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Monthly Archives: May 2023

IRS’ Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 Funding, To Make the Tax System Fair Again, Are Eliminated In Debt Limit Bill!

On January 18, 2023 we posted TIGTA Says That IRS' $80 Billion Funding Boost Spending Plan Is On Track, where we discussed that oAugust 16, 2022 we posted Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 Is Law, where we discussed what's in the Inflation Reduction Act allocates $80 billion to increase enforcement by the IRS and that the Internal Revenue Service is on track to deliver the spending plan for the Inflation Reduction Act's nearly $80 billion funding boost to the Treasury Department by the Feb. 17, 2023 deadline.

On April 6, 2023 we also posted IRS To Audit Wealthy Individuals and Large Corps  & Partnerships With $45.6 Billion Provided by The Inflation Reduction Act where we discussed that the Internal Revenue Service unveiled on April 6, 2023, its Strategic Operating Plan, an ambitious effort to transform the tax agency and the 150-page report to the Secretary of the Treasury outlines the agency’s historic plans to make fundamental changes following funding from last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. 

The plan makes clear that the resources to be deployed over the short and long term will be used to accomplish various objectives including:

  • Adding capacity to unpack the complex filings of high-income taxpayers, large corporations and complex partnerships and
  • Addressing a growing chasm between the number of experienced compliance personnel at the IRS who audit high-income, high-wealth tax filings for compliance (about 2,600 employees) and the roughly 30,000 individuals making more than $10 million a year, 60,000 large corporations and 300,000 large partnerships and S corps.

    The spending plan calls for hiring and onboarding the first groups of compliance specialists to focus on large corporations and partnerships and high-income individuals in the 2023 fiscal year. Under the plan, the agency would start using new compliance tactics for the wealthy and large corporations in the 2025 fiscal year.

    Now All of Those Aspirational Objectives to Guarantee
    Fairness in The Tax System Are ALL GONE
    as a Result of the 
    Debt Limit Bill!

    According to Law360, the $20 billion in IRS funding cuts included in the debt limit deal reached by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy would be part of the largest-ever rescission of previously authorized funding, the chair of the House tax panel said Tuesday, May 30, 2023 in urging colleagues to support the bill.

    House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith, R-Mo., said the agreement to trim roughly $21.4 billion of the $80 billion funding boost the Internal Revenue Service received under the Inflation Reduction Act marks a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. (What compromise? What did the Democrats get in return?) In addition to extending the federal debt limit for about 19 months, he said the deal "downsizes the outrageous pay raise the IRS was given under one-party Democrat rule."

    The Bill Calls For Not Only A Clawback Of $1.4 Billion Of IRS Spending Planned For Fiscal 2023 But Also An Additional
     $10 Billion Reduction In IRS Funding In Each Of Fiscal
    2024 And 2025, According To A White House Source
    And Congressional Republicans.

    Immediately rescinding nearly $1.4 billion in unspent IRS funding for fiscal 2023 would be a significant victory because it would limit the number of agents the IRS could hire, Smith said at the hearing.

    The 99-page bill, unveiled Sunday after weeks of negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House, would extend the $31.4 trillion federal debt ceiling until Jan. 1, 2025. The bill would not make changes to the energy tax incentives passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, as in the debt limit bill passed by the House last month.

    Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said at the hearing that the amount of funding clawed back from the IRS would be significant.

    "While I Have Not Seen A CBO Estimate Yet, I Think It's
    Worth Pointing Out That Rescinding IRS Funding Actually Makes This Bill More Expensive, Not Less Expensive," Thompson Said. "A Well-Funded IRS Is In The Best Interest
    Of Everyone, Especially Working-Class Americans."

    The White House on Tuesday urged Congress to send the debt limit bill to Biden's desk, saying that it reflects a bipartisan compromise to avoid the U.S.' first-ever default. aka Biden Caved To Extortion!

    The Biden administration downplayed the rescission of the IRS funding, with a White House source saying Sunday that the IRS would be able to continue to make use of the remaining $60 billion it received under the Inflation Reduction Act over "the next several years." B_ _ _ S_ _ _!

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    Read more at: Tax Times blog

    Tax Court Finds That 3 Yr Statute of Limitations For Assessing Gift Had Lapsed & Dismisses Banker’s $8.7M IRS Bill

    According to Law360, a Swiss-born banker who challenged an $8.7 million tax bill stemming from a $6 million gift he made to his mother before he became a U.S. citizen properly disclosed the gift on an amended return, the U.S. Tax Court determined Monday.

    In siding with Ronald Schlapfer, who claimed he didn't owe gift tax because he wasn't planning to live in the U.S. at the time he gave the gift, the court barred the Internal Revenue Service from trying to collect, saying the agency had run out of time.

    The government has three years to collect gift tax from the time a return is filed, as long as the return adequately discloses the gift, the court said. Schlapfer filed his amended gift tax return, along with a protective claim and explanation why he believed he didn't owe gift tax, in 2013 as part of his disclosure package for participation in the IRS' Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. Even with a year's worth of extensions, the IRS had run out of time to assess the gift tax by the time it issued the notice of deficiency — which included $4.4 million in gift tax liabilities and $4.3 million in additions to tax — in 2019, the court said.

    While the IRS said Schlapfer did not adequately disclose the gift on his amended return, the court said other documents in Schlapfer's disclosure package, namely the offshore entity statement that explained the source of the gift, could be relied on to prove adequate disclosure under Treasury regulations.

    Schlapfer, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008 and lived in Florida when he challenged the tax bill, worked for Citibank before starting European Marketing Group Inc. in of Panama in 2002, according to the decision. The gift to his mother was a life insurance policy that included his aunt and uncle and was funded partly with EMG stock.

    Read more at: Tax Times blog

    Would You Like Your Philly Cheesesteak With or Without Prison Time

    According to Law360, Federal prosecutors asked a Philadelphia judge to give the father-son duo who owned the iconic Tony Luke's cheesesteak restaurant more than two years in prison each and order them to pay $1.3 million in combined restitution after they pled guilty to defrauding the government through an $8 million tax evasion scheme.

    On May 19, 2023, U.S. District Judge Gerald A. McHugh received the government's sentencing submission for Tony Luke's founder Anthony Lucidonio Sr., 84, and his son, Nicholas Lucidonio, 57, about a year after they pled guilty to the first count of the 24-count indictment that initially charged them in 2020.

    "Defendants' willingness to baldly deny the full scope of their criminal conduct, and defendant Nicholas Lucidonio's brazen willingness to speciously contest his role in the criminal scheme to evade both income and payroll taxes is astounding," the memorandum reads.

    Prosecutors accused the Lucidonios of various crimes related to the business' payroll and income taxes. I

    "Despite committing tax evasion for the better part of two decades, and despite their own accounting records which show skimmed sales approximating $8 million, concealed net profits in the millions, and a tax loss of at least $1.3 million, defendants would have this court believe the harm they caused to the United States Treasury for which they are responsible is just $286,000 over the decade charged in the indictment," the memorandum reads.

    In total, the government determined Tony Luke's failed to pay $486,142 of payroll taxes and $834,900 of income taxes while the Lucidonios argue it was just $286,000 in payroll taxes and $424,535 in income taxes that was lost.

    The memo also says the sentencing guidelines suggest 30-37 months for Nicolas Lucidonio and 37-46 months for Anthony Lucidonio if they accept responsibility for their crimes.

    Read more at: Tax Times blog

    SC – IRS Does Not Need To Notify Taxpayers of Bank Doc Summons

    According to Law360, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed on May18thh 2023 a Sixth Circuit decision approving IRS summonses for the banking records of two law firms and the wife of a man owing $2 million in taxes, rejecting their arguments that they should have been notified of the requests.

    In a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court found that:

    The Internal Revenue Service Wasn't Required To Notify
    Firms Abraham & Rose PLC, Jerry R. Abraham PC And
    Hanna Karcho Polselli, The Tax Debtor's Wife, of the
    Him hhimSummonses Seeking Their Banking Records.

    The Sixth Circuit correctly concluded that the IRS could issue the summonses without notification under Internal Revenue Code Section 7609(c)(2)(D)(i), because the IRS was trying to collect the already-assessed taxes of Remo Polselli, according to the opinion. The court rejected arguments from the firms and Hanna Polselli that an exception to the notice requirements applies only when the delinquent taxpayer has a legal interest in the requested records, saying none of the three parts of the statutory exception mention any sort of legal interest test.  

    "None of the three components for excusing notice in [Section] 7609(c)(2)(D)(i) mentions a taxpayer's legal interest in records sought by the IRS, much less requires that a taxpayer maintain such an interest for the exception to apply," the opinion said.

    The dispute stems from an IRS probe into the liabilities of Remo Polselli, whom the agency determined owed $2 million in unpaid taxes. An IRS agent had issued summonses to three banks: Wells Fargo Bank NA, JP Morgan Chase Bank NA and Bank of America NA, seeking records on accounts held by the two law firms as well as Hanna Polselli. 

    But the IRS didn't tell the firms or the spouse of the summonses. Instead, the banks notified them, and Hanna Polselli and the firms subsequently filed petitions in Michigan federal court to quash the summonses, according to the opinion.

    A lower court found that Hanna Polselli and the firms couldn't sue to do away with the summonses because the IRS was trying to collect the taxes assessed against Polselli, and the plain meaning of Section 7609(c)(2)(D)(i) permits the IRS to skip notifying them in such circumstances. That statute specifically exempts from the general notice requirement summonses "issued in aid of the collection of" an assessment made against a different taxpayer.

    In a 2-1 opinion, the Sixth Circuit agreed, saying it's clear the IRS issued the summonses in order to aid the collection of tax and locate Polselli's assets.

    Polselli and the firms have argued that both the language of the statute and the history behind its enactment indicate that the exception is applicable only in limited circumstances, when the delinquent taxpayer has a legal interest in the requested records. The Ninth Circuit embraced such a test in Ip v. United States , according to Polselli and the firms.

    But in the Supreme Court's opinion, Justice Roberts said there's no support in the statute for such a legal interest test, based on "a straightforward reading of the statutory text."

    Moreover, Polselli and the firms have too narrow a reading of the statute's phrase "in aid of," the opinion said. While they've argued that the phrase requires that there be some sort of direct connection between a summons the IRS issues and taxes it collects, the agency can issue summonses that in some way help it locate assets without necessarily enabling the agency to collect taxes, the opinion said.

    "Even if a summons may not itself reveal taxpayer assets that can be collected, it may nonetheless help the IRS find such assets," the opinion said.

    In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said the IRS isn't automatically exempt from the notification requirements for IRS summonses when a tax matter enters the collection phase. The exception to the notice requirements is specifically intended to help the IRS out so notice of a summons doesn't tip off a delinquent taxpayer who might want to hide their assets, Justice Jackson wrote.

    But that exception isn't intended to "devour the rule" requiring notice, she wrote in the concurring opinion, joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

    "I believe that both courts and the IRS itself must be ever vigilant when determining when notice is not required," Justice Jackson said. "Doing so properly involves a careful fact-based inquiry that might well vary from case to case, depending on the scope and nature of the information the IRS seeks."

    Read more at: Tax Times blog

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