Did 1.1 Million Federal Tax Felonies Go Uninvestigated and Unpunished?

As the Wall Street Journal recently uncovered in the latest chapter of the “Lois Lerner Scandal,” in the run-up to the 2010 election, the IRS transmitted a 1.1 million-page database of confidential tax return information to the FBI. The IRS’s idea – which, to its credit, the FBI apparently immediately and rightly rejected – was to use this information to criminally investigate nonprofit groups’ political activity, according to House Republican legislators investigating the IRS who cited internal emails between the two federal agencies.

Congress compelled disclosure of this information by subpoena, which the IRS complied with after more than one year, ultimately owning up to the fact that the IRS disclosed the confidential taxpayer information without any authority to do so and explaining that this was really no big deal because most of the information sent to the FBI was publicly available.

It is black letter federal law that an IRS official may not unlawfully disclose confidential tax return information for an improper purpose.  26 U.S.C. 6103actually makes it a federal felony for a government official to willfully disclose confidential taxpayer information.  The tax secrecy laws stemmed from President Richard Nixon’s corrupt use of the IRS to further his political purposes, permitting disclosure of taxpayer and tax return information only for legitimate, proper purposes (such as a specific criminal investigation requiring a specific referral of a specific criminal case by the IRS to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division).  Each unlawful disclosure constitutes a felony.

So why is this significant?

First of all, the IRS regularly uses this same statute – perhaps reasonably – to hide information from criminal tax attorneys and from the press, so if it is to be used as a shield, IRS employees should be criminally prosecuted when they violate this statute and use confidential taxpayer information as a sword.  This is especially true when IRS officials do exactly as President Nixon did — attempt to use the IRS to criminally investigate political opponents.

Second, as a former federal tax prosecutor who worked regularly with the IRS on the majority of cases I …


The Importance of Filing Your Tax Return

Just the simple idea of filing tax returns makes most people cringe. They seem difficult and complicated and require you to share a great deal of your personal information with strangers if you have an accountant or a company taking care of the process for you. Alternatively, you assume a whole lot of responsibility as an untrained accountant when you file your own taxes, especially that you subject yourself to potential errors and loopholes that you do not exist. All and all it is not the most pleasant experience for most people, however, such is the way in which the system functions in our world today. Filing your tax return is very important and should not be overlooked and that’s why.

It is a legal requirement

First and foremost filing tax returns is required by law and by the constitution for all adults, regardless of their marital or professional stats. It is an offense not to file taxes and you will be pursed, just as it is an offense to misrepresent data on your tax or to hide income or benefits that you accumulated in a certain year. Hence, filing your tax return is not just important, it is simply required and you will be saving yourself and whole lot of trouble if you just do it.

You may get money back

The good news about filing your tax returns, even when you do not think you have made enough money or that you have already paid your due taxes is that you may actually get some money in return. Getting a tax refund is a very common occurrence albeit being misunderstood sometimes. Most workplaces taxes people in similar situation a similar amount of money without taking into consideration much of their personal situations. Now when it is time to file taxes, you can detail some of that information which may show that you overpaid in taxes and you will be refunded the difference.

It is a good way to understand your finances

When you file your taxes you have to share all your sources of income and ensure …


Prior Years Tax Returns – 2 Tips to Prepare Your Prior Years Tax Return at Low Cost

Filing tax returns every year is a legal requirement by the state and the constitution. It is absolutely mandatory for every adult to file them each year whether or not they were employed or in university or on a year abroad. Sometimes, you may fail to file your taxes on time and it is possible to defer them and file them later in the same year or in the next tax year while filing your most current taxes. You may be wondering how to complete your taxes from prior years when you have not done them already. Here are two tips to help you prepare prior taxes easily and at a low cost.

Option 1 – Contact an experienced professional

If you usually go to see a professional accountant or a company to help you complete your taxes then you should first of all inquire with them about the possibility of filing your prior years taxes with them. This is the best way to file your taxes from prior years. Most accountants or organizations that handle tax returns have a process in place to process older taxes. Usually, it can be done at the same time you are filing your current taxes and sometimes depending on how complicated it is you may not need to pay a full fee for it. Keep in mind that those practices vary from one organization and accountant to another, however, the only way to find out the possibility and all the details is to inquire directly. That way you can also have the peace of mind that you are taken care of by a professional.

Option 2 – Use an older software

If you are one of the people who prefer to file their own taxes personally, then you should look at previous year’s software. As you can learn from Taxreturn247.com.au, most tax software allows access to the prior year’s software. This makes it much easier for you to file your returns and calculate your total refunds or payments. The cost associated with the previous year’s filing would be the same as your …


How To Get A Bigger Business Tax Refund

In addition to being important and a legal requirement, filing tax returns could actually be beneficial and result in good tax refunds. Many businesses are encouraged by the government and there are always ways in which a business can make money and increase its refunds. However, the process could be more challenging than one might think since many of the ways in which one can save money are not very evident. Moreover, business taxes can get complicated and there are many additional documents and details one should keep track of in order to be done correctly. Here are a few tips on how to get a bigger business tax refund.

Claim your home office space

If you work from home, you should be able to write off your business related home space on your tax returns. Many people in the past were hesitant about doing that because it would increase your chances of being audited, which is always difficult even you have evidence for everything you claim. However, now it is a lot more common for people to be working from home and it does not pose as much of a red flag anymore. In any case, you do need to make sure that anything and everything you claim is related to your work and can be proven to be so in the event that you are audited.

Furniture

In the first year after you buy furniture or electronics to be used in offices and for work related purposes, you can deduct 100% of those expenses when you are filing your taxes. You could also claim deprecation cost after 7 years of using the furniture. Run the numbers and see whichever gives you a better return. You can also deduct the cost of supplies.

Travel

Another major expense for business is travel. You may be pleased to know that you could also claim that expense. Airplane and train tickets, along with car mileage, meals, and outings with clients can all be claimed as business related expenses. You should check taxreturn247.com.au for more information on the different percentages you could claim …


Why people amend their Tax Returns

Filing your tax returns is one of the most important and most cumbersome tasks you have to complete. It is required by law and you need to make sure that all your documents are well completed and that you keep track of all the expenses and income you are making. Keeping that in mind you do not believe how many people end up amending their taxes because of some reason or another, despite crunching the numbers, and after filling out and comparing various returns.  Filing your taxes can be a huge relief and you do not need to worry about it if you discover that something was misreported. You can amend your taxes anytime even years after you have filed them. Some common reasons why people amend their returns include.

Report additional income

The main reason people tend to amend their taxes is to report additional income that was not reported in the previous year. Unreported income is considered a fraud and hence any kind of payment made in return for work should be reported and included in every tax return. These sums also affect the total taxes you are expected to pay, hence it is very important to amend your taxes whenever you find any possible problems on that front.

Claim tax credits

Claiming more expenses that can potentially result in higher tax credits is about the second reason why people amend their taxes. It is important to do so because it can decrease the amount of taxes you should pay and you can get more money as a result, which is always a great surprise. In addition to that claiming tax credits regularly can build up year after year and you want to make sure that those expenses are well recorded as well. More details here!

Clearing an error

Another important reason why one may choose to amend their taxes is if they were to find an errors or problems with the initial filing. Such a situation may occur if there have been amendments in the laws from the prior that the tax payer failed to learn. …