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Whistleblower Can Remain Anonymous During Litigation

The U.S. Tax Court, in an issue of first impression, said Dec. 8 that a whistleblower can remain anonymous in court proceedings prosecuting a whistleblower claim in order to protect the former executive's privacy concerns while serving as a confidential informant (Whistleblower 14106-10W v. Commissioner, T.C., No.14106-10W, 137 T.C. No. 15, 12/8/11).

Judge Michael Thornton said “Petitioner's request to seal the record or alternatively to proceed anonymously presents novel issues of balancing the public's interests in open court proceedings against petitioner's privacy interests as a confidential informant.”

Although the court granted summary judgment for the Internal Revenue Service on whether the whistleblower was entitled to an award, Thornton concluded that granting the request for anonymity struck a reasonable balance between the petitioner's privacy interests as a confidential informant and the relevant social interests.

The parties were ordered to redact information that would tend to reveal the petitioner's identity as the case progresses through appeals and additional litigation.

Read more at: Tax Times blog

IRS Spells Out FBAR Rules For Dual Citizens, Details Penalty Relief for Failure to File

The Internal Revenue Service spelled out the rules for U.S. and dual citizens who want to comply with U.S. requirements to report their foreign bank accounts, noting they will not be subject to penalties in all cases where they have failed to file.


IRS said it is aware that some taxpayers who are citizens of both the United States and a foreign country are only now realizing they are required to file a Report of Foreign Bank Account (FBAR) and want to come into compliance.


In a new fact sheet (FS-2011-13) dated Dec. 7, the agency explained that taxpayers who owe no U.S. tax will not have to pay failure to file or failure to pay penalties. “In addition, no FBAR penalty applies in the case of a violation that IRS determines was due to reasonable cause,” the fact sheet said. The document provided a detailed explanation of FBAR filing requirements and the circumstances in which penalties will and will not be imposed.

Read more at: Tax Times blog

Florida Gov. Scott Proposes $35 Million in Tax Relief for Businesses

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) Dec. 7 unveiled his $66.4 billion spendingplan for fiscal year 2012-13—a budget that would contain $35 million in tax-relief proposals for businesses.

Scott proposed increasing the corporate income tax exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. Such a move, he said, would eliminate the tax liability for more than 25 percent of businesses currently paying the tax.

The exemption hike would be the second in as many years. In June, Scott signed a bill (H.B. 7185) that, as of Jan. 1, 2012, will increase the corporate income tax exemption from $5,000 to $25,000.

The hike would effectively eliminate the 5.5 percent tax rate for nearly half of the 30,000 Florida businesses that currently pay the tax.

Read more at: Tax Times blog

FORM ZT09 – FL DOR TAXPAYER LIABILITY HISTORY

We've all had a new client come in the door and the first thing we want to know is their tax history.

Well, if you know what to ask for, then the Florida Department of Revenue has a specific form that provides a breakdown of taxes the DOR believes our client owes from past filing periods. The breakdown is by filing period and type of tax. This form can reveal issues that even the client didn't know about. 

First, as with any matter before the Florida Department of Revenue, you must have a valid Power of Attorney. Once the POA is in place, simply ask for a Florida DOR Form ZT09.
If you call the DOR and ask for this form, don't be surprised if the person on the other end of the line has never heard of the form.
It is a tool used by auditors to assess what other taxes may be outstanding prior to an audit. Convince them that it is available and don't let go until they find someone that can get it for you.

 

Read more at: Tax Times blog