{ Banner }

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.

Popular Topics

Chamberlain Hrdlicka Blawgs

Tax Blawg

SALT Blawg

Business and International Tax Developments Blawg

Maritime Blog

Labor and Employment Blog

  • Posts by George W. Connelly, Jr.
    Shareholder

    George Connelly is recognized as one of the leading federal tax litigators in the United States.  His practice focuses on IRS audit, collection and criminal matters including civil and criminal tax litigation matters, for clients ...

Noooo!  But the IRS does seem to be getting more rational in a couple of respects.

On May 18, an IRS Associate Area Counsel for Philadelphia explained that the IRS may send warning letters in lieu of asserting penalties for failure to file a Form TD F 90-22.1, also known as an FBAR.  This will occur in situations where the IRS concludes a letter would be “sufficient to bring the individual into compliance.”  The speaker indicated that the IRS Office of Chief Counsel reviews every proposed FBAR penalty to ensure “that adequate facts exist to support the proposed assessment.”  The ...

Recently, the IRS issued "Tax Tip 2012-39" regarding important issues concerning mortgage debt forgiveness.  While anyone capable of reading this Blawg is capable of pulling that up from the IRS website and reading it, no action should be undertaken without making sure your tax professional has covered the positives and negatives of doing so.

Right now, a lot of people are "under water" on their home mortgage, and faced with possible foreclosure, short sale, or other transactions in which their mortgage debt is partly or entirely "forgiven" during this tax year.  There are several ...

In February, the IRS published its annual "Dirty Dozen" listing of tax scams to caution taxpayers about problems they may face in this filing season.  They range from self-inflicted—too good to be true—to situations where third parties prey upon the unsuspecting.

Several are fairly common and familiar, ranging from reporting income that was not earned in order to maximize refundable credit, claiming excessive fuel tax credits, or simply claiming deductions one did not incur.  So are the time-worn tax protester arguments that have been thrown out by the courts.  There are ...

It is not uncommon for sought-after job seekers to receive what appears to be an offer that is too good to be true:  in addition to a good compensation and benefits package, the employer proposes to make a loan to the applicant, and to forgive the entire amount if the person stays employed for a particular term—such as five years.  Sometimes the game plan is not in writing, and is left to “wink wink, nudge nudge” in terms of the likelihood that the loan will be forgiven if the person stays employed that length of time.

These arrangements are not in any way “illegal,” but as Robert and ...

Categories: Tax Procedure

When the IRS audits a tax return involving a business, its agents invariably get involved in questions of recordkeeping and how transactions are conducted and recorded.  All too often, an IRS Examiner will suggest that a taxpayer's records are not "adequate," or that in some fashion the taxpayer is not operating in "a businesslike manner."  This most often occurs in situations where the taxpayer is attempting to operate a ranch and has incurred losses, or claims that shareholder advances to the company should be recognized as bona fide loans rather than an investment of capital.

This ...

Your writer has been dealing with tax disputes for over 40 years, and believes that the two most important developments for taxpayers were the passage of the 1998 IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, and the creation of the Taxpayer Advocate Service ("TAS," formerly known as the "Problem Resolution Office" and the "Ombudsman").  The Advocate created to assist taxpayers where, for lack of a better term, the system simply was not working properly, and for most of its existence has done a wonderful job.

Well, that organization's health now appears to be in peril.  IRS Commissioner Shulman has ...

In any given year, a person is likely to send one or more of a fairly standard variety of items to the IRS. Tax returns, payments, responses to inquiries, and claims for refund are the most frequent but certainly not an exhaustive list. I've even known of some people who have sent "thank you notes" to IRS employees who seem to have gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist them. That said, how do you know the IRS actually received what you sent? This is not an idle question, as the IRS' failure to timely receive some of those items can result in serious problems for a taxpayer, ranging from ...

On May 5, 2011, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report that is not going to please anybody.  It concluded that IRS employees are provided with ample information about their tax responsibilities to enable them to comply, but some do not, and the agency needs to do more to address the problem.

This is not the first report on the subject, following up on an Employee Tax Compliance program (ETC) initiated in calendar year 1995 “to insure that employees are held to a high standard of compliance.”  In a December 2009 IRS Report, more than 97,000 Federal ...

In IRS examinations, many practitioners encounter situations where the Internal Revenue Service seems to conjure up a set of facts that is divorced from reality.  On the collection side, strange as it may sound, the IRS sometimes does this too, by treating the taxpayer as if he has assets he really doesn't.

When a taxpayer is unable to pay his tax in full, he is entitled to request a “collection alternative” from the IRS, usually an Installment Agreement but sometimes an Offer in Compromise.  This process involves submitting a variety of financial statements to the IRS – most often ...

For the last several years, the Internal Revenue Service has been increasing the number of "correspondence" audits that it conducts. There seems to be an assumption that it costs less and requires less manpower than field or in-person audits, and that assumption is doubtless true. However, there is a real question about the quality of such examinations and in particular IRS follow-up.

Since no later than 2007, various groups have been complaining to the IRS that correspondence audits were not being administered professionally. The principal complaint was that the IRS was issuing ...