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District Court Rejects Defendant’s Creative Claim that Alleged Overpayments of Other Taxes Precludes Criminal Liability (5/28/20)

In United States v. Hamdan (E.D. La. Dkt. 19-60 Order Dated 5/22/20), here, the Court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss most of the counts in their 74-count Superseding Indictment charging (i) the conspiracy by “evading paying federal income and employment taxes” (not clear whether an offense conspiracy or defraud/Klein conspiracy charge or both, but […]

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Confusion as to Sentencing Guidelines Tax Loss and Civil Tax Loss Requires Remand and Resentencing (5/21/20)

In United States v. Brannum (9th Cir. Unpublished 5/12/20), here, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded a case because of the prosecutor’s violation of the plea agreement as to the amount of the tax loss.  Readers will recall that, in the Sentencing Guidelines’ calculation of the offense level and sentencing range, the principal component in […]

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The New and Improved Form W-4: How it Affects Your Tax Refund

Form W-4, which instructs your employer on how much tax to withhold from your paycheck, received a makeover at the start of 2020. It’s the first major redesign of the form in 33 years, dating all the way back to 1987. The adjustments simplified the form and implemented the tax code changes that went into […]
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Court Re-Calculates Willful Penalties Found to Be Arbitrary (5/18/20; 8/28/20)

In United States v. Schwarzbaum (S.D. Fla. Dkt 18-cv-81147 Order Dtd 5/18/20), here, following through on its earlier opinion holding the calculation of willful FBAR penalties to be arbitrary and capricious, the Court recalculated the willful FBAR penalties.  The recalculation resulted in a reduction of the willful penalty for 2007-2009 from $13,729,591.00 to $12,907,952.00, resulting […]

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Court Re-Calculates Willful Penalties Found to Be Arbitrary (5/18/20; 5/26/20)

In United States v. Schwarzbaum (S.D. Fla. Dkt 18-cv-81147 Order Dtd 5/18/20), here, following through on its earlier opinion holding the calculation of willful FBAR penalties to be arbitrary and capricious, the Court recalculated the willful FBAR penalties.  The recalculation resulted in a reduction of the willful penalty for 2007-2009 from $13,729,591.00 to $12,907,952.00, resulting […]

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The CARES Act Impact on Small Businesses

After some short deliberation in Congress, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was signed into law on March 27. At TaxAct, we have spent countless hours reading the law, viewing informative webinars, digging through analysis, and making direct contact with the IRS. While there will be continued clarification around the law, including […]
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Article on Renewed Focus on Criminal Tax Enforcement (5/17/20)

Readers of this blog might be interested in the following article by a prominent tax crimes practitioner:  Scott Michel, INSIGHT: The IRS’s Renewed Focus on Fraud—Implications for Tax Practitioners (Bloomberg Tax 5/8/20), here. Here’s a teaser from the opening: The IRS’s fraud enforcement pendulum may be swinging back toward more enforcement after a decade of […]

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District Court Denies Summary Judgment on Willfulness But Finds Penalty Allocation Arbitrary and Capricious (5/15/20)

In Jones v. United States (C.D. Cal. Dkt. 19-04950 Order Dated 5/11/20), CourtListener here, the Court held that, whether or not the plaintiff (Mrs. Jones) acted willfully was a question of fact and denied motions for summary judgment accordingly.  (Slip Op. 9-14; 16-19.) Further, the Court held that the willful penalty assessments were within the […]

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More on Defraud Conspiracy as Requiring Object to Obtain Money or Property (5/11/20)

On 5/11/20 at 10:00 pm EDT, I revised this post, where appropriate, to use conspiracy lingo — object rather than intent.  I have made some other, principally editorial changes, as well (principally adding a new JAT Comment #2 and moving the later comments up one number). I recently posted on the Supreme Court’s opinion in […]

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U.S. Taxpayer Renouncing U.S. Citizenship Indicted And Extradition Started (5/11/20)

A reader just alerted me that I had overlooked a significant item of interest to readers of this blog. On March 5, 2020,, DOJ issued the following press release:  Founder of Russian Bank Charged with Tax Fraud: Allegedly Concealed $1 Billion in Assets and Income when Renouncing U.S. Citizenship, here. Key excerpts from the release […]