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Recent Blog Posts

How Can I Resolve My Tax Debt in Order to Obtain a Passport?

 Posted on March 13, 2019 in Taxation Law

San Jose CA tax debt lawyer for passportsFailing to pay your tax obligations can lead to major consequences. One problem you might run into is that you may not be able to obtain a U.S. passport or renew an existing passport. Carrying tax debt could also keep you from using your already issued passport. This can be detrimental for those who need to travel internationally for work or family reasons.

The IRS has prioritized the enforcement of this consequence of not paying back taxes for the past year. The law targets those with “seriously delinquent tax debts,” which is defined as a debt of $52,000 or more, including taxes, penalties, and interest.

If the IRS identifies you as being seriously delinquent, it will inform the State Department, which by law will deny a passport application or renewal. If you have in your possession a valid passport, the State Department also has the power to revoke the passport or limit your ability to leave the United States.

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Tax Deductions: Safe Harbor for Rental Real Estate Businesses

 Posted on February 22, 2019 in Taxation Law

San Jose tax deduction lawyer real estateUnder the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017, certain owners of rental properties may be eligible for a significant tax deduction. The law allows for a 20 percent deduction against “qualified” business income for pass-through businesses. In determining whether someone qualifies for this deduction, a key consideration is whether the taxpayer engages in a “qualified trade or business” for purposes of Section 199A of the Internal Revenue Code. In some cases, it can be difficult to determine whether a business meets these qualifications, and the IRS has issued additional guidance about safe harbor for rental real estate businesses.

Qualifying for Safe Harbor

According to the IRS, the 20% qualified business income (QBI) deduction can only be taken against business income, rather than real estate investments. To achieve the required classification as a qualified trade or business, the IRS has set forth two major requirements for owners of rental real estate.

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How Do I Apply for Tax Penalty Abatement?

 Posted on February 15, 2019 in Taxation Law

San Jose tax penalty relief attorneyIf you have been hit with a penalty by the IRS, you might believe that you have no other choice than to pay. This is an incorrect assumption, as there are numerous circumstances where the IRS may not require you to pay a penalty. In order to take advantage of this relief, you must fully comply with certain IRS procedures.

Importantly, if you believe you may be assessed a penalty, you can preemptively apply for abatement when you act quickly. Also, if you have already paid a penalty, you may still request abatement. In all cases of tax penalty abatement, time is of the essence. 

Do You Qualify for Tax Penalty Abatement?

The IRS offers penalty abatement to those who have a reasonable cause for late filing, late payment, or accuracy-related issues (negligence penalties). Reasonable causes include natural disasters and medical emergencies. If the IRS has made a mistake with regard to your return, you may also qualify for penalty abatement. Depending on your specific circumstance, you may also qualify for a one-time abatement of a penalty.

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IRS Rules Change Regarding Expense and Depreciation Deductions

 Posted on January 31, 2019 in Small Business Taxes

San Jose business tax deduction attorneyHistorically, business owners have been able to utilize tax deductions based on the cost of assets bought for business use and the depreciation of those assets. However, the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) modified the rules regarding the deduction of expenses under Section 179(a) and the deduction of depreciation under Section 168(g). These changes affect business taxes filed for years 2018 and beyond.

Section 179(a): Business Asset Deductions

This law permits businesses to deduct the purchase price of certain assets as an expense for the year the business begins to use the property. The recent updates to the law raised the maximum expense deduction to $1 million (up from $500,000). The updated law also raised the phase-out limit to $2.5 million (up from $2 million).

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Tax Issues for Shareholders of Controlled Foreign Corporations

 Posted on January 21, 2019 in Taxation Law

San Jose foreign asset tax attorneyThe federal government has long been concerned with assets and businesses based abroad but owned by United States citizens. The IRS regularly looks to address income that is purposefully generated outside the country to avoid taxation. As part of the efforts to ensure that foreign investments are taxed correctly, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was passed last year, made sizable changes to taxation rules, such as the addition of regulations mandating that global intangible low-taxed income produced by controlled foreign corporations be included in a taxpayer’s taxable income.

What Is a Controlled Foreign Corporation?

A controlled foreign corporation (CFC) is an American corporation that operates in another country with U.S. shareholders who hold 50% or more of the control of that corporation. American shareholders, directors, or officers of one of these businesses must report their income from the foreign corporation and pay taxes on that income. 

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Qualifying for Tax Deferral for Private Corporation Equity Compensation

 Posted on January 15, 2019 in Taxation Law

San Jose income tax attorneyOne change ushered in by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 permits eligible employees of privately held corporations to postpone paying income tax on the value of qualified stock options and restricted stock units (RSUs) granted to them by their employers. Under the law, one can postpone payment of this tax for up to 5 years.

This law is meant to encourage employee stock ownership in startup or early-stage businesses. It applies to stock options that are exercised and RSUs that are settled as of or after December 31, 2017. 

The IRS has announced and clarified many requirements that affect whether a person may be eligible for tax deferral. For example, in order for a company to be eligible, at least 80% of its domestic employees must have received stock options during a single calendar year. 

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IRS Announces Updated Voluntary Disclosure Procedures

 Posted on January 03, 2019 in Taxation Law

San Jose offshore tax attorney OVDPIf it has come to your attention that your tax filings may not be in compliance with U.S. tax laws and regulations, and you may be concerned you could face criminal liability, the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) may provide a means to rectify your noncompliance status. 

About the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

The OVDP applies to tax issues related to unreported offshore income or assets. The OVDP was created for taxpayers who are concerned the IRS will view their conduct as willful or fraudulent. Under the law, a taxpayer’s failure to report offshore financial assets and fully pay the taxes due related to such assets may lead to criminal charges. Allowing for voluntary disclosure once tax returns have been filed is a way a taxpayer may be able to avoid criminal prosecution.

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Filing Wage Statements and Independent Contractor Forms

 Posted on December 31, 2018 in Small Business Taxes

San Jose business tax form lawyerAn IRS deadline for business owners is fast approaching. January 31, 2019 is the date by which employers and businesses must submit wage statement forms and independent contractor forms. 

These requirements were outlined in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, which made it compulsory for businesses to submit duplicates of Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) and Form W-3 (Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements) to the Social Security Administration by the end of January of each year. In addition, certain Forms 1099-MISC (Miscellaneous Income) must be filed by this date with the IRS to report payments made to independent contractors. 

There are penalties for businesses that do not comply with this deadline. 

Purpose of This Filing

By requiring employers to file wage statements and independent contractor forms by January 31, 2019, the IRS states that it can verify income reported by individuals in a faster and more accurate manner. This timeline also helps the IRS detect information that has been misreported. Thus, this requirement can assist in the prevention of tax fraud.

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Payroll Tax Issues that California Small Business Owners Must Address

 Posted on December 19, 2018 in Small Business Taxes

San Jose small business payroll tax lawyerCalifornia employers are responsible for withholding payroll taxes, filing returns, and paying state and federal payroll taxes. The laws governing payroll taxes are complex, and as your small business grows, the onerousness of compliance with these tax rules will intensify.

What Are Payroll Taxes?

California has four state payroll taxes. Two are paid by the employer: Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Employment Training Tax (ETT). Two are withheld from workers’ wages: State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Personal Income Tax (PIT). Payroll taxes are administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD).

In addition, employers must handle federal payroll taxes. A small business will be required to pay federal taxes for Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment (FUTA). Also, an employer withholds federal personal income taxes, Medicare, and Social Security from workers’ wages.

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IRS Announces No Voluntary Disclosure Program for Cryptocurrency

 Posted on December 10, 2018 in Taxation Law

San Jose virtual currency tax attorneyThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has no plans to create a voluntary disclosure program for virtual currency similar to what has previously been offered for undisclosed foreign assets, an agency official recently said in a speech at a tax symposium.

In 2014, the IRS stated that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin that could be converted to traditional currencies are considered property for the purposes of taxation. Thus, a person may experience a gain or a loss when selling or exchanging cryptocurrency based on the value of the cryptocurrency at the time of the exchange. 

Because cryptocurrencies are classified as property, general taxation rules of property will apply. The sale of cryptocurrencies, the use of them to purchase goods or services, or retaining the cryptocurrencies for investment purposes generally have tax consequences, which may mean taxes will be owed.

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