IRS Early Interaction Initiative: The Government’s Plan to Stop Employers from Owing Unpaid Back Payroll Taxes

In 2016, the IRS Collection Division launched its new program called the Early Interaction Initiative. The program’s goal is to stop employers from owing significant back payroll taxes.

If you have employees, then your business must withhold payroll taxes from your employees’ wages and salaries. These are known as trust fund taxes. Employers are required to withhold income and Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) taxes from their employees’ gross pay. The monies are to be held in trust and remitted to the Treasury. The failure to comply with your federal tax deposit requirement will result in a serious tax problem.

Under IRC 6672, the IRS can assess the trust fund recovery penalty if you fail to remit payroll taxes. The trust fund penalty is a weapon Congress gave the IRS whereby the IRS can pierce through a corporation and assess corporate payroll taxes to individuals it deems responsible and willful. Additionally, under IRC 7202, the IRS can assert criminal penalties for the failure to make your federal tax deposits.

Often times, a payroll tax problem is the cause of an economic downturn of a business. In order to weather the storm, a business will use the proceeds withheld from employees pay for working capital or for other purposes to keep the business afloat. As a result, the back payroll taxes plus penalties and interest can mount quickly and pyramid into a large tax debt. The payroll Early Interaction Initiative is looking to stop payroll tax debt before it starts.

How does the Payroll Tax Initiative Work?

The IRS collection personnel use Federal Tax Deposit Alerts (FTD Alerts) to notify when an employer is noncompliant with their deposits. Employers withholding income taxes and FICA taxes from their employees’ paychecks are required to report those taxes quarterly on the Form 941. In the past, the IRS would begin an investigation after the delinquent business filed its Form 941. The goal of Early Interaction Initiative is to enhance the FTD Alert process by finding delinquent taxpayers before they file their Form 941s.

Once the IRS gets an FTD alert, it will send the taxpayer a letter or generate an automated phone call informing the business it has fallen behind on its payroll tax obligations. According to the IRS, the letter will advise the business of its payroll tax requirements and the consequences of not complying with those responsibilities. The letter will require a response from the employer.

If there is a reason for the decline in payroll deposits, for example a decline in the employer’s staff, then the case is closed. If the employer does not respond or have a valid explanation as to why the payroll deposits are down, then it will send a Revenue Officer to visit the business. A Revenue Officer is an IRS employee delegated with the responsibility to enforce tax compliance and collect back taxes. Where there is no explanation, the Revenue Officer will work with the employer to correct the delinquent condition and address the unpaid tax, penalty and interest.

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Two-thirds of federal taxes are collected through the payroll tax system. The IRS has gone through a serious of budget cuts since 2007. As such, the IRS has lost out on collecting unpaid payroll taxes. The Early Interaction Initiative signals the IRS is having its depleted personnel focus on unpaid payroll taxes. If you or your business has received contact from a Revenue Officer or Criminal Investigator regarding unpaid payroll taxes, then your tax matter is serious. If the IRS deems you responsible or willful, then you can suffer serious financial harm or be prosecuted criminally. The Law Offices of Todd S. Unger, Esq. will defend you against the trust fund recovery penalty or criminal payroll tax prosecution. To resolve your unpaid payroll tax matter, contact Law Offices of Todd S. Unger today (877) 544-4743.

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Biggest Mistakes to Avoid During the 2016 Tax Year

There are common causes to tax problems that I see year after year. With the 2016 tax season and tax year upon us, it is a good time to identify and stop tax issues before they spiral out of control. Below are some of the common tax problems that I see that cause my clients to owe significant back taxes and can lead to a criminal tax investigation.

1) Hire a CPAThere is no such thing as a basic return. Even if you are not self-employed and don’t own a house, a return can be difficult. The tax laws and reporting requirements are complicated when it comes to claiming dependents, earned income tax credits, writing off medical expenditures, claiming charitable deductions, etc. So much can go wrong when preparing your taxes. Although the IRS budget is down, the government is adept at auditing questionable returns with computer algorithms. Generally speaking, the IRS has three years to conduct a tax audit. Typically, returns are picked up in the second and third tax year after filing. By that time, you have probably made the same mistake year after year and now owe several years of back taxes. Hiring a CPA will help avoid making errors on the tax return and curb future mistakes.

When hiring a tax preparer, you should ask about their credentials. Many of my clients think they are hiring a certified public accountant, but, in fact, are hiring someone with little or no experience and no license. My firm defends tax preparer investigations where the preparer does not have a good command of the tax law and makes costly mistakes in preparing their clients returns. At least, an active CPA license would display competence that the preparer has completed their continuing education requirements and is staying abreast of the constantly changing tax laws and reporting requirements.

For those of you who cannot afford a CPA, there are taxpayer clinics available that can be found on the IRS’s website:https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers

If you needed to have a medical procedure, you would not handle the procedure on your own or ask a friend to help you; rather, you would go to the doctor.   The same is true for preparing and filing your taxes. A botched tax return can cause harm to your financial health. Do not be a pennywise and a pound foolish.

2) Stay Compliant with your estimated tax payment requirementsThe IRS will not negotiate a tax settlement, known as an offer in compromise or a payment plan if you have not paid the appropriate amount of taxes throughout the year. Additionally, if you are eligible to discharge your taxes in bankruptcy, yes this can be done, then when you get out of bankruptcy you are going to owe more back taxes if you are not timely paying your taxes. Generally speaking, the government requires you pay at least 90% of the taxes for the current year or 100% of the tax shown in the prior year.  If you are self employed, then you should be completing a profit and loss statement at least quarterly to determine if you are on track. The failure to pay your estimated taxes can cause a large amount of back taxes being owed both to the IRS and state.

3) Ensure that you’re withholding enough from your paycheckThis is one problem that is easy to avoid. When you start your job, your employer provides you with a document called a Form W-4. Basically, the Form W-4 is an Employees Withholding Allowance Certificate that asks a series of questions to ascertain the total amount of exemptions. Many times, people do not complete the form properly. They take too many exemptions or experience lifestyle changes throughout their employment. If this is the case, then you must revise the Form W-4. If you owe money, basically more than $1,000, on your 2015 taxes, then you should tweak your withholding exemptions especially if you could not pay the prior years’ taxes. The failure to do so will result in owing back taxes.

4) If you won a lawsuit settlement, then seek a tax attorney: The tax laws are incredibly complex when analyzing legal settlements. Believe it or not most settlements are taxable. There is usually a boiler plate provision in most lawsuit settlements that states the “proceeds will be subject to Form 1099 reporting and to seek advice from a tax attorney.” Most of the time, my clients inform me that their attorney stated the settlement is not taxable. When filing their return, they do not report the proceeds. Because the proceeds were reported to the government by way of the Form 1099, the client receives an audit letter from the IRS. My advice is to hire an income tax attorney if you won a lawsuit settlement. If you cannot afford an attorney, then at the very least, check out IRS Publication 4345 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4345.pdf) before filing your taxes.

5) Use a Payroll Company: I think individuals and businesses do not understand the risk they face both to the survival of their business and freedom. When you have a payroll tax problem, the IRS can pierce through your corporation and assess the payroll taxes to you individually. To demonstrate the seriousness of a payroll tax problem, the civil statute (IRC 6672) and criminal statute (IRC 7202) for the failure to pay payroll taxes is virtually identical. That is very scary. A payroll tax company is inexpensive and can help you with adequately depositing and filing your payroll tax returns. Filing and taking care of your own payroll is cavalier.

6) File your tax returns timely to avoid onerous penalties and criminal exposure: While it is true the IRS will take a longer time to catch up with the non-filer, you are losing refunds and costing yourself so much money by not filing. Generally speaking, you have three years from the due date of a tax return plus extensions to claim a refund. Many of my clients have forfeited their refund to the federal government by failing to file a tax return timely.

If you owe money when filing your taxes, then you will be assessed with an estimated tax penalty, failure to pay penalty, failure to file penalty, and statutory interest. When you tack on all of the penalties and interest, the amount can run as high as 50% of the taxes owed; however, if you file timely, you can shave off about 25% of the penalties. Generally speaking, the failure to file penalty runs at .5% per month the return is late up to 25%. By filing timely you can avoid this penalty plus the interest.

7) Do not liquidate your qualified retirement plan: This one is a killer especially if you are under the age of 59 ½. The great thing about a qualified retirement plan such as a 401k, 403b, 457(b), traditional IRA, SEP, etc. is the deferral of taxes on income. When many of my clients face a financial hardship, they tap into their retirements without withholding for taxes. To make matters worse, my clients that are under 59 ½ get hit with a 10% early withdrawal penalty on top of the income tax owed. The best move is to borrow against the plan, if possible. There are some exceptions to the 10% tax depending on the type of plan and the usage of funds. Before tapping into a retirement plan, you should speak with a tax attorney.

8) Because your money is offshore you think that you don’t have to pay taxes: All US Citizens are taxed on worldwide income. The definition of a US Citizen is broad and captures individuals with green cards and people living in the US illegally. A US Citizen is taxed on all worldwide income. Additionally, you may need to file annual reports to report foreign assets such as FinCen Form 114 (known as an FBAR), Form 8938, Form 5471, Form, 5472, Form 3520-A, etc. If you have an obligation, but fail to file the aforementioned forms, you can be assessed penalties ranging from $10,000 per each violation to criminal prosecution. If you own foreign assets, you should hire a competent preparer or tax attorney with international experience.

9) Don’t fight the IRS alone. If you are getting audited, owe back taxes, are under criminal investigation, have unreported offshore accounts, then you should hire a tax attorney. Yes, I am biased here, but here is why you should hire a tax attorney. The IRS and your interests are adverse. Therefore, the IRS is not looking out for your best interests. 

The IRS is not in a position to offer legal advice and many times is incorrect. Accordingly, if a tax motivated bankruptcy is an option, then the IRS cannot offer you legal advice to file bankruptcy. Often times, the IRS does not know the law and misstates information. I do not believe the misinformation is intentional. Contrary to what you hear in the news, most people that work at the IRS are patriots; however, the laws are voluminous and complex.

Many letters that the IRS disseminates have procedural rights associated with them. By ignoring letters or not responding adequately, you could be missing out on opportunities to challenge your tax dispute. Having a tax attorney copied in on all correspondence can ensure that you adequately exercise your procedural rights.

Finally, you do not want to speak with the IRS especially if you are being audited, have failed to file a return, neglected to pay your payroll taxes, have not reported offshore accounts, owe significant back taxes, failed to report income, or have overstated your deductions. The IRS is adept at getting taxpayers to talk. Remember, the IRS is not your friend and, at the end of the day, they are doing one job: to enforce the laws of the tax code which you may not have followed properly.

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You should discuss with a tax attorney whether or not you are on pace with your compliance requirements or are making any of the above mistakes while the 2016 is young. The Law Offices of Todd S. Unger, Esq. LLC resolves tax matters exclusively. Tax Attorney, Todd Unger resolves simple to the most complex tax disputes with the IRS and state. Call a tax lawyer today (877) 544-4743.

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If you Owe Back Taxes, You May Have to Change Your Travel Plans

President Obama signed a highway and transportation spending bill titled “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” or the “FAST Act” (P.L. 114-94) which takes effect January 1, 2016. The legislation contains two significant back tax collection provisions of which you must be aware. First, is a new tax code section authorizing the government to revoke passports if you owe back taxes. Second, is a provision directing the government to hire private tax collectors.

How can the Government Deny or Revoke a U.S. Passport if I Owe Back Taxes?

The FAST Act adds Section 7345 to Title 26 of the US Tax Code. The new section authorizes the government to deny the application for a new passport or renewal of an existing passport if you owe more than $50,000 in back taxes of “seriously delinquent tax debt.”

What Does the Government Consider a Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt that can lead to the Revocation of my Passport?

The term seriously delinquent tax debt is defined as back taxes in which the government files a Federal Tax Lien or taxes in which the government has issued its prerequisite to levy.

Excluded from the definition of a seriously delinquent tax debt is a tax being paid under an installment agreement, offer in compromise, or if collection is suspended under a collection due process hearing.

The passport suspension rule is similar to New York’s enforcement provision with respect to the suspension of driver’s licenses for unpaid taxes. As long as you are working on or have executed a tax settlement, payment plan, or some alternative to collection, the government will not suspend your passport. The key is opening the lines of communication with the IRS and being proactive in resolving your tax debt.

Can I enter the US if I Owe Taxes?

Yes, under the FAST Act the government could revoke a passport upon reentry into the U.S. If the government decides to revoke a passport, they can limit a previously issued or issue a limited passport exclusively for return travel to the United States.

Congress added a provision permitting the Secretary of State to issue a passport, in emergency circumstances or for humanitarian reasons.

The Hiring of Private Tax Debt Collectors

The FAST Act directs the IRS to contract with private collection agencies. The government hired private tax debt collectors twice in the past and, according to the IRS and Taxpayer Advocate, the effort was ineffective at collecting back taxes. Congress ignored both the IRS Commissioner and Taxpayer Advocate because the use of private tax collectors projected revenue of $2.4 billion over 10 years.

Private tax debt collectors will be used on inactive tax receivables exclusively. The FAST Act defines an inactive tax receivable as a case the IRS has removed from its active inventory because of a lack of resources or inability to locate the taxpayer, a case where more than 1/3 of the collection statute of limitations period has elapsed and the case has not been assigned to an IRS employee, or a case where more than 365 days have passed without interaction between the IRS and the taxpayer.

The FAST Act precludes the IRS from contracting out cases where the taxpayer:

  • has a pending or active installment agreement or offer in compromise;
  • proposed innocent spouse relief;
  • is under examination, litigation, criminal investigation, or levy;
  • is under age 18; and
  • is in a combat zone or deceased.

Therefore, the cases which will be delegated to private debt collection agencies are finite taxpayer accounts.

The tax debt collection agencies must adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Contact Tax Attorney Todd S. Unger, Esq. Today

The FAST establishes a Special Compliance Personnel Program Account which is dedicated exclusively to fund IRS collection personnel such as the Automated Collections Unit (ACS) and Revenue Officers.  Therefore, if you have not addressed your delinquent tax debt, then you must act now. The key to avoiding the enforcement provisions of the FAST Act is making a proposal to such as an offer in compromise, applying for innocent spouse relief, requesting an appeals hearing, installment agreement, filing bankruptcy or challenging the tax debt owed. The Law Offices of Todd S. Unger can help you stop IRS enforcement action and resolve your back taxes. There is not time to wait. The provisions of the Fast Act are effective January 1, 2016. To avoid enforcement action, speak to tax attorney, Todd Unger today (877) 544-4743.

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Owe NJ Back Taxes? The Division of Taxation Updated its Deferred Payment Plan Guidelines

The Division of Taxation updated its guidelines regarding tax payment plans.  To be granted an installment agreement, the NJ Division of Taxation instructs taxpayers to include all delinquent years and file all unfiled tax returns.  Therefore, similar to the old guidelines, tax compliance is essential to resolving your back taxes.

What if I Owe Personal Income Taxes to the NJ Division of Taxation?

Generally speaking, the Division will grant payment plans ranging from Three (3) to Thirty-Six (36) months long.  If you cannot pay within THIRTY SIX (36) months, then the Division of Taxation instructs taxpayers to contact the assigned caseworker or the Deferred Payment Control Unit for approval. In my experience, if you want to pay your back taxes beyond THIRTY SIX (36) months, then the Division will require you submit a financial disclosure justifying a longer payment plan.

The Division reminds taxpayers that while paying off your back taxes, interest accrues on the unpaid balance over the duration of the plan.  Currently interest is 6.25% compounded annually.

How Can I Get Rid of a New Jersey Tax Lien?

The best way to get rid of a NJ tax lien, known as a Certificate of Debt, is to avoid it.  NJ does not have the Fresh Start Initiative Program like the IRS.  In 2013, the Fresh Start Initiative Program was established by the IRS to help taxpayers resolve back taxes and avoid or assist in the withdrawal of a federal tax lien.  Once NJ files a tax lien, the only way to get rid of it is to pay the tax, successfully challenge the liability on a motion to revive or in bankruptcy court.

Once NJ files a tax lien, the damage is done.  A NJ Certificate of Debt is valid for 20 years with the ability for the NJ Office of the Attorney General to revive the lien for another 20 years.  Once the tax lien is paid in full, a taxpayer will receive a Warrant of Satisfaction.  The Warrant of Satisfaction stays on a NJ taxpayer’s credit for approximately 6-7 years.  Therefore, the best way to resolve a NJ tax lien is to avoid it.  The Division of Taxation provides the following guidance pertaining to payment plans and tax lien filings:

  • If you owe NJ less than $2,500 in back taxes, you can avoid a tax lien if you tender timely payments under your agreement and remain compliant with your NJ tax filings.
  • If your owe NJ tax debt of more than $2,500, then you can avoid a tax lien if you pay your back taxes in less than 12 months.
  • If you owe more than more than $2,500 and can pay within 12 months or less, then you can avoid a tax lien if you pay the amount owed within 12 months.

As long as you satisfy the aforementioned thresholds and stay compliant, you can circumvent a tax lien filing.  Compliance means making timely payments under the plan and remaining current with your NJ filings.

If you breach the NJ installment agreement, then NJ will file a tax lien in the NJ Superior Court and, to add insult to injury, will charge you the cost of collection (10% of the outstanding liability).

Unfortunately, if your tax debt is over $2,500 and your plan is greater than TWELVE (12) months, then NJ will file a tax lien and charge you the 10% cost of collection fee.

What Happens to my Tax Refunds if I’m in a NJ Payment Plan?

New Jersey is the administrator and participant of set-off programs.  A set-off program stops payments from the federal and state government while owing money to the government.  Therefore, while you are paying down back taxes in a NJ payment plan, NJ will take both your federal and state refunds, including SAVER, Homestead Rebates, and payments owed to your business for services rendered to NJ or the federal government.

How does my business pay back NJ Tax Debt?

The payment plan guidelines and lien filing thresholds for businesses tax debt is similar to the individual payment plans.

  • If the tax debt you owe is less than $2,500, then you may receive a Certified Notice and Demand Letter.  You can avoid a NJ tax lien, if you stay compliant with the terms of the installment agreement and your tax obligations.
  • If the tax debt you owe NJ is over $2,500, and you pay the amount is TWELVE (12) months or less, then you can avoid a NJ tax lien if you stay compliant with the terms of the installment agreement and your tax obligations.
  • If your tax debt is above $2,500 and your plan is more than TWELVE (12) months, the NJ Division of Taxation will file Certificate of Debt in Superior Court and tack on a 10% collection fee.

If your payment plan is greater than THIRTY SIX (36) months, the Division states you will be forwarded to an outside collection agency. The Division of Taxation has been using Pioneer Credit Recovery as its collection agency. The Division of Taxation may require you submit a financial disclosure to justify a longer payment plan. Typically, the financial disclosure is reviewed by an investigator.  The Division warns that a 10% collection fee, and others, will be added to the amount of back taxes you owe.  Similar to the individual plans, interest will continue to accrue on the unpaid balance over the duration of the plan.

The NJ Tax Guidelines are located at the Division’s website at: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/dpc.shtml

Contact Tax Attorney Todd S. Unger, Esq. Today

Handling a New Jersey back tax matter can be difficult especially when you owe other taxing authorities and creditors.  The Division’s rigid guidelines and policies regarding the filing of tax liens can destroy businesses and create a burden on households.  The Law Offices of Todd S. Unger, Esq. has experience resolving tax disputes with the NJ Division of Taxation and the NJ Office of Attorney General.  Call tax attorney, Todd S. Unger today (877) 544-4743.

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Are You Worried About An IRS Audit? Audit Rates Down for a Fifth Straight Year

What are my Chances of Getting Audited?

The IRS reported audit rates for individual tax returns fell to its lowest level in a decade. According to the IRS, the individual exam rate has dropped 22% since the 2010 fiscal tax year. The drop brings the 2015 fiscal year audit rate to .84%.

The IRS attributes the decline to a series of budgetary cuts since 2010. According to the IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, the IRS has lost 5,000 enforcement personnel in charge of tax collections, exams, and criminal tax enforcement.

Not all individual IRS audits have declined

Under IRC 7602, Congress provided the IRS with the authority to exam a taxpayer’s books and witnesses to ascertain the correctness of a tax return. There are different ways the IRS can audit you. The IRS can conduct an audit at its office (office audit), through the mail (correspondence audit), or at the taxpayer’s office (field audit). According to the IRS, field audits declined from 291,000 in fiscal year 2014 to 267,000 in fiscal year 2015 while correspondence audits increased from 951,000 to 961,000. Generally, the catalyst for a correspondence audit is income and payment information from third parties, such as Form 1099, W-2s, Form 1098(s), not matching to the return. For example, if you forgot to include a 1099 from a side job on your Form 1040, then you would receive an IRS letter, (CP 75, Letter 525, CP 2501, CP 2000, Letter 3219 (aka the 90 day letter), informing you of the missing information and proposing a tax liability.

The IRS’s mission is to ensure compliance with the US Tax Code. According to the IRS Commissioner, the federal government is “leaving tax revenue on the table.” The IRS Commissioner cites reports that conclude that every $1 invested in the IRS produces $4 in revenue.” It is the Commissioners opinion that without funding the IRS, you are welcoming tax cheats. Not all in Congress agree and believe in light of recent scandals, the IRS is a rouge organization that is adequately funded and mismanages the money provided. Notwithstanding the foregoing, statistics report that tax audits rates declined.

Contact Tax Attorney Todd S. Unger, Esq. Today

If you are the unlucky few undergoing an audit, then contact a tax attorney today. Todd S. Unger, Esq. can defend you against civil and criminal tax examinations. Whether you have overstated deductions or understated your income, the Law Offices of Todd S. Unger is prepared to defend you. Contact Todd S. Unger today (877) 544-4743.

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Update on New York’s Driver License Suspension for the Failure to Pay Back Taxes

In August 2013, I wrote a blog regarding New York’s new enforcement procedure to collect state back taxes by suspending drivers’ licenses. The link to my blog post is: http://www.irsproblemsolve.com/2013/08/new-york-back-tax-penalty/. Below discusses a recently published case regarding the license suspension program. The case illustrates how simple it is for NY to suspend a driver’s license for the failure to pay back taxes.

In order to suspend a New York drivers license for the failure to pay taxes, Tax Law §171-v [3], requires that the taxpayer owe $10,000 or more of NY back taxes. The statute further requires that NY send notification to the delinquent taxpayer of inclusion into the driver’s license suspension program. Upon receipt of the notification, the delinquent taxpayer is provided with 60 days to respond. The taxpayer’s response is limited to the following:

  • Pay the back taxes or establish a payment plan
  • Notify the Division of a tax exemption; or
  • Protest the suspension by filing a request for a conciliation conference with the Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services (BCMS) or a petition with the Division of Tax Appeals.
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I Don’t Have All the Information Necessary to File My Return and I Owe Taxes

Around the tax deadline, people will call and ask the following questions:

  • Should I file if I cannot pay the tax due on the return?
  • Should I file if I don’t have all of my tax information?
  • Should I file my tax return if did not pay enough taxes throughout the year?
  • Should I file if the person for whom I work didn’t take out any taxes?

You should always timely file no matter what. Not timely filing a tax return is reckless, financially devastating, and exposes you to criminal prosecution. If you owe money and don’t file, then you will cost yourself a lot of money in penalties and interest. If you owe taxes and file your return late, then the IRS will assess the failure to file penalty. The failure to file penalty is a penalty based on the amount of tax owed that accrues at 5% per each month that the return is late for a maximum of 25%.

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Todd S. Unger, Esq. Selected For Super Lawyers 2015 New Jersey Rising Stars

todd unger super lawyers

We are proud to announce that Todd S. Unger has been selected for the Super Lawyers 2015 New Jersey Rising Stars list. This honor is reserved solely for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in their practice.

His listing will be placed in the New Jersey Super Lawyers Magazine (April 2015 issue), which reaches more than 33,000 attorneys, and in New Jersey Monthly (April 2015 issue), which reaches more than 558,000 readers. The selection process for the Super Lawyers 2015 New Jersey Rising Stars list is rigorous, ensuring only the best and brightest attorneys are chosen for recognition.

In April 2013, the selection process for Super Lawyers was granted a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As a third-party rating system, it is impartial and credible — providing relevant information for attorneys and consumers. Super Lawyers rates attorneys in more than 70 different areas of practice, looking to recognize those who have attained high levels of professional achievement and recognition from their peers.

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No Surprise, Tax Audits on the Decline with One Exception

A Slight Increase of Partnership Audits

irs-tax-audits-decline

The IRS is reporting that partnership audits have increased during the 2014 fiscal year.  According to the IRS, there was a slight increase from the 2013 rate of 0.42 to 0.43 percent in 2014.  To put the numbers in historical context in 2007, the audit rate for partnerships was 0.4 percent.  While the increase in partnership audits was slight, it paints a different picture from the audit rate of other business structures.

Large and Small Corporation Audits Decline

According to the IRS, the audit rate has declined for large corporations (corporations with assets of more than $10 million).  IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated that audits for large corporations fell by 20% between fiscal year 2013 and 2014.

According to the IRS if you are operating a small corporation (a corporation with less than 10 million in assets), then you have slightly less than a 1% chance of being audited.  The IRS reported the 2014 fiscal year audit coverage rate was the same as the prior fiscal year of 0.95%.  In the 2012 fiscal year, the audit coverage rate for small corporations was 1.12 percent.

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Todd S. Unger, Esq. Discusses Offer In Compromise In New York Times

offer in compromise

Contrary to popular belief, the IRS wants to work with taxpayers.  Owing the IRS money can be intimidating, but you have options.  One option when you owe back taxes, is to try to negotiate less than the total amount owed. This is called an offer in compromise, and can be an excellent way for you to catch up financially and move forward with your life.

In some cases, you won’t be able to pay all the taxes you owe.  If you can prove to the IRS that you do not have the ability to pay your owed taxes within 10 years, the offer in compromise could be worth trying. Tax Attorney, Todd Unger was recently quoted in a New York Times article that dealt with the IRS and its offer in compromise program. Unger stated that “when the IRS accepts an offer it can be the deal of a lifetime for the taxpayer needing assistance.”

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