A taxpayer recently found out the hard way that if something sounds too good to be true, get a second opinion. His San Francisco-based CPA helped him prepare and file tax returns that failed to report over $18 million in income between December 2007 and September 2013, which resulted in $4.7 million of unpaid tax liabilities. In this case, both the taxpayer and his CPA were indicted; the taxpayer entered into a plea agreement and the tax preparer took his chances --- he lost.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced plans to consolidate the federal Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ into a single Form 1040 for the 2019 filing season. The shorter form would be supplemented with schedules for more complex tax filing situations. Tax professionals can view the proposed new Form 1040 in draft form here and submit any comments to [email protected].
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
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.
Virtual currency transactions, such as the purchase or sale of Bitcoin, are reportable transactions on your federal income tax returns, as a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) press release states. Failure to report digital currency transactions can lead to audit and possible penalty or interest assessments. The IRS has issued Notice 2014-21 (here) to provide guidance for taxpayers and tax return preparers regarding such transactions. To read the full IRS press release on this topic, click here.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created a special landing page to share information with tax professionals concerning the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Click through for the latest press releases, publications, and IRS legal guidance on the changes made by the latest tax reform: www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-reform
The California Tax Education Council (CTEC) began a public awareness campaign for the 2018 tax filing season targeting "ghost tax preparers," meaning paid tax professionals who do not sign the returns they prepare. The Council reminds taxpayers that "tax preparers who charge a fee to do your taxes, but never sign your tax return are breaking the law." Hiring a ghost preparer could lead to tax refund fraud, penalties, or additional taxes. For more information from CTEC on this issue, click here.
If you are a tax professional, take note of recent changes that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) have made to their power of attorney forms that may affect your ability to access client information. The IRS form, found here, has expanded section 5a to include a box you must check if you have intermediaries access client transcripts for you. The FTB has completely rehauled its power of attorney form system --- there is a new form to use for individuals, a separate form for business entities, and a third form to use when you want to revoke your power of attorney. To learn more about the various the changes to the FTB forms, click here.
The IRS Large Business and International division (LB&I) is rolling out a series of campaigns focused on specific compliance issues. The division analyzed extensive data as well as suggestions from IRS compliance employees and the tax community to improve large business compliance activities.
No one is beyond the certainty of taxes, as a priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose, California, discovered last week. Hien Minh Nguyen was sentenced to 36 months in prison for taking cash and checks donated to the Diocese by parishioners and depositing them into his personal bank account to pay for personal expenses. The court found that the priest embezzled a total of $1.4 million from the Catholic Church and, by concealing the embezzlement from his return preparer, evaded over $500,000 in income taxes owed to the IRS.