call us toll free:

888-8TAXAID
(888-882-9243)
Monday - Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Blog

Trends in IRS audits – Part III

As we discussed in Trends in IRS audits – Part I, the IRS’s auditing power has been greatly diminished in the past decade and according to accountinTODAY, while most taxpayers envision Internal Revenue Service audits as intrusive investigations resulting in criminal sentences. Today, nothing could be farther than the truth.

As we discussed in Trends in IRS audits Part I & Part II:
  1. Most audits are done by mail.
  2. The main issue in audits: The EITC. and
  3. An alarming amount of people do not respond to an audit 
  4. The most common IRS challenge to a return is not an audit.  
  5. The IRS knows who to audit 
  6. Field audits are rare, but expensive.
  7. Want your business to escape audit?  
 
8. Audits on the wealthy are still popular, but have dropped - In 2011, 1 out of every 8 taxpayers who earned more than $1 million in income were audited. In 2018, the number dropped to 1 in every 31 taxpayers. However, those who earn more than $1 million are still among the most popular audit profiles.

 
AT-112119-Buttonow- Audit rates for wealth taxpayers.png
9. Audits have dropped, but penalties are still prevalent - The total volume of individual audits and CP2000 notices has dropped from 4 million in 2005 to 3.9 million in 2018. However, in 2018, 606,121 individual taxpayers were assessed the accuracy penalty for making an error on a tax return (audit or CP2000 notice). In 2005, that number was only 58,366. The moral here: If the IRS has to audit or send a CP2000 notice, it will now look to penalize errors to deter future noncompliance. The number of individual taxpayers with an accuracy penalty from an audit/CP2000 notice has increased 10 times since 2005.
 
AT-112119-Buttonow IRS Accuracy Penalties

 

 
10. Tax evasion prosecutions are low - Finally, the “fear of an audit” myth buster. The IRS does not like to publish this statistic. In 2018, there were only 636 indictments of legal source tax crimes. IRS tax evasion criminal investigation cases have dropped by 58 percent since 2013. The main source of IRS legal source tax crime cases are IRS field auditors and criminal investigators, i.e. revenue agents and special agents. From 2013 to 2018, the numbers of revenue agents and special agents have decreased by 26 percent and 21 percent, respectively. As a result, the number of criminal investigations and indictments continue to decline.
 AT-112119-Buttonow - Tax crime investigations and indictments.png

Realities and the IRS ability to close the tax gap
Fear of an audit has always been a main driver for compliance for the IRS. The 2018 Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey continued to show that 63 percent of taxpayers cited fear of an audit as an influential behavioral factor for correctly filing and timely paying their taxes. The tax gap, as currently measured on 2011-2013 returns, shows that the Treasury loses $352 billion a year due to inaccurate tax returns. With the fear of an audit becoming a myth, how will the IRS close the tax gap?

As the fear of an audit motivator becomes less of a reality, the IRS must seek to simulate the audit by touching as many taxpayers as they can. For now, that looks like sending a lot of non-audit notices to taxpayers. Recently, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that the IRS sent over 219 million notices annually to taxpayers. In 2001, the number of notices sent was only 30 million. With the IRS’s current resources, the IRS notice may be the only means the IRS has to let taxpayers know that they are still there.

 

Have a IRS Audit Problem?

 

 

Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A. 
 
 for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243). 
 
 
 

Read more at: Tax Times blog

EB-5 Investments Increased to $900,000 and $1.8 Million Starting November 21, 2019

On July 9, 2019 we posted EB-5 Investment - New Regulations Expected To Increase Minimum Investment of $500,000 To $1.35 Million where we discussed that on June 27, 2019 the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) reported on its website that it has finished its review of the Obama-era regulations that would significant changes to the minimum investment amount, as well as other consequential changes. The regulations have proposed increasing the minimum investment of $500,000 to $1.35 million, and the $1 million investment to $1.8 million. Upon the regulation’s publishing in the Federal Register, the final effective date may be between 30 to 60 days.

The Final Rule scheduled to be published on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in the Federal Register is set to raise investment amounts for the EB-5 program. Other major program changes include the centralization of TEA's in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a clarification of procedures for removing conditions on permanent residence. This is the first significant revision to the EB-5 program's regulations since 1993.

The New EB-5Program Changes Include:

  • Increased investment amounts: $500,000 to $900,000 for TEA investments and $1 million to $1.8 million for non-TEA investments.
  • TEA centralization to DHS for geographic area designation.
  • Investment amounts raised every five years.
  • Clarifying USCIS procedures for removal of conditions on permanent residence.
  • Allowing EB-5 petitioners to retain original priority dates.

Additionally, the new regulations outline what is required to qualify a project as a TEA and requires that the USCIS will make the determination, not the individual states. Prior to the new regulations, a regional center could simply request a TEA letter from the state, county or city government where the project was located (depending on the state). This will not be the process anymore, since the USCIS will adjudicate all TEA requests. This will improve integrity within the EB-5 program since the regional center operators will not be able to gerrymander their projects into qualifying as a TEA when they do not.
E-2 Investor Visa

Alternatively, potential investors seeking an EB-5 should also consider an E-2 investor visa. They are an appealing options for foreign business persons, investors, managers, and employees who wish to stay in the United States for extended periods of time to oversee:


  1. an enterprise that is engaged in trade between the United States and a foreign country; or 
  2. a major investment in the United States.

The E visa isn’t for just anyone who has a trade or investment. This visa class is exclusively for what the USCIS terms “treaty traders and investors”. This means that all applicants must be nationals of a country that holds a treaty of trade and commerce with the United States.

If you’re wondering if your country is a treaty country, you can look for it on the comprehensive list provided by the Department of State.

 
The regulations state that you must be a national of one of these countries, but you do not necessarily need to be currently living there. 
 

Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa

Treaty investor applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a treaty investor (E-2) visa under immigration law. The consular officer will determine whether a treaty investor applicant qualifies for a visa.

  • The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.
  • The investment must be substantial. (Usually $100,000 in a corporate bank account) It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify. 
Coming to America?
 
 
Need Pre-Immigration Tax Advice?  

 
Contact the Tax Lawyers atMarini & Associates, P.A. 

 
 for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact US at
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243). 

Read more at: Tax Times blog

Treasury Issues Final Regulations on Foreign Tax Credits

The Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations in on the Foreign Tax Credit, a long-standing tax benefit that generally allows individuals and businesses to claim a credit for income taxes paid or accrued to foreign governments in IR-2019-193.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made major changes to the tax law, including revamping the U.S. international tax system. Specifically, several Foreign Tax Credit provisions were changed, including repeal of section 902, which allowed deemed-paid credits in connection with dividend distributions based on foreign subsidiaries’ cumulative pools of earnings and foreign taxes. TCJA also added two separate limitation categories for foreign branch income and amounts includible under the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) provisions.

Additionally, the TCJA changed how taxable income is calculated for purposes of the Foreign Tax Credit limitation by disregarding certain expenses and repealing the use of the fair market value method for allocating interest expense. 

Finally, the TCJA made systemic changes to U.S. taxation of international income that impact the Foreign Tax Credit calculation. These systemic changes include the introduction of a participation exemption through a dividends received deduction for certain dividends in section 245A and the introduction of GILTI, which subjects to current U.S. taxation foreign earnings that would have been deferred under previous law, albeit at a lower tax rate and subject to extra Foreign Tax Credit restrictions. 

The IRS also issued Proposed Regulations relating to the allocation and apportionment of deductions and creditable foreign taxes, foreign tax redeterminations, availability of Foreign Tax Credits under the Transition Tax, and the application of the Foreign Tax Credit limitation to consolidated groups.

  1. These Treasury issued rules confirming that research and development expenses do not have to be allocated against foreign income. 
  2. Treasury also finalized proposed regulations, issued last year, that allow companies to claim some increased foreign tax credits against their GILTI liability. But the final rules don't include the broader exclusions advocated by companies that said the interaction between the foreign tax credit limitations and GILTI was an unexpected consequence not intended by Congress.
  3. Foreign tax credit limitations were of little concern to companies before the 2017 passage of the TCJA, as the U.S. corporate tax rate of 35% was well over that of most foreign countries. But with a new, lower rate of 21%, as well as an expected global minimum rate of 13.5%, the foreign tax credit limitations can have a significant impact on a company's overall tax payments. 
  4. They alsoconfirm that research and development expenses do not have to be allocated against foreign income, resolving an open question that companies had been considering since the regulations were issued last year. 
Have an International Tax Problem?
 
 

Contact the Tax Lawyers at

Marini & Associates, P.A. 

 
 for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact us at:
www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243). 

     

    Read more at: Tax Times blog

    Trends in IRS audits – Part II

    As we discussed in Trends in IRS audits – Part I, the IRS’s auditing power has been greatly diminished in the past decade and according to accountinTODAY, while most taxpayers envision Internal Revenue Service audits as intrusive investigations resulting in criminal sentences. Today, nothing could be farther than the truth.

    1. Most audits are done by mail.
    2. The main issue in audits: The EITC. and
    3. An alarming amount of people do not respond to an audit 
    4. The most common IRS challenge to a return is not an audit  - The dreaded CP2000 Automated Underreporter notice is current three times more prevalent than an IRS audit. The CP2000 program utilizes IRS information returns (W-2s and 1099s) to match them against the filed return to discover discrepancies. A discrepancy may result in a CP2000 notice proposing additional tax (and possibly penalties) to the return. Most taxpayers do not realize (or care for that matter) that a CP2000 is not an audit. The CP2000 is less intrusive than an audit because the IRS is not allowed to examine the taxpayer’s books and records. However, for most taxpayers, the difference does not matter. The average amount owed for a CP2000 notice in 2018: $1,773.
     
    However, there is good news for taxpayers: Even the mostly automated underreporter process has been cut back due to lack of IRS resources.  
     
    AT-112119-Buttonow- CP2000 cases.png
     
    5. The IRS knows who to audit -The audit change rate was 89 percent for all taxpayer types in 2018. In fact, the audit change rate has been between 81 percent and 89 percent since 2005. When the IRS selects a return for audit, they pretty much know it will likely result in an adjustment.
     
    AT-112119-Buttonow- Audit Change Rates.png
     
     
    6. Field audits are rare, but expensive - In 2018, the IRS hit an all time low for the number of field audits conducted. Field audits are the most comprehensive, and are saved for complex taxpayers and situations — like businesses and tax avoidance schemes. The IRS has said that their audits have a great return on investment and reduction of audit results in large amounts lost to the U.S. Treasury.
    The numbers support the IRS. In 2018, the average amount owed in a field audit was $85,400. Luckily for taxpayers, the IRS only conducted just under a quarter of a million field audits in 2018.
     
    AT-112119-Buttonow- Extra tax owed on audit.png
     
     
    7. Want your business to escape audit? Be an S corp or partnership - The IRS continues to struggle to audit S corp and partnership returns. This situation is likely to get worse as the more experienced IRS business auditors continue to retire. Audit rates for S corps and partnerships are both 0.22 percent or, put another way, 1 in every 455 passthrough entities were examined in 2018. It is no wonder that the number of S corporations have increased by 38 percent from 2005 to 2018 (3.5 million in 2005 versus 4.85 million in 2018).
     
    AT-112119-Buttonow-Audit rates for S corps and partnerships.png
     
     Have a Tax Audit Problem?
     

     
    You Should Immediately Consult With
    An Experienced Tax Attorney
     
     

    Contact the Tax Lawyers at

    Marini & Associates, P.A. 

     
     for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact us at:
    www.TaxAid.com or www.OVDPLaw.com
    or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243). 
     
     
     

    Read more at: Tax Times blog