Fashion Queen Anna Wintour’s Boyfriend Owes IRS Over $1 Million

According to a report in the Telegraph covered by the Huffington Post, Vogue Editor Fashion Queen Anna Wintour’s Boyfriend Owes IRS $1.2 million in taxes. Bryan, a former Clinton advisor and telecommunications executive, has owed the IRS the significant sum for several years, beginning in 2006.

Bryan’s tax troubles include outstanding property taxes, as well as a failure to file by the companies he owns in the energy industry.

Bryan, whose personal wealth once numbered an estimated $30 million in 1999, saw his wealth decline during the years of the financial instability.

The article reports that Bryan has paid back about $400,000 of a $1.6 million tax liability. When asked about his tax situation, Bryan answered that the IRS had been very accommodating, and that while he wishes he could have paid off the entire tax bill, his current financial situation did not allow it. Bryan has worked out a payment plan with the IRS.

If you find yourself with a tax liability and you don’t know where to turn for advice, please contact your experienced tax attorney. They will find the most effective solution for you as quickly as possible.

Segal, Cohen & Landis
9100 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

Upcoming IRS Tax Filing Season a Rough One for Honest Taxpayers

According to a recent article in Forbes entitled, “As IRS Tax Filing Season Begins, Bad News for Honest Taxpayers,” Forbes Staff Writer Janet Novak discusses the upcoming IRS tax filing season, which she believes will be a difficult filing season for taxpayers looking to file quickly and honestly with the IRS.

The statistics she cites provide an unflattering picture of the customer service at the IRS. Just a little more than half of all callers who attempted to speak to a human at the IRS were able to reach one. The average wait for these individuals was 17 minutes. As many are aware, identity fraud is another issue that the IRS has failed to address with any real containment effort. Taxpayers and tax attorneys alike who are hoping for major changes to come to the tax code are finding that their hope is waning. Last Friday, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction to block an IRS plan to regulate and enforce basic competency and continuing education requirements for paid tax preparers who are currently subject to regulation. The IRS has asked that the injunction be suspended as it appeals the decision.

The IRS National Taxpayer advocate Nina Olsen has gone on record with Forbes saying that if such an injunction stands, taxpayers will be grievously harmed. In light of all the issues surrounding return preparer fraud and return preparer negligence, it seems to Ms. Olsen that the practical effect of not having any sort of regulation in regards to prepare will inevitably perpetuate the already increasing issues.

Ms. Olsen did not paint a cheery picture of the future of the IRS. According to her, current trends will lead to greater problems for taxpayers in the years to come. When taxpayers do not have access to assistance from the IRS, they will sometimes turn to unscrupulous preparers out of desperation.

In the enforcement cycle that Ms. Olsen contends is causing problems as it currently stands, taxpayers are receiving notices generated by computers that demand more money or documentation. When the taxpayers attempt to question the demands or even comply, they are failing to reach the IRS at an astounding rate.

If there was any hope that things were improving, Ms. Olsen reminds taxpayers that this is not the case. The IRS gets further behind on its correspondence every day. According to the report issued by the Taxpayer Advocate Office in September, the IRS has more than one million pieces of unanswered mail.

This, the article claims, is not due to incompetence or laziness on the part of IRS employees. It is the result of an increasing demand from a decreasing body of employees.

With a tax code that continues to get more complicated, a large number of unscrupulous tax preparers and an IRS that is becoming more and more unreachable, the necessity for knowledgeable and experienced tax attorneys is becoming increasingly apparent. Contact Segal, Cohen & Landis to ensure that your tax problems are handled quickly and efficiently with the IRS.

Segal, Cohen & Landis
9100 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

Forbes Makes the Case for Tax Attorneys

In an article published in Forbes by Contributor Stephen J. Dunn, the tax expert and experienced tax attorney discusses the importance of engaging the services of tax attorneys when dealing with a tax controversy.

Dunn begins by describing the term, “tax controversy,” which refers to a contested matter before the IRS, civil or criminal, administrative or judicial. While CPAs are skilled tax return preparers and trained auditors for the benefit of the company they are working for, they are not necessarily the professionals a taxpayer needs to work with when facing a tax controversy.

In a recent case that Dunn highlights, a taxpayer engaged a CPA to represent him in making an OVDP voluntary disclosure in regards to the taxpayer’s foreign accounts. The voluntary disclosure of foreign accounts, a topic that has been at the forefront of IRS tax discussion, as an attempt by the taxpayer to avoid criminal prosecution and to minimize any monetary penalties the taxpayer would otherwise face. While representing the taxpayer, the CPA was unable to gain assurance from the IRS Criminal Investigation Division that the disclosure would not result in the prosecution of the taxpayer. The CPA was also unable to minimize the civil penalties, another one of the primary purposes of the disclosure, as the documentation the CPA submitted to the IRS was not complete. In the midst of all these failings to secure the assurance of the IRS on several levels, the CPA also allowed the IRS to contact and speak to the taxpayer for a large amount of time. Dunn concludes that this may have resulted in the IRS’ determination that there was sufficient evidence to sustain a willfulness penalty against the taxpayer.

This series of steps on the part of the CPA made all the difference. If the OVDP had been correctly submitted and approved, the penalty received would have been 27.5% of the largest balance in the previously undisclosed foreign accounts during the designated period (8 years). For other taxpayers, the penalty is the greater of 50% of the largest balance on the subject accounts during the period or $10,000. If willfulness cannot be proved, the penalty is $10,000.

It is essential to keep in mind that while the IRS is entitled to examine the taxpayer’s books and records, and even the taxpayer’s business location, it is not entitled to examine the taxpayer. Interviews are not required, nor does Dunn encourage them. From his extensive experience as a tax attorney, Dunn has observed that taxpayers, when faced with a nerve-racking interview with the IRS, tend to become “chatty” with the Revenue Officer, sharing information and trying to talk themselves out of problems. Interviews, according to Dunn, are hardly ever beneficial to the taxpayer.

Dunn admonishes taxpayers to be aware that any attorney does not mean the right attorney when it comes to tax controversy issues. Dealing with the IRS can be difficult, and having an attorney with specialized IRS tax law knowledge can make a difference.

Dunn provides the following list for times in which tax counsel is required:

  • Complex examination
  • Any matter involving the potential for criminal prosecution
  • Appeals Office matter
  • Collection matter, including levy, installment agreement, currently not collectable posting, bankruptcy, and offer in compromise
  • Innocent spouse case
  • Asset forfeiture case
  • Voluntary disclosure case
  • Claim for refund
  • Adjustment of assessment
  • Penalty relief

To ensure that your tax matters are being handled in the correct manner, contact your experienced tax attorneys at Segal, Cohen & Landis today.

Segal, Cohen & Landis, LLP
9100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

Forbes Contributor’s Perspective on Your Higher Payroll Taxes

In a recent article published in the online edition of the paper, Forbes Contributor Tony Nitti discussed the recent and controversial higher rate of payroll taxes. Nitti explains what he views as the reality behind the payroll tax rates that are now in effect.

In the fiscal cliff deal that extended the income tax rates for almost all Americans, there was one provision that was notably not extended—the reduction to an individual employee’s share of payroll taxes. The 2% reduction was applicable during both 2011 and 2012. During these years, employees only paid 4.2% of the wages they earned towards Social Security. The reduction was not renewed, resulting in a reversion to the original 6.2% rate.

While many taxpayers may not have noticed that the rate of payroll taxes changed as the fiscal cliff talks were unfolding, they will probably notice the change, however, when their first paychecks of 2013 are handed out. Assuming that the individuals were making the same amount as last year, they will most likely see a 2% decrease in their current paycheck.

If you have any questions on how any of the new rates will affect you in the coming year, speak to your knowledgeable tax professional.

 

Segal, Cohen & Landis
9100 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

Lottery Winner’s Family had IRS Lien on Property

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune discussed the IRS woes of the father-in-law of the million-dollar lottery winner who died of cyanide poisoning shortly after winning. The father-in-law, Fareedun Ansari, allegedly owed the IRS a significant sum of money. The amount that Urooj Khan’s father-in-law owed the IRS is apparently around $120,000. As a result of the back tax issue, the IRS placed liens on Khan’s Chicago home, according to an investigation by Tribune reporters.

Ansari resided in Khan’s home at the time of his son-in-law’s poisoning, according to statements made by Ansari’s criminal defense attorney. The criminal investigation into Khan’s death began after a relative voiced concern after the Cook County Medical examiner’s office found that Khan had died of natural causes. A more extensive examination showed that Khan had actually died of cyanide poisoning.

According to records from the county recorder of deeds, the tax liens that were filed by the IRS were related to unpaid back taxes for a business that Ansari had operated and that Khan had financed.

Both Ansari and his daughter, Shabana, have hired criminal defense lawyers as the investigation intensifies.

Segal, Cohen & Landis, LLP
9100 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

Tax-Filing Season to Begin Late

The IRS will begin to process returns on January 30, eight days later than it had originally planned. The delay is a result of changes in tax laws that were made in the fiscal cliff deal.

Although the tax-filing season may be behind schedule, there is no leeway when it comes to the taxpayer’s deadline. The taxman will still come on April 15.

Among the changes that are delaying the ability of the IRS to process returns are the higher tax rates on household income above $450,000 and an adjustment for inflation for the alternative minimum tax.

For those who are anxious to receive their refunds, a little patience will be required. While the IRS has stated that the agency has worked hard to open the coming tax season as quickly as possible, the delayed processing date will allow the IRS to update its systems and test their functionality to ensure a smooth transition.

The end of last year marked the expiration of the George W. Bush tax cuts. As Congress scrambled to come to a consensus, the IRS did so as well, as many of the issues would affect the coming tax season.

In a letter more extensively discussed in a previous blog post, the IRS’ interim commissioner wrote a letter to lawmakers as a reminder of the tremendous issues that would occur if the necessary adjustments to the alternative minimum tax were not addressed.

A deal was reached though, and the issues were resolved.

If you, as a taxpayer, are impatient for your return, the IRS strongly urges you to file electronically and request direct deposit of your refund.

If you have any questions about the filing process, or any other issue that you may encounter in regards to taxes, please contact your knowledgeable tax professional.

 

Segal, Cohen & Landis
9100 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

Tax Evasion: Vegas Attorney Facing Jail Time

Tax Evasion: Vegas Attorney Facing Jail Time
Tax Evasion: Vegas Attorney Facing Jail Time

Las Vegas attorney, Ian Christopherson, is facing jail time for 33-months after being convicted of tax evasion for tax years 1994 and 1996. The veteran lawyer and former candidate for the state judiciary apologized for his actions after his sentencing for the tax evasion. The attorney was accused of using bank accounts under false names to hide assets from the Internal Revenue Service.

While prosecutors sought a heavier sentence of 51-months in jail, U.S. District Judge Miranda Du deemed the 33-months as sufficient.

Facing Jail Time for Tax Evasion

 

Christopherson will report to begin his sentence on March 20. He was also asked to pay more than $780,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. The attorney will serve three years of supervised release once his prison term is over.

Segal, Cohen & Landis, LLP
9100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

Interim IRS Chief Warns Lawmakers to Address Alternative Minimum Tax Issue

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Internal Revenue Service warned lawmakers to get to work on finalizing tax policy questions about the alternative minimum tax in order to avoid a drop off the fiscal cliff.

Interim Chief IRS Chief Steven T. Miller warned that if the Alternative Minimum Tax is not patched as it has been in previous years, there may be detrimental consequences for taxpayers. In his letter, Miller reminds lawmakers that the exemption amount for the Alternative Minimum Tax “is not indexed to inflation.” The result of this has been a series of “patches” enacted by Congress to make sure the alternative minimum tax is not intentionally expanded to taxpayers on the lower end of the income scales.

Miller also indicated that the IRS has maintained its systems as though the AMT patches would be enacted as they have been in the past. If the patches are not enacted by Congress, the IRS would have to make significant system updates in the coming year to accommodate the change. He says because the changes would be substantial, many taxpayers would not be able to file their returns until March 2013, or perhaps later.

Taxpayers may be surprised at the higher tax levels as a result of new AMT liability, as well as the significant delays in the issuance of refunds.

The amount of taxpayers affected by delays and higher tax levels would not insignificant. While Miller estimated that more than 60 million taxpayer would be prevented for filing their returns while systems were reprogrammed, he now estimates that 80 to 100 million of the 150 million total returns the IRS expects will be filed in the in the coming year may not be filed as a result of the failure to patch the AMT .

Interim Chief provided the information as a call to action to lawmakers whose focus is tax policy.

Segal, Cohen & Landis, LLP
9100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999

Synagogue Seized by the IRS

Payroll tax issues seem to be the heart of the issue that will possibly cost a Worchester synagogue its facilities. The Yeshiva Achei Tmimim synagogue and the Yeshiva Academy are both housed in a building that is set for auction on January 4, 2012. The IRS requires a payment of $435,000 in taxes.

According to reports by the Worchester Telegram and Gazette, the IRS will begin the January auction at $472,000.

This is not the first time Yeshiva has found itself in financial trouble. Last year, Yeshiva lost another property that once housed the school dormitory. The building was purchased by a Yeshiva member, Steve Gaval, and will be used as a private residence.

Payroll tax issues are something to be resolved immediately, as penalties and interests that accrue can leave taxpayers in severe financial distress. If you find yourself with IRS payroll tax issues, speak to a tax attorney to begin sorting out the problem. The attorneys of Segal, Cohen & Landis are experienced with payroll tax issues, and can help you solve your individual problems in the most effective manner possible.

Segal, Cohen & Landis, LLP
9100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 601E
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 285-3999