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Tax Blawg

Tax Talk for Tax Pros

Introduction

Welcome to TaxBlawg, a resource from Chamberlain Hrdlicka for news and analysis of current legal issues facing tax practitioners. Although blawg.com identifies nearly 1,400 active “blawgs,” including 20+ blawgs related to taxation and estate planning, the needs of tax professionals have received surprisingly little attention.

The Wall Street Journal's Tax Blog gives “tips and advice for filers,” and Paul Caron’s legendary TaxProf Blog is an excellent clearinghouse for academic and policy-oriented news. Yet, tax practitioners still lack a dedicated resource to call their own. For those intrepid souls, we offer TaxBlawg, a forum of tax talk for tax pros.

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As discussed in an earlier Chamberlain Tax Blawg, on August 28 Treasury issued Notice 2020-65 which defers the due date for withholding, deposit and payment of employee-side taxes imposed under Section 3101(a) (FICA) and corresponding taxes under Section 3201 (RRT).  Since the issuance of this Notice, there has been much commentary – in addition to consternation and hand-wringing on the part of clients – about a multitude of issues the Notice implicates. 

On September 8, the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants added to this chorus with a comment letter to Treasury and ...

Categories: Tax Legislation

National law firm, Chamberlain Hrdlicka, has launched its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Audits and Investigations Practice. The interdisciplinary practice will leverage its extensive experience to protect PPP loan borrowers as they navigate the civil audit and review as well as PPP criminal investigations and enforcement processes.

Millions of businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors have obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. While these loans have provided vital funding to recipients impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic ...

On Friday, in response to an August 8, 2020 Presidential Memorandum, Treasury issued Notice 2020-65 which defers the due date for withholding, deposit and payment of employee-side taxes imposed under Section 3101(a) (FICA) and corresponding taxes under Section 3201 (RRT). This deferral is effective September 1!

No doubt this Notice will be the subject of fierce political debate. The day of the Notice’s release, Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia fired a first shot across the bow. In a press release, the Congressman accused the deferral of being a “gimmick” that “could hit ...

Last week, the Fifth Circuit in Matter of Diaz invalided a bankruptcy court rule that would have required that taxpayers make available to creditors any current or projected tax refund in excess of $2,000.  Docket No. 19-50982 (5th Cir., Aug. 26, 2020).

The perfect storm is developing for this issue to affect a growing number of taxpayers.  Due to the economic downturn during the Coronavirus pandemic, a record number of bankruptcies is anticipated.  Also expected is a potentially unprecedented number of tax refunds as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ...

Categories: COVID-19, Tax Relief

On August 24, the IRS issued an internal memorandum that impacts when taxpayers may obtain IRS Appeals Conferences if their issues are designated for litigation.  As background, the IRS has a long-standing policy of permitting taxpayers an administrative-level review of audit adjustments by referring matters to its Office of Appeals.  For decades, this review process was discretionary for the IRS to offer.  It was a matter of administrative grace.  No longer.

Enter The Taxpayer First Act

In July 2019, Congress enacted The Taxpayer First Act which codified the Appeals Office (with a new ...

Hardly a day goes by when some politician or editorial person doesn't suggest that we don’t need the IRS or should simply do away with it.  Most of them come in connection with suggestions for changing the tax system to something like a national retail sales tax.  What these people fail to understand, and this writer is not challenging the sincerity of their views, is that without the IRS, our tax gap would explode geometrically.  We call our system a “voluntary” one, but we remain short of “volunteers”: there are simply too many people and businesses who don’t get around to filing ...

Have you ever played darts?  Where the dart hits the board is very important to your score, but some rookies are happy if their dart hits the board at all.  That would be a fair characterization of The Inspector General for Tax Administration’s (“TIGTA”) January 21, 2020 report entitled “IRS Should Better Identify Noncompliant Exempt Orgs.”

In this report, TIGTA is very much like a rookie darts player, who declares himself a winner because his first dart hit the board.  In this regard, the Report is accurate about one thing:  the IRS does have problems identifying non-compliant ...

I.

Small Businesses with a Biweekly Payroll Schedule can Elect to use an Alternative Payroll Covered Period

SBA Form 3508, Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application, provides an optional alternative payroll covered period for small businesses with a biweekly (every other week) or more frequent payroll schedule. A small business may elect the alternative covered period only if it uses a biweekly or more frequent payroll schedule; those with monthly payroll schedules cannot make the election. If a small business makes the election, the eight-week period, for ...

As the nation responds to COVID-19 and a world pandemic, IRC §139 may be one more tool in an employer’s toolkit to help their employees with fighting this silent war.

Under the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) §139(a), “qualifying disaster relief payment" from an employer to an employee are excluded from gross income, the opposite of normal tax law. 

IRC §139 applies after the President of the United States declares a disaster. On March 13, 2020, President Trump made an emergency declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Act, evoking the protections of §139.

Importantly, an ...

People are always asking how long the IRS can wait from the time you file your return to conduct an audit of your income and expenses.  The simple, most definitive answer is "it all depends," so let's take a look at the rules.

The time in which the IRS must conduct its audit is governed by what's known as a "statute of limitations."  That statute doesn't begin to run until you actually file a return.  Once you file a return, the IRS has three years from the time the return was filed (or, April 15th of the year in which you file, if it is filed early) to conduct and complete an audit.  That means that the IRS has to select your return for examination, conduct whatever level of audit it is going to perform, and either get an agreement from you to an additional amount of tax or a refund, secure an extension of limitations period from you, or issue you a document known as a "Notice of Deficiency" (indicating what it has determined your correct tax liability to be and giving you ninety days to go the United States Tax Court). 

If it fails to complete one of these actions within three years, in most situations the proverbial “ballgame” is over and it will be too late for the IRS to assert an additional tax liability for that year.  The filing of an amended return does not extend the period in which an audit must take place.  As you might expect, however, there are exceptions. 

Categories: Tax Procedure