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san jose tax lawyerIn August 2022, the U.S. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which is a key part of President Joe Biden's agenda. One much-discussed component of this act involved an increase in funding to the IRS. Nearly $80 billion of additional funds will be allocated to the IRS over the next 10 years, and officials have stated that this funding may be used to hire around 87,000 new IRS employees and increase tax audits on individuals and businesses that earn large incomes or own high-value assets. With this increased funding, the IRS will most likely be making efforts to crack down on offshore tax evasion. Taxpayers who own foreign assets and investments will need to be aware of the potential consequences they may face if they fail to abide by the applicable tax laws, and by working with an attorney, they can determine the best ways to come into compliance with their offshore tax reporting requirements.

Addressing the Tax Gap Related to Offshore Assets

The increase in funding to the IRS is meant to help decrease the "tax gap," which is the difference between the total amount of taxes owed by U.S. taxpayers and the amount of taxes that are actually collected each year. While the IRS has reported that the tax gap is over $400 billion, testimony provided to Congress by IRS officials indicates that it may be much larger, and it may add up to more than $7.5 trillion over 10 years. Offshore tax evasion is a significant component of the tax gap, and officials have estimated that it accounts for between $40 billion and $123 billion of lost IRS revenue each year.

With additional funding, the IRS will most likely be increasing its scrutiny of the documentation filed by taxpayers who own foreign assets. This may result in more tax audits related to forms such as:

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san jose tax lawyerThe IRS has been very clear that it may take action against taxpayers with undeclared foreign accounts. In fact, the IRS often specifically targets individuals who have failed to comply with U.S. tax laws by willfully hiding their assets in offshore accounts. However, the agency is also aware that many of these taxpayers may not have been willful in their actions, and they may be seeking to come into compliance through the Streamlined Compliance Procedures. It is important to understand how the IRS determines whether or not someone was willful in their failure to disclose a foreign account. Based on the results of a recent court case, there are some situations where the IRS may reject a taxpayer's self-certification of non-willfulness.

Non-Willfulness Under the Streamlined Compliance Procedures

U.S. taxpayers are required to report any foreign accounts they own to the IRS, and this is typically done by filing a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) on an annual basis, as well as submitting a Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets (Form 8938) with their annual tax returns. Failure to submit these forms can result in significant penalties. However, those who have not reported foreign assets as required may be able to come into compliance with their requirements through the Streamlined Compliance Procedures.

One requirement of Streamlined Compliance is that a taxpayer's failure to report foreign accounts must have been non-willful. This means that the taxpayer acted unintentionally and without any intent to violate tax laws. There are a number of factors that the IRS will consider when determining if someone was willful in their actions, including whether or not the individual was aware of their tax reporting obligations, whether they took steps to hide their assets, and whether they were truthful with the IRS. In order to be considered non-willful, it is important for the taxpayer to show that they made a good faith effort to comply with U.S. tax laws. 

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san jose tax lawyerWhile nearly everyone is required to pay taxes and file annual tax returns, there are a variety of reasons why some people may fail to do so. In many cases, these issues occur because of financial difficulties, and unfortunately, these difficulties may be compounded by the penalties that will apply for failure to file tax returns or failure to pay taxes. Fortunately, penalty abatement programs are available in certain situations. The IRS offers first-time penalty abatement for some federal income tax penalties, and the state of California recently passed a law that will provide similar abatement options for taxpayers who are facing penalties related to state income taxes.

One-Time Penalty Abatement Options Under AB 194

Assembly Bill 194, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on June 30, 2022, gives the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) the authority to grant abatement to taxpayers facing timeliness penalties. These include failure-to-file penalties that apply when a taxpayer does not file a state income tax return by the annual deadline and failure-to-pay penalties that apply when taxes that are owed are not paid when required.

Under the new law, taxpayers can receive a once-in-a-lifetime abatement of these penalties for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2022. This form of abatement is only available for individuals who are required to pay personal income taxes, and business entities will not be eligible for one-time abatement.

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San Jose payroll tax lawyer

For small businesses, employment taxes and payroll taxes can be a significant issue. It is important for business owners to make sure that they are meeting their tax obligations in order to avoid any penalties or interest charges. By understanding the different types of payroll and employment taxes that may apply to them, small business owners can ensure that they are withholding taxes correctly from employees' wages and paying the appropriate taxes at the federal, state, and local levels.

Understanding Different Types of Employment Taxes

When addressing issues related to payroll taxes, employers will first need to make sure workers are classified correctly. When workers are classified as employees, an employer will need to withhold payroll taxes from their wages. However, taxes will not need to be withheld from payments made to independent contractors. To determine how a worker should be classified, an employer may need to look at whether they have direct control over the person's work, whether the work performed by a person is outside the company's usual course of business, and whether the worker has an independently established business or trade.

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Five Tax Issues to Consider During Divorce

Getting a divorce can be a complex, difficult process. Couples who choose to end their marriage will need to address multiple types of financial issues as they divide the assets they own, establish new living arrangements, and determine how they will each be able to meet their ongoing needs. When addressing these concerns, it is important to understand the tax consequences of the decisions that are made. By working with an attorney who understands how to address divorce-related tax issues, a person can make sure they will be able to minimize their potential complications and be prepared for financial success in the future.

Tax Considerations During the Divorce Process

Spouses who are working to complete the divorce process will need to understand the best ways to address the following issues:

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