Wesley Snipes was once best known for his work as an actor, particularly for his role as the vampire-hunting Marvel superhero, Blade. Unfortunately, when Snipes makes headlines these days, it’s usually due to his ongoing tax battle with the IRS. Continue reading
What does Paul Manafort and tax resolution have in common?
A lot actually…
As we all know, if you’ve been reading the news stories online or watching the evening news, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, was found guilty on five counts of tax fraud, one count of failing to report his foreign bank accounts (FBAR) and two counts of bank fraud. Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel went after him over the alleged Russia collusion with Donald Trump. But that’s not what he was found guilty on; he was found guilty of tax fraud.
Your tax resolution clients need to know that when they come to you, and they’ve filed fraudulent tax returns, or haven’t filed legally required income tax returns which they will more than likely disclose to you, there can be major consequences they face for these actions.
You know what I used to tell clients that would ask, “Mike, it’s not that bad is it?” What this week’s video to get a great strategy of how to answer that question if your client asks you the same thing.
How do you take something that the IRS has said and turn that into a marketing opportunity?
Well, last week Nina Olson, who’s the National Taxpayer Advocate at IRS, came out and stated that the real audit rate in the United States is 6.2%, not 7/10 of 1%. Just to put that in perspective, 7/10 of 1% equates to just over a million audits, and 6.2% equates to nearly 7 million audits. So who’s right? Who’s wrong?
How do you turn that into a marketing opportunity? Here is what the IRS is doing. Their headcount has been decimated over the last 3 or 4 years. It’s down by 23%. So more and more, the IRS is relying on technology, and their computers are generating automatic notices. 70% of the time they’re incorrect. But here’s what the deal is, the IRS knows that there are much less protection rights for taxpayers when they send out these under reporting notices or these math error notices. There are no appeal rights with those. Not like in a real audit where you can appeal it. So your clients are getting all these notices to the tune of 7 or 8 million notices a year that the IRS doesn’t consider an audit. But to you and to your client, if they’re questioning an item on their return, that’s an audit.
So when you’re talking to your client about your Audit Protection Plan, it’s important to let them know that you’re handling all of these notices, not just audits. It’s very, very important. And the IRS is going to be sending more and more and more of these out as years go by, especially with the new Tax Reform Bill that was just signed and that’s effective in 2018. So take that information. Use it in handling objections. Use it as a marketing strategy that the IRS is sending out all these notices, which in fact is very, very true. You have to defend and resolve them. Your time is valuable. You’re either going to charge the client on an hourly basis or with one low annual fee in your Audit Protection Plan, which takes care of responding to all of these notices.
Until next time,
Owner of S&S Drywall, Stephen Gregory Nagy thought he was being quite inventive when he came up with his scheme to not only cheat the IRS but also his employees back in 2010. After the IRS assessed his company, they determined that Nagy owed more than $480,000 in unpaid federal employment taxes, penalties, and interests, Nagy came up with a plan that he would hire several undocumented workers and pay them a small portion of the prevailing wage. He also demanded that those same workers pay him a large portion of cash in return—which went unreported.
From there the business owner forced his employees (via intimidation and threats) to file for unemployment benefits—even though they continued to work for him. He gave them cash to make up for the difference in salary, which was not reported—nor were the federal income taxes, social security, or Medicare taxes paid. In essence, the State of Oregon paid part of the employees’ salaries.
In order to hide the cash, Nagy created shell companies in his sister’s name—transferring business and personal assets. Considering the fact that Nagy was already known by the IRS, it’s mind boggling how he thought he wouldn’t get caught! Of course, he did, in September of 2014, when he was sentenced to 19 months in a federal prison and ordered to pay more than $480,000 in restitution.
His former employees now have no social security benefits or Medicare. Read more in my February eNewsletter and be sure to subscribe to receive “IRS Terror Tale of the Month” tales and tax resolution business and marketing tips!
I get a lot of calls from my academy members regarding IRS audits. A common question is: “should I bring my clients to the audit?” For 16 years, except for on the rarest of occasions, my answer has always been “no.” If your client is asked a direct question by the IRS Revenue Agent during the exam your client is compelled to answer absent exercising their 5th amendment rights (which is probably worse).
Even idle chatter is considered fair game by an IRS auditor.
A recent case in point was featured in The March 14, 2014 Kiplinger Tax Letter, “Talking too much during an audit leads to tax woes.” A husband and wife were chatting with a revenue agent who had begun an examination of their return, when the husband inadvertently alerted the auditor to a home sale that occurred in the year prior to the one under exam.
The couple claimed the gain from that sale was tax free on account of the home sale exclusion, but the agent ended up expanding the audit to include the previous year. He found out that the couple rented out the home to their son and his family and didn’t actually live in the in the house. A district court agreed with the agent and they didn’t qualify to exclude ANY portion of their gain (Cohen, D.C., N.Y.). Thus, the husband’s loose lips cost the couple over $150,000 in tax, penalties and interest.
Don’t let your client’s loose lips sink the IRS audit ship.
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