Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Psychic, Son of Famous Psychic Sylvia Browne, Fails to Foresee IRS Audit & Assessment?

In Dufresne v.Commissioner, Christopher Dufresne a High-Income Psychic, failed to foresee his IRS Audit, their detection of $1,505,546 of unreported deposits, and $101,866 in penalties plus litigation expenses. 

Christopher Dufresne’s mother was Sylvia Browne, a well-known psychic who appeared on television, wrote books, and gave lectures. During the years in issue petitioner worked full time as a psychic counselor for his mother’s business, Sylvia Browne Corp. (Corporation), an S corporation. On behalf of the Corporation petitioner performed psychic readings as often as seven days a week. Clients were charged $200 for a 30-minute reading. 

Mr. Dufresne had clearly not seen his future, or his greed blinded him from seeing, that the Tax Court would not accept that his unreported taxable cash deposits totaling $1,505,546 for 2010-13, where not repayments he received from Ms. Browne for loans of approximately $1,490,388 for the payment of past due Federal taxes and for the purchase of real estate properties, but rather income from psychic readings he performed for clients charging them $200 for a 30-minute reading,
This case provides a that you don’t have to be a psychic to determine what standard is required to establish a legitimate debtor-creditor relationship.

In the end, Mr. Dufresne should have consulted with a certified public accountant or tax attorney before assuming that the payments received from the Corporation or Ms. Browne would be safely recharacterized as loan repayments.

Had he done this, the Tarot cards might have revealed the looming IRS audit & assessment and retaining experienced Tax Counsel would have been far less expensive than the $1,500 per hour that Ms. Browne purportedly charged for her services.

Have an IRS Tax Problem? 

Don't Consult a Psychic!
Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A. 
for a FREE Tax HELP Contact us at:
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The IRS is Now Criminally Prosecuting Employers for Failure to Pay Withheld Payroll Taxes!

The IRS is stepping up criminally prosecuting business owners for failing to turn over withheld payroll taxes!

In the last week there are no less than five (5) criminal prosecutions of business owners for failing the turnover withheld payroll taxes.
Thinking of Borrowing From Your Company's
Payroll Tax Withholdings?
You Better Thank Again, if You Like Your Freedom!

1. Former Kansas City Business Owner Sentenced to Prison for Tax Crime

According to DoJ, the former Kansas City Business Owner Sentenced to Prison for Tax Crime The former owner of a Kansas City, Missouri, business was sentenced on October 23, 2019 to 18 months in prison for obstructing the government’s effort to collect more than $378,000 in taxes owed.

According to court documents and information provided to the court, Barrett Prelogar, 48, was a founding partner of a now-defunct company, Winntech Digital Systems Inc. (Winntech). Winntech produced electronic displays to be used in stores or at trade shows.

In 2002 and 2003, Prelogar withheld payroll taxes from Winntech employees’ paychecks, but he failed to pay the taxes over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and was personally assessed more than $263,000.

Prelogar also filed his personal tax return for 2008 reporting more than $500,000 in gross income, and a tax due of more than $100,000, but failed to pay the taxes due.

Rather than paying the taxes he owed, from 2009 through 2011, Prelogar spent more than $362,000 towards a house at the Lake of the Ozarks, a house near the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, a house in Leawood, Kansas, a Porsche, a Jeep, and a boat.

When the IRS tried to collect the unpaid Winntech trust fund taxes, and the taxes Prelogar owed from 2008, he obstructed the IRS’s collection efforts. In particular, from 2011 to 2016, Prelogar used corporate funds to pay his personal expenses, structured cash withdrawals from Winntech’s bank account to avoid federal bank reporting requirements, and cashed his payroll checks from his wife’s company, Bare Skull Innovation LLC, rather than placing the money into a personal bank account.

In addition to the 18 months in prison, U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough ordered the defendant to serve one (1) year of supervised release, and to pay over $ 263,959.27 in restitution to the United States.

2. Couple Operating Alabama Construction Company Sentenced to Prison for Payroll Tax Fraud.

According to DoJ, a Crane Hill, Alabama, husband and wife were sentenced to 20 months collectively in prison for failing to pay over payroll taxes.

U.S. District Judge Liles C. Burke sentenced Walter Michael Williams to 13 months in prison and Amy Butler Williams to seven (7) months in prison for failing to pay over payroll taxes.

According to court documents and information provided to the court, Walter Michael Williams and Amy Butler Williams operated Dixie Steel Erectors (DSE), a commercial construction business in Hanceville, Alabama.

Walter Michael Williams, DSE’s president and owner, and Amy Williams, DSE’s bookkeeper and office manager, were responsible for withholding and paying over DSE’s payroll taxes. During 2012 and 2013, DSE accrued payroll tax liabilities and the Williamses withheld those taxes from the pay of the business’s employees, but willfully failed to pay the withheld funds to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Instead, the Williamses caused DSE to pay for a number of their personal expenses, including mortgages, alimony, and football season tickets. The Williamses also failed to file personal tax returns, and failed to file corporate tax returns for DSE.

In addition to 20 months collectively in prison, the Williamses were each ordered to serve three years (3) of supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $502,683.23 to the IRS.

3. Owner of New York City Temporary Staffing Firms Indicted for Employment Tax Fraud

According to the DoJ, a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, indicted a New York City resident yesterday on multiple counts of willfully failing to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over federal employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to the indictment, Steven Heppenheimer owned and operated temporary employment staffing businesses located in Long Island City, New York, including PTP Staffing Associates Inc. (PTP), and PPS Associates Inc. (PPS). As the alleged sole owner of PTP and PPS, Heppenheimer was required to collect, account for, and pay to the IRS federal employment taxes withheld from the wages of PTP and PPS employees. As alleged in the indictment, from 2013 through 2017, Heppenheimer failed to report more than $270,000 in employment taxes to the IRS.

If convicted, Heppenheimer faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years imprisonment for each count charged. He also faces substantial monetary penalties, supervised release, and restitution.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

4. Owner of Tulsa Software Company Sentenced to Prison for Employment Tax Fraud

According to DoJ, a computer software development company owner was sentenced to 24 months in prison for failing to account for and pay over employment taxes withheld from his employees’ wages.

According to documents and information provided to the Court, as the owner and operator of Tulsa-based Zealcon Corporation, Earenest J. Grayson Jr. was responsible for withholding, and paying over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) payroll taxes on the wages paid to Zealcon employees.

For the period January 2014 through June of 2016, Grayson caused a tax loss of approximately $1 million by intentionally not paying to the IRS income and social security taxes withheld from Zealcon employees’ wages and the employer portion of social security taxes due from Zealcon on those wages.

In addition to prison, Grayson was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $904,091, and to serve three (3) years of supervised release.

 5. Miami Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Employment Tax Fraud

According to DoJ, a Miami, Florida, business owner pleaded guilty today to failing to pay over employment taxes.

According to court documents, between 2002 and 2017, Ricardo Betancourt owned and operated multiple parcel delivery businesses in the South Florida area. Betancourt’s businesses earned gross revenues of more than $100 million.

Through his businesses, Betancourt employed hundreds of employees and was responsible for collecting and paying over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks. Betancourt withheld payroll taxes from his employees, but he deliberately failed to pay over those withholdings and other associated taxes to the IRS, despite his obligation to do so.

In 2013 and 2014, Betancourt did not pay over approximately 97 percent of the federal employment taxes he withheld from his employees. In 2015 and 2016, Betancourt did not pay over any of the federal employment taxes he withheld from his employees. For the quarter ending December 2016, Betancourt admitted that he failed to truthfully account for and pay over payroll taxes of approximately $727,478.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2020. Betancourt faces a statutory maximum sentence of five (5) years in prison as well as a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

Have Payroll Tax Problems?
 Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A. 
for a FREE Tax HELP Contact Us at:
orToll Free at 888-8TaxAid

Commissioner Rettig Wants IRS Audits To 'Touch Every Neighborhood'

According to Law360, The Internal Revenue Service should “touch every neighborhood” in choosing which taxpayers to audit, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said Monday in Philadelphia.

The agency should be able to target different ZIP codes and types of cases in order to increase the rate of voluntary compliance, Rettig said during the 30th Annual Philadelphia Tax Conference.

"When I Refer To Neighborhoods, I May Be Referring To Geographic, I May Be Referring To ZIP Codes, If You Will,

I May Be Referring To Types of Issues, Civil or Criminal," Rettig Said. "I Might Be Referring To Type Of Taxpayer.
Image result for reach out and touch someone
We Want To Touch Everyone." 
The agency will continue to focus on its enforcement of cryptocurrency transactions, Rettig said. “You now deal in cryptocurrency, again thinking this will make you anonymous,” he said, quoting Don Fort, chief of the agency's Criminal Investigation Division. “But our agents have once again proved that there is nowhere you can hide.”

IRS Chief Counsel Michael Desmond said this month that the agency is working to release additional guidance on cryptocurrencies to address questions about compliance, including the calculation of basis, valuation and information reporting.

In a 2014 notice, the agency established the principle that cryptocurrencies should be treated as property for tax purposes. Last week, the agency released additional guidance in the form of a revenue ruling and frequently asked questions that said the splitting of a cryptocurrency blockchain under a so-called hard fork does not create taxable income if no new cryptocurrency is received, but taxable income is generated by so-called airdrops that deliver new cryptocurrency.

Rettig also said that the agency welcomes the changes Congress instituted by passing the Taxpayer First Act , which was enacted this year. “A lot of our people worked long and hard hours for many years to try and bring that statute home,” he said.

Still, the agency welcomes the comments of practitioners as it begins to adjust to the legislation, he said. “We want to engage with you,” he said. “We want to hear your viewpoint.”

The TFA includes provisions to strengthen taxpayer identity theft protection, create online taxpayer accounts, accept credit and debit card payments and modernize IRS information technology systems.

The legislation also requires the U.S. treasury secretary to submit two reports to Congress, one detailing a comprehensive IRS customer service strategy and the other recommending how to reorganize the agency.

Have an IRS Tax Audit Problem? 

Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A. 


for a FREE Tax HELP Contact Us at:
orToll Free at 888-8TaxAid

Monday, October 28, 2019

IRS Sets Up a Criminal Investigation Team for Bitcoin & Other Cryptocurrencies

The US Internal Revenue Service has set up a criminal investigation team to investigate whether Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are being used to evade taxes, according to news agency Bloomberg.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service, fresh off its success in uncovering U.S. assets hidden in Swiss banks, has assigned elite criminal agents to investigate whether Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are being used to cheat the taxman.

A new team of 10 investigators is focusing on international crimes. In addition to following undeclared assets that are flowing out of Swiss banks after a crackdown, it will also build cases against tax evaders who use cryptocurrency.
The Promise Of Anonymity That Has Drawn Money Launderers And Drug Dealers To Virtual Coins
Is Also Attracting Tax Cheats, The IRS Has Said.

The unit is focusing on how users convert cash to cryptocurrency and back again. Cryptocurrencies are taxed in the US as non-cash property whose gains are either capital or income, says US law firm Proskauer Rose. The same is true of Canada.

 Have a Criminal Tax Problem?
Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact Us at:
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).



Friday, October 25, 2019

IRS is Behind on Implementing Speedy Corporate Audits

The TIGTA issued it's report on September 27, 2019 stating that the Internal Revenue Service isn’t effectively auditing corporations, despite a change in policy on how the agency was to conducts tax examinations, that was supposed to make the process more efficient.
Historically, the LB&I Division has used a variety of methods to identify tax returns for audit consideration, and upon selection, the taxpayer’s tax return would be subject to audit. However, the new campaign approach involves selecting returns by issue and focusing on that issue in the examination process. TIGTA performed this review to assess the LB&I Division’s methodology for the identification and selection of campaigns. In January 2017, the LB&I Division announced the first 13 issue-based compliance campaigns.
As of April 2019, a total of 53 campaigns have been announced.

The Campaign Program Was A Change To The LB&I Division’s Overall Workload Selection Process And Is A New Strategy In How It Plans To Identify, Select, And Examine Strategic Compliance Issues.

The LB&I Division initially set expectations that campaigns would significantly overtake traditional inventory selection methods. As of September 2018, only 6 percent of inventory had been generated by campaigns, with this percentage climbing to 15 percent by February 2019.

Initial campaigns were not focused on the most significant compliance issues facing the IRS. Some issues were selected from employee suggestions. Other issues were chosen because there was a compliance plan developed, with training already in place, or existing base of himknowledge available.

TIGTA found that issues for campaigns were not selected or prioritized based on past compliance results or potential impact on compliance. While it is early to assess the overall results of campaigns, the limited results available suggest that the LB&I Division’s limited resources would be better utilized working issues selected based on compliance risk. 
TIGTA's September 27, 2019 Report Found That
The IRS Is Only Using The New Audit Selection System
For About 15 Percent of its Audits of LB&I Companies.
The remaining audits are coming from old processes that take more time and cost more for the IRS to conduct. The agency in 2016 announced a new system for selecting cases to audit. The IRS said it would focus on examining high-risk transactions, rather than auditing a company’s entire tax return as part of an effort to more efficiently enforce tax laws.

The IRS is also failing to use the results of past audits to select and prioritize future cases to examine, the report said. The agency said it is using data to manage its audit caseload and that initial results shouldn’t be used to scrap the program. “We agree that these results, also described by IRS management as lackluster, should not be used to assess the success or failure of the program as a whole,” the IRS Office of Audit said in response to the Inspector General analysis.

The Report Illustrates How The IRS Has Struggled to Ensure Tax Compliance in Recent Years.
 The Number Of Revenue Agents Fell
to 2,923 in 2018, From 5,224 in 2010,
As Budget Cuts and Hiring Freezes Have Impeded The Agency’s Audit Capability.
“Given the diminished examination resources, the IRS should be even more focused on emphasizing areas that have the highest compliance risk,” the report said.

The IRS also said that staff and resources were allocated to work on implementing the 2017 tax law in 2018 and 2019, directing funds away from the audit program.

This isn’t the first time the IRS has received a negative report about how it is auditing corporations. In September, the Inspector General released a report saying IRS employees had collectively spent nearly 28,000 work days over a four-year period auditing mergers and acquisitions that ultimately yielded no additional tax revenue.

Have an IRS Tax Problem?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A. 
for a FREE Tax HELP Contact Us at:
orToll Free at 888-8TaxAid