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September 2016 Archives

Germany's "James Bond" on Trial for Tax Evasion

Former intelligence agent Werner Mauss is the latest celebrity under scrutiny for allegedly evading taxes from profits on offshore accounts. Mr. Mauss says the accounts were opened by intelligence agencies to fund covert operations worldwide, including averting a mafia poisoning attempt against a Pope, and operations involving hostage releases. Mr. Mauss is a mystery. He has several aliases and is a self-proclaimed master spy. He is believed to have worked extensively under cover for Germany's BND intelligence service as well as for other governments. Mr. Mauss' lawyers identify the client confidences Mr. Mauss must maintain and other problems with standard litigation given the secret nature of Mr. Mauss' work and identity. For more information, click here.

Streamlined Processing for IRS Installment Agreements

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is piloting an expanded program for streamlined processing of taxpayer requests for installment agreements through the end of September 2017. For the next year, the IRS expects more taxpayers to qualify for faster processing of their requests. The expanded criteria do no apply, however, to requests submitted to W&I Accounts Management, SB/SE Field Collection, or through the Online Payment Agreement application form. For details, click here.

IRS To Begin New Private Debt Collection Program in Spring 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it will begin private collection of overdue federal tax debts starting in Spring 2017. The IRS will contract with four private agencies to attempt to collect on federal debts owed that the IRS is no longer actively pursuing or for which the IRS does not have sufficient resources to pursue.

Important Update for IRS e-Services Users

Beginning October 24, 2016, the IRS will be strengthening the identity authentication process of its e-services platform. If you currently use any IRS e-services, you must re-register and validate your identity to continue having access to any e-services products. This will involve a Secure Access process to validate your identity, which includes identity proofing, financial verification and mobile phone verification. For details, click here: Important Update for Your e-services Account.

Beware! Scammers Send Fake IRS E-Mail Messages to Taxpayers

Taxpayers and tax professionals across the U.S. are being targeted by yet another scam.  The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners recently issued a warning regarding fake e-mails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act.  The scam has already been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.

Collection Due Process Program Has Improved, TIGTA Finds

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) completed its statutory audit of the IRS' Collection Due Process program and released its final report on August 30, 2016. The Collection Due Process program was designed as an opportunity for taxpayers to have an independent review of proposed IRS levies and liens. TIGTA found that the IRS' internal compliance with the program has improved overall, with fewer misclassified taxpayer cases as compared to the previous year's review.

IRS Responses to Freedom of Information Act Requests Found Inadequate

On September 1, 2016, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released its fiscal year 2016 statutory review of the Internal Revenue Service's compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The review found that taxpayer rights may have been violated in 11% of the IRS' responses, "because these information requests had some information erroneously withheld." In 16% of cases, the IRS took too long (more than 30 business days) to provide information requestors with a status update.

IRS Finalizes Regulations on Same-Sex Marriages

The IRS has issued final regulations to define terms and include same-sex marriage as a marital status for federal tax purposes. The IRS previously issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 following the Supreme Court case, Windsor v. U.S., in which the Court addressed the terms "spouse," "husband and wife," "husband," and "wife" and ruled that marriages of same-sex couples in states recognizing same-sex marriages were also recognized for federal tax purposes. The subsequent Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, made same-sex marriage legal in every state. As a result, the Treasury Department and the IRS amended the regulations under Internal Revenue Code section 7701, and provided that for federal tax purposes, the terms ''spouse,'' ''husband,'' and ''wife'' mean an individual lawfully married to another individual, and the term ''husband and wife'' means two individuals lawfully married to each other. Marriage does not include couples recognized as registered domestic partners, or joined by civil union.

Passports of Individuals with Seriously Delinquent Tax Debts May Be Revoked

On September 2, 2016, the U.S. Department of State finalized a rule that will result in the denial or revocation of passports for persons with seriously delinquent tax debts, effective immediately.  A "seriously delinquent tax debt" generally means an assessment of $50,000 or more for which a lien or levy has been filed.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will certify the status of these individuals for the Secretary of the Treasury.

Complete Report on 2014 Federal Individual Income Tax Returns Available

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made Statistics of Income - 2014 Individual Income Tax Returns Complete Report (Publication 1304) available to the public on August 31, 2016. Highlights include:

New Security Summit Video Warns of Cybercriminal Threats

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released a YouTube video for tax professionals to learn about the increase in cybercriminal activity targeting tax-related businesses and their data, and steps professional can take to protect their clients from identity theft. This video is part of the ongoing Secuirty Summit efforts to educate the public and professionals about the recent growth in refund fraud, phishing, and other tax scams. To learn more, watch the YouTube video here.

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