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Sacramento Tax Law Blog

Registration Open for 2018 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum

The 2018 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum dates and locations are now available for this annual tax law event featuring education sessions, training, and networking for tax law professionals.  Betty Williams will be speaking about "Representing the Taxpayer Without Records: How and When Can a Preparer Use Taxpayer Estimates & Reconstructions to Prepare a Return" during the forum scheduled for August 7 - 9, 2018 in San Diego. To register, click here: https://www.irstaxforum.com/index

CA Supreme Court Enhances Independent Contractor Restrictions for Employers

The long-anticipated case Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, was issued on April 30, 2018.  The case dealt with whether delivery drivers classified as independent contractors were misclassified as such under California Industrial Wage Commission Wage Order No. 9-2001.

Beware of a New Variation on Tax-Related Phone Scams

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its Security Summit partners have released a warning about a new variation on phone scams by which criminals prey on taxpayers. Scammers are now using telephone numbers that mimic IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers to try to trick victims into paying non-existent tax bills. Remember that IRS employees at these centers do not make calls to taxpayers to demand payment; such requests are typically initiated through regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

Top FTB Tax Delinquents Owe California Over $505 Million

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently published its updated list of California's top 500 tax debtors, comprising both individuals and businesses that now collectively owe the state more than $505 million in income tax. Since October 2007, this list is updated twice annually. Taxpayers who receive notice of the FTB's intent to include them on the list and then make arrangements to pay their tax debt are removed from the publication.

California Resident May Face Ten Years in Prison for Conspiring to File Fraudulent Tax Returns

On April 18, 2018, Ana Bajo, a California resident, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of California to conspiring to file fraudulent claims for more than $9.7 million in refunds by obtaining the personal information of others and filing more than 2,300 fraudulent income tax returns with her co-conspirators. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid over more than $7.5 million as a result of the scheme. Bajo now faces a maximum of ten years in prison, plus supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 26, 2018.

Former IRS Employee Sentenced to Prison Time and Restitution for Filing False Tax Returns

On March 5, 2018, a former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee, Pamela Pringle, was sentenced in the Eastern District of California for "making opportunities for persons to defraud the United States and for making and subscribing false returns." While employed by the IRS, Pringle prepared and filed income tax returns for other individuals that included false deductions, and in several years she also filed fraudulent tax returns for herself, claiming deductions to which she was not entitled. Pringle entered a guilty plea in November 2017 and will spend 5 months in prison, then 36 months under supervised release, including 5 months of home confinement; she was also ordered to pay $56,857 in restitution.

Pilot Program to Fix Wage and Hour Problems

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently launched the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which is designed to quickly resolve unintentional minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) without penalty to qualified participants. Workers will benefit by swiftly receiving back wages that are owed, and employers can get into compliance without paying penalties. Employers must act quickly, however, since the pilot program is scheduled to end in about six months.

DOJ Shuts Down Southern California Tax Return Preparer

The Department of Justice has permanently barred a Southern California tax preparer from preparing federal returns for others, following a complaint filed by the government that the tax professional had been filing returns claiming a total of more than $9 million in fraudulent refunds since at least 2009. She agreed to the injunction and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims, tax evasion, and aggravated identity theft.

Employment Tax Crimes Can Lead to Significant Prison Time

The Department of Justice recently reminded taxpayers that evading personal or business-related tax obligations can lead to "substantial fines and penalties, and even long prison sentences." Last month, the husband-and-wife owners of a Tennessee staffing company were sentenced to 75 months and one year, respectively, of prison time for failure to pay over $2.8 million in employment-related taxes and withholdings, and for filing false employment tax returns.

TIGTA Releases Interim Results for 2018 Filing Season

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report providing interim results for the 2018 federal tax filing season. As of March 2, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had received approximately 61 million tax returns and issued over 48 million refunds totaling almost $148 billion.

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