IRS Announces More Flexible Offer-in-Compromise Terms

The IRS announced today that it is expanding its “Fresh Start” initiative to provide for more flexible terms to its Offer in Compromise (OIC) program.  In general, an OIC is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS, settling the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount due (subject to compliance with the terms of the OIC).  The IRS noted that it will alter its focus on the financial analysis used to determine which taxpayers qualify for an OIC, as well as enable certain taxpayers to resolve their tax problems in as few as two years, as compared to four or five years in previous years.

Other announced changes for certain taxpayers include: 1) Revising the calculation for the taxpayer’s future income, 2) Allowing taxpayers to repay their student loans, 3) Allowing taxpayers to pay state and local delinquent taxes, and 4) Expanding the Allowable Living Expense allowance category and amount.

OIC’s generally will not accepted if the IRS believes, after examining a taxpayer’s income and assets to make a determination of the taxpayer’s reasonable collection potential, that the liability can be paid in full as a lump sum or a through installment payments.  Under the new “Fresh Start” changes, however, when the IRS calculates a taxpayer’s reasonable collection potential, it will now look at only one year of future income for offers paid in five or fewer months (down from four years), and two years of future income for offers paid in six to 24 months (down from five years.)

Under the new program, all OIC’s must be fully paid within 24 months of the date of acceptance of the offer. (Form 656-B, Offer in Compromise Booklet, and Form 656, Offer in Compromise, have been revised to reflect the changes).

Business seeking to make a business OIC will also likely benefit from revisions to the program narrowing the parameters and clarifying when a dissipated asset will be included in the calculation of reasonable collection potential. Additionally, in general, calculation of reasonable collection potential will not include equity in income producing assets for on-going businesses.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Making a Business Offer in Compromise

Making an Offer in Compromise can be a potentially complex process for both individuals and businesses.  If you find yourself or your business in this situation, contact Sherayzen Law Office for legal help.

Underpayment and Overpayment Interest Rates for the First Quarter of 2012

On November 29, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service announced that underpayment and overpayment interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning January 1, 2012. The rates will be:

  • three (3) percent for overpayments (two (2) percent in the case of a corporation)
  • three (3) percent for underpayments
  • five (5) percent for large corporate underpayments
  • one-half (0.5) percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points. Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points.

The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.

Notice 88-59, 1988-1 C.B. 546, announced that, in determining the quarterly interest rates to be used for overpayments and underpayments of tax under section 6621, the Internal Revenue Service will use the federal short-term rate based on daily compounding because that rate is most consistent with section 6621 which, pursuant to section 6622, is subject to daily compounding.

Interest factors for daily compound interest for annual rates of 0.5 percent are published in Appendix A of Revenue Ruling 2011-32. Interest factors for daily compound interest for annual rates of 2 percent, 3 percent and 5 percent are published in Tables 7, 9, 11, and 15 of Rev. Proc. 95-17, 1995-1 C.B. 561, 563, 565, and 569.

Tax Lawyers St Paul: Tax Filing Deadline Extended to April 18, 2011

On January 4, 2011, IRS extended the tax filing and tax payment deadline for individual taxpayers until April 18, 2011.  The extension is made due to the Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, which falls this year on Friday, April 15, 2011.

Taxpayers who request an extension will have until October 17, 2011, to file their 2010 tax returns.

This year, the IRS expects to receive more than 140 million individual tax returns this year, with most of those being filed by the April 18 deadline.

The IRS also cautioned taxpayers with foreign accounts to properly report income from these accounts and file the appropriate forms on time to avoid stiff penalties. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman stated earlier that the IRS “will continue to focus on offshore tax compliance and people with offshore accounts need to pay taxes on income from those accounts.”

Sherayzen Law Office is an experienced tax law firm that has helped numerous clients in Minnesota and across the United States to bring their affairs, including proper reporting of foreign financial accounts, into full compliance with the U.S. tax laws.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW to discuss your case with an experienced St Paul tax lawyer!

Tax Attorney St Paul | Who Must Wait to File 2010 Tax Return

While for most taxpayers, the 2011 tax filing season starts on schedule. Due to tax law changes enacted by Congress in December, however, some taxpayers need to wait until mid – to late February of 2011 to file their 2010 tax returns in order to give the IRS time to reprogram its processing systems. This is mostly due to the renewal of the three tax provisions that expired at the end of 2009 and were renewed by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act Of 2010 on December 17, 2010.

The IRS will announce a specific date in the near future when it can start processing tax returns impacted by the recent tax law changes. Meanwhile, the affected taxpayers should not submit their returns until IRS systems are ready to process the new tax law changes; however, the affected taxpayers can start working on their tax returns. For taxpayers who must wait before filing, the delay affects both paper filers and electronic filers.

The most common types of taxpayers who may need to wait to file their tax returns include:

1. Taxpayers Claiming Itemized Deductions on Schedule A

Due to the tax law changes, anyone who itemizes and files a Schedule A will need to wait to file until mid- to late February. Itemized deductions include mortgage interest, charitable deductions, medical and dental expenses as well as state and local taxes. In addition, itemized deductions include the state and local general sales tax deduction that was also extended and which primarily benefits people living in areas without state and local income taxes.

2. Taxpayers Claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction

This is primarily concerns those taxpayers who claim their deduction on Form 8917. The deduction, which covers up to $4,000 of tuition and fees paid to a post-secondary institution, can be claimed by parents and students.

Note, however, that this delay does not concern those taxpayers who claim other education credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit extended last month and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

3. Taxpayers Claiming the Educator Expense Deduction

This deduction is for kindergarten through grade 12 educators with out-of-pocket classroom expenses of up to $250. The educator expense deduction is claimed on Form 1040, Line 23 and Form 1040A, Line 16.

Sherayzen Law Office can help you deal with and take advantage of the recent tax law changes. Call or e-mail Sherayzen Law Office to discuss your case with an experienced St Paul tax attorney!

Partnership Tax Lawyers St Paul | Partnerships: Required Taxable Year

Under the U.S. tax laws, partnership income and expenses flow through to each partner in a partnership, at a partnership’s tax year-end. Generally, the tax year of a partnership must conform to the tax years of its partners. In some situations, however, a partner, or multiple partners, and the partnership itself may have different tax years, there is a potential for income deferral.

While legitimate income deferral is allowed under the U.S. tax laws, the IRS has rules in place to prevent excessive deferral of partnership income. These rules are explained briefly below in three successive steps. A partnership must apply each rule in chronological order, and the first tax year that meets all of the criteria in a specific rule will be the required tax year for the partnership (subject to certain exceptions allowed by the IRS).

Three-Step Analysis

1) Majority partners’ tax year

In general, if one partner owns more than 50% of the partnership capital and profits, then that partner’s taxable year will apply to the partnership. Similarly, if a group of partners have the same taxable year and own more than 50% of the partnership capital and profits, then that shared taxable year will also apply to the partnership. Majority interest is generally determined on the first day of the partnership.

2) Principal partners’ tax year

If step 1 does not yield a majority interest tax year, then the tax year the principal partners who own more than a 5% interest of capital or partnership profits, will be used if they all have the same tax year.

3) Year with smallest amount of income deferred

If steps 1 and 2 do not yield a result, then the “least aggregate deferral rule” is used to determine the weighted-average deferral of partnership income by testing the tax year-ends of the partners. The tax year required to be selected under the test will be whichever tax year-end is calculated to yield the least amount of deferral of partnership income.

Example of the Three-Step Analysis

To illustrate, assume that Adam and Bob are equal partners, each owning a 50% share. Adam’s tax year ends August 31, while Bob uses the calendar year, December 31. Step 1 would determine that there is no majority interest because neither partner owns more than 50%, and Step 2 would show that neither partners have the same tax year (even though they are both considered to be principal partners owning more than 5%). Thus, the least aggregate deferral rule would be applied in this case.
Under the least aggregate deferral rule, to determine the weighted-average product, begin by counting forward from the end of one partner’s tax year to the end of the other partner’s tax year-end, and then vice versa. For example, counting forward from the end of Adam’s tax year (August 31) to the end of Bob’s (December 31) is four months. Then, the number of months is multiplied by the partnership percentage interest, to determine a weighted-average product. Multiplying four by the partnership interest of 0.5 equals a product of two (the aggregate deferral). Counting forward from the end of Bob’s tax year to the end of Adam’s, determines that eight months will be deferred. Multiplying eight by .50 equals a product of four. Since the product of two under Adam’s August 31 tax year is less than the product of four under Bob’s December 31 tax year, Adam’s tax year-end will also be the tax year-end for the partnership itself.

Conclusion

Described above are the basic rules for determining the required tax year for partnerships. In some cases, it may be possible to be granted an exception from the general rules. These options however often depend upon persuading the IRS of the necessity of adopting a different tax year than would be available under the standard rules. Often, complex legal rules and case law are involved, so it is advisable to seek legal counsel. Furthermore , individual partners may need specific guidance relating to partnership taxation scenarios. Sherayzen Law Office can assist you with these matters.

Call us today to set up a consultation!