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San Jose, CA tax compliance attorneyMost people know that paying taxes is not optional. However, sometimes something as simple as a mistake or miscalculation on a tax return can result in a tax compliance issue. When the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) discovers a problem with an individual’s tax return, the first method for contacting the taxpayer is typically a letter through the mail. If the issue is not resolved through the mail, an IRS officer may sit down with the taxpayer in a face-to-face meeting to discuss the compliance concerns. If you have been contacted by the IRS because you have not adequately met your tax obligations, an experienced tax lawyer can help you understand your options and protect your rights.

Make Sure That it Is Actually the IRS Who Is Contacting You

In recent years, there has been an uptick in the number of scammers pretending to be IRS agents. A scammer will typically make a phone call to an unsuspecting taxpayer and impersonate an IRS agent for the purposes of gaining access to personal identifying information or stealing the individual’s money. The IRS very rarely makes phone calls regarding tax issues. If an IRS worker does call you, he or she will not demand immediate payment or ask for credit card details over the phone. According to the IRS’s official website, anyone who receives a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS should hang up and call the IRS directly to discuss any potential compliance issues.

Know What to Expect During an IRS Meeting

The IRS recently announced that it will be increasing the number of revenue officers who make in-person visits to taxpayers. These face-to-face meetings will be focused in communities that have been especially affected by reduced IRS resources. In-person meetings only occur after the IRS makes several attempts to contact the taxpayer via mail. These meetings are typically unannounced. The IRS officer should provide two forms of credentials in order to verify that he or she is indeed an IRS worker. If he or she does not offer identification, you have the right to ask to see these credentials. The officer will then discuss your tax concerns and help you understand your options for resolving the issues.

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: San Jose foreign income tax compliance lawyerIn July 2019, the Internal Revenue Service Large Business and International Division announced that six new campaigns are being launched to help noncompliant taxpayers avoid criminal prosecution and/or civil penalties. These campaigns are part of an effort to allow taxpayers who are currently behind on their tax obligations to become compliant with the law. Two such campaigns address obligations related to foreign financial assets and expatriates. If you have unresolved tax issues related to foreign assets or are living outside the United States, these campaigns may be of special interest to you.

The Purpose of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

U.S. citizens or residents who make money outside the United States are still required to report this income to the Internal Revenue Service. Those who fail to report foreign assets and pay the associated taxes may be subject to civil penalties and even criminal prosecution. In 2009, the IRS created the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) as an avenue for taxpayers to avoid criminal liability and resolve outstanding tax debt related to foreign assets. This program ended in 2018. Because many former OVDP participants are still noncompliant with U.S. tax laws, the IRS has launched a number of new campaigns to address compliance issues.   

Post OVDP Relief and Expatriation

The IRS has recently announced a new campaign addressing individuals who had previously participated in the OVDP but have failed to remain compliant with foreign asset reporting. The Post OVDP Compliance campaign will identify problems that represent a risk of noncompliance. The IRS says it plans to address tax noncompliance through examinations (audits) and “soft letters,” which warn taxpayers that they may need to take steps to meet their reporting requirements.

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