already know about would surely be a good start.  The fact that Lois Lerner and John Koskinen have yet to suffer any repercussions from their flagrant violations of the law makes it difficult to trust the Service’s desire to rehabilitate the taxpayers’ trust in them.

Bribery: New Documents Show IRS Targeting Scandal Was More Expansive

GOP calls for IRS Commissioner Koskinen to be fired

Posted in Crooks, IRS | Comments Off on IRS Reputation Still Sullied