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San Jose business tax attorney for successor liabilityMaking the decision to purchase an existing business can be an exciting and lucrative endeavor. Owning your own business allows you to have a great deal of independence and direction over how the business is run. Being your own boss and watching a business grow and develop can be especially rewarding. Of course, buying a business is not without risk. One of these risks is successor liability for any debts owed by the business, including tax debts.

Stock Purchase Versus Asset Purchase

When you buy an existing business, you have two options: an asset purchase or a stock purchase agreement. A stock purchase allows you to buy most of the seller’s shares, or in the case of an LLC purchase, the membership units. However, assets such as equipment and inventory are still owned by the entity. If you acquire a business through a stock purchase, you will most likely assume all of that company’s liabilities.

In an asset purchase agreement, you purchase the business’s assets, and the seller retains ownership of the actual business. In most asset purchases, the assets are transferred to the new owner without liabilities, but there can be exceptions. Most people buying an existing business choose to undergo an asset purchase transaction to avoid assuming debts accumulated by the previous owner. A qualified attorney can help you decide what type of business purchase agreement is right for you.

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San Jose, CA tax law attorney for expatriates

When an individual chooses to move to another country, he or she may relinquish his or her United States citizenship. However, many of these former citizens may not know that they have unfulfilled tax obligations to the United States. Unpaid back taxes can result in additional debt due to accruing interest as well as serious penalties. Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced the creation of several procedures through which former citizens can be relieved of their U.S. tax responsibilities.

Former Citizens Must Meet Certain Criteria for Tax Relief

If you are an expatriated person who is not currently compliant with U.S. tax laws, you may worry whether or not you can even afford to pay your back taxes. Unfulfilled tax obligations can quickly spiral out of control – especially when a person was not aware that he or she even owed back taxes. In an effort to help former citizens come into compliance with the law, the IRS is allowing qualifying individuals to be relieved of their tax obligations. These individuals must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for tax relief. The criteria for “Relief Procedures for Certain Former Citizens” include:

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: San Jose tax relief lawyerWhen an individual fails to pay his or her taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the authority to collect taxes, penalties, and interest by garnishing the individual’s wages. Typically, creditors are required to get a judgment before they can garnish wages, but the IRS does not need to meet this requirement. Furthermore, the IRS is often authorized to garnish a much greater amount of a person’s wages than other creditors can take. The best way to avoid wage garnishment is to prevent collection actions in the first place. However, this is not always possible. Fortunately, there are still actions you can take that may be able to stop wage garnishment.

Responding to a Collection Due Process Notice

When tax debt goes unpaid, the IRS may issue you a Collection Due Process notice. This notice is to inform you that your future wages will be intercepted for the purpose of debt repayment. You then have 30 days to request a hearing and formally respond to the notice. The most common ways to prevent IRS collection actions such as wage garnishment include:

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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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Posted on in Tax Audits

: San Jose tax audit appeal attorney

If you have gone through an IRS audit and received a letter advising you of its findings, chances are the agency has made determinations about which you are not happy. In some cases, the IRS may determine that you owe back taxes, plus interest and penalties. While some taxpayers may agree with the IRS’s findings and pay the assessed amount, you may believe that the findings are incorrect. In these cases, you should be sure to understand your options for asking the IRS to either reconsider or adjust the determinations.

Appealing the IRS’s Decision

Although audits are best handled by working with the IRS during the audit process, it is also possible to appeal the findings of an audit. However, it is important to keep a very good record of the audit process. This is because during an appeal, the record of the audit will be given more weight than any new information that you may wish to introduce. The auditor’s findings are part of the record, so you should make sure to have all of the supporting documentation to show why you disagree with the decision. 

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