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January 2013 Archives

The Forfeiture Lemon: Regaining Seized Property as an Innocent Owner

Participating in the American stream of commerce is a wonderful thing. We freely lend, sell, exchange, and transfer property to private citizens with little or no interference. However, this freedom comes with significant risk. We have all heard of the poor guy who buys a "lemon" meaning he bought something that turned out either to be in constant need of repair or to not work at all. Typically we associate the term "lemons" with property rendered worthless because of a mechanical defect. However, there is another type of lemon, or dud, which can destroy property's value even though it works. It's called the forfeiture lemon.

Taxes on the rise following fiscal-cliff deal

Texans can expect to see their taxes going up after Congress passed a new set of legislation that will help the country avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Immediately following the election, it seemed that all anyone could talk about was the fiscal cliff, and for good reason -- it would have affected nearly everyone in Texas and across the country. While this new legislation will prevent us from jumping over the cliff, it will come with specific changes to the federal tax law.

Worker classification and payroll taxes at issue in Texas

Much of the news regarding the payroll tax in recent weeks has concerned the impact on the economy that the end of the payroll tax cut is likely to have. To be sure, that is a legitimate concern. But regardless of what the rate is for employment taxes, employers can run into payroll tax problems when they do not make those payments to the IRS in a timely manner.

Could Your Bank Be Helping the Feds Take Your Money? The Latest Forfeiture Trend: Deputizing Banks for Assists in Seizure

** This is the first blog entry in a series - All You Need to Know about the Government & Asset Forfeiture**

79 Year Old Widow Faces Prison for Offshore Accounts

On January 8, 2013, the Department of Justice announced that Mary Estelle Curran of Palm Beach, Florida pleaded guilty for failing to file tax returns for tax year 2006 and 2007. Ms. Curran has agreed to pay a civil penalty of over $21 million, a tax liability of $667,716 and faces a potential maximum prison term of six years. Her plea agreement limits her prison sentence to 30-37 months.

Fiscal cliff resolution affects start of tax season

Last week the federal government backed away from the fiscal cliff, at least for the time being. But it took so long to find a short-term solution that this week the IRS announced that the start of the tax season will be delayed by eight days this year.

Constant changes in tax code make compliance challenging

With a tax code as complicated as the Internal Revenue Code, the possibilities for disagreements about how much tax is owed are many. In recent years, tax provisions have been subject to frequent change, and that has made tax compliance even more challenging.

IRS Eases Restrictions on Settlement for Worker Classifications

Through June 30, 2013, employers that did not qualify for settlement under the 2011 Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) may be eligible to participate in the "VCSP Temporary Eligibility Expansion" program. Under the 2011 program, employers that did not file 1099s for all workers for the three most recent tax years and employers currently under audit were not eligible to participate in the settlement program. With this temporary expansion of the program, these restrictions no longer apply.

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