Late filing Virginia returns due to Hurricane Sandy? Request waiver of late-filing penalty due to Hurricane Sandy. See the Tax Bulletin 12-7.
On Monday, Sept 28, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine announced a tax amnesty program to be administered by the Virginia Department of Taxation. The Commonwealth aims to collect $48 million during the very short amnesty period.
The program runs from October 7, 2009 to December 5, 2009. Most, but not all, taxpayers who are delinquent are eligible for the program. The Department of Taxation is sending about 550,000 notices to households and businesses with outstanding tax bills.
During the amnesty period, all the penalties and half of the interest will be waived if the tax is paid in full. That is the “carrot.” The “stick” is that “amnesty-eligible” taxes that are not paid in full are subject to an additional 20% penalty.
The legistation establishing the program is slightly over one page long. The guidelines for the program are about 13 pages long. As one might imagine, the guidelines try to cover most possible situations, and, therefore, can be somewhat confusing.
Questions one might have include:
What happens if you already have an installment plan?
What happens if you have an offer in compromise pending?
What happens if you have unfiled tax returns?
Does the amnesty program apply to payroll taxes?
Does the amnesty program apply to income taxes?
If you or someone you know has unpaid taxes and has a question about the amnesty program, contact my office. If you receive an amnesty notice, do NOT delay. Seek professional guidance to help you determine your options.
Important Information if you have a hidden offshore account – Deadline is Extended.
In a press release issued today from Washington, the Internal Revenue Service announced it is extending the voluntary disclosure deadline from Sept 23, 2009, to October 15, 2009.
In March the IRS issued special provisions to allow taxpayers with unreported income from offshore accounts to voluntarily come forward and avoid some very harsh penalties.
Apparently this was a very popular action when taken in conjunction with the actions of some foreign banks to agree to disclose names to the IRS. Taxpayers who do not voluntarily disclose their hidden accounts by the new deadline face much harsher civil penalties, where applicable, and possible criminal prosecution.
The Internal Revenue Service had received repeated requests from tax practitioners and attorneys around the country following a large number of taxpayer requests. The deadline extension is intended to provide some relief for those taxpayers who wanted to come forward prior to the deadline but were facing logistical and administrative challanges in meeting the deadline. The extension will allow tax preparers and attorneys the necessary time to interview and advise their backlog of taxpayers with these hidden accounts, and prepare the necessary paperwork to qualify for the special penalty provisions.
The IRS also announced that there will be no further extensions. So, if you are one of those with an unreported offshore account, now is the time to come forward. Time is running out. ACT NOW!
Are you behind in filing your income tax or payroll tax returns? Do you have one or more years of unfiled tax returns? If so, be careful who you choose to help you get caught up.
The IRS wants to start regulating paid tax preparers used by more than half the nation’s taxpayers in an effort to reduce fraud and errors. IRS Commissioner Doug Schulman recently discussed the fact that new rules could require education and training as well as licensing for people who get paid to prepare returns.
From 2006 through 2008, the IRS initiated more than 600 investigations of fraud among tax preparers. During that time, 356 tax preparers were convicted, with more than 80 percent of them sentenced to prison, home confinement or electronic monitoring.
But when the IRS detects a fraudulent return, it’s the taxpayer – not the tax preparer – who must pay the additional taxes, interest and any penalties, according to the IRS.
So, check out the credentials of anyone you are considering hiring to help you prepare back tax returns or even current unfiled tax returns.
We need to ensure that we balance our responsibility to enforce the law with the economic realities facing many American citizens today. We want to go the extra mile to help taxpayers, especially those whove done the right thing in the past and are facing unusual hardships. These comments were made by Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman in a press release issued January 6, 2009.
With many people facing financial difficulties, the IRS is taking several steps to help people who owe back taxes.
On a wide range of situations, IRS employees have flexibility to work with struggling taxpayers to assist them with their situation. Depending on the circumstances, taxpayers in hardship situations may be able to adjust payments for back taxes, avoid defaulting on payment agreements or possibly defer collection action.
There could be additional help available for these taxpayers facing unusual hardship situations.
Among the areas where the IRS is allowing its employees more flexibility in working with taxpayers include:
- Postponement of Collection Actions: IRS employees will have greater authority to suspend collection actions in certain hardship cases where taxpayers are unable to pay. This includes instances when the taxpayer has recently lost a job, is relying solely on Social Security or welfare income or is facing devastating illness or significant medical bills. If an individual has recently encountered this type of financial problem, IRS assistors may be able to suspend collection without documentation to minimize burden on the taxpayer.
- Added Flexibility for Missed Payments: The IRS is allowing more flexibility for previously compliant individuals in existing Installment Agreements who have difficulty making payments because of a job loss or other financial hardship. The IRS may allow a skipped payment or a reduced monthly payment amount without automatically suspending the Installment Agreement.
- Additional Review for Offers in Compromise on Home Values: An Offer in Compromise (OIC), an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayers tax debt for less than the full amount owed, may be a viable option for taxpayers experiencing economic difficulties. However, the equity taxpayers have in real property can be a barrier to an OIC being accepted. With the uncertainty in the housing market, the IRS recognizes that the real-estate valuations used to assess ability to pay may not be accurate. So in instances where the accuracy of local real-estate valuations is in question or other unusual hardships exist, the IRS is creating a new second review of the information to determine if accepting an offer is appropriate.
- Prevention of Offer in Compromise Defaults: Taxpayers who are unable to meet the periodic payment terms of an accepted OIC will be able to contact the IRS office handling the offer for available options to help them avoid default.
- Expedited Levy Releases: The IRS will speed the delivery of levy releases by easing requirements on taxpayers who request expedited levy releases for hardship reasons.
Taxpayers with financial problems who discover they cant pay when they file their 2008 tax returns also have options available. IRS.gov has a list of What If? scenarios that deal with payment and other financial problems. These scenarios, in question-and-answer format, provide information on specific actions taxpayers can take.