Allan Pearlman Radio Interview: Tax Tricks, Trips and Traps

People and the news devote lots of attention to important dates like April 15th — tax return filing day — and October 15th — the second filing deadline for all the taxpayers who got automatic extension of the April 15th deadline. In fact for many of us, the IRS and other taxing authorities demand attention on many other occasions throughout the year.

And because there can be tax problems, tax controversies, tax disputes with the IRS that come up at any time, attorney Jack Tuckner, the host of a politics and current events oriented radio talk show, invited me in to talk about tax controversies — collection issues, audits, offshore tax issues, voluntary disclosures, offers in compromise, and similar Radio_noisyissues.

So, on Tuesday afternoon, October 20th, 2015, far, far away from April 15th, and after the October 15th deadline has passed, I met with Jack Tuckner and his partner in radio, Deborah O’Rell, to talk about the IRS and New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance on there weekly show, Women’s Rights in the Workplace on the Progressive Radio Network, PRN.fm.

The original plan was to discuss the inner workings of the IRS, and how tax payers might best protect themselves from the eager claws of the government for a half hour. But before we knew it a whole hour went by.

The Women’s Rights in the Workplace show describes our conversation like this:

GrimDeath+IRS“Did you know that your wages can be garnished, your bank accounts and home can be seized, and even your driver’s license can be revoked due to back taxes? Join Jack & Deborah as they welcome to the show good guy tax attorney Allan R. Pearlman, who’ll provide insight, tips and “secrets” to avoid getting into boiling hot water with the taxman.”

The whole discussion, warts and all, is here:

Letter from the Editor (Post-Mayan Apocalypse Fizzle): A New Life for the Newsletter, Life, Law & Taxes

(From the vault: A slightly different version of this post was published in the paper newsletter, sent to subscribers through the regular U.S. mail, in January 2013, on the occasion of the paper newsletter being revived to monthly publication, after a hiatus.)

It has been a while since the last edition of the through-the-regular-snail-mail Life, Law and Taxes, was completed and mailed out to you.

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One reason to want to be paying taxes

This is obvious but, with all the dread, resentment, and busywork that frequently comes along with the chore and expense of preparing tax returns and paying taxes, it is all too often overlooked:

if you’re paying taxes it means you made money.

Not owing (and so, paying) taxes generally means you aren’t making money. And that’s worse. (Let’s leave aside, for the moment, the issues surrounding “tax haven” countries like Leichtenstein, the Caymen Islands, Andorra, Monaco, etc., where we’ve been reading in the news recently that profitable companies avoid taxes through foreign subsidiaries incorporated in one of these offshore places).

It is a where-there’s-smoke-there’s-fire causal connection (or putting it into achievement test comparison: Income taxes are to making money as smoke is to fire (and again, following the metaphor, we leave aside the smokeless fires of off-shore tax havens for the moment).

The basic reality is, again, if your paying taxes, you’re making money, and that’s a good thing. (Thank you, Martha Stewart.)

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Post Script:  At risk of blowing a punch line (not that this is funny), this paying-taxes-because-you’re-making-money-and-that’s-a-good-thing message makes me think to mention that I recently started a second blog, on a completely different topic, which is relevant here:  the other blog is called “Marketing and PR Lab” and, instead of discussing law or the government or taxes, it instead focuses on ways of improving one’s business and so, income, by improving your marketing methods and getting known.

So as you think of ways to have the “smoke and fire” problem described above, that is: “I have to pay taxes, Dang! But that means I made money — Great!” you might want to go to http://marketingandprlab.com to see if there are things there that can push your business and income-earning forward, or leave a comment to share your experiences, or both.

IRS Clarifies Position on Tax Consquences of Ponzi Schemes

In the wake of the unravelling of uber-Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff’s scam, the IRS has announced new guidance on how it will handle the tax consequences of being a victim of a Ponzi scheme — whether Madoff’s or any one else’s.

Yesterday, March 17th, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman described the agency’s position in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee:

  • The investor is entitled to a theft loss, which is not a capital loss. In other words, a theft loss from a Ponzi-type investment scheme is not subject to the normal limits on losses from investments, which typically limit the loss deduction to $3,000 per year when it exceeds capital gains from investments.
  • The revenue ruling clarifies that “investment” theft losses are not subject to limitations that are applicable to “personal” casualty and theft losses. The loss is deductible as an itemized deduction, but is not subject to the 10 percent of AGI reduction or the $100 reduction that applies to many casualty and theft loss deductions Continue reading

Can the IRS file a lien without going to court?

A taxpayer searching around the internet asked this question. It is a very good question because it asks about the reach — and the limits — of the IRS’s power to reach into our lives whether we like it or not.

Liens 101: What is a Lien, Anyway?

For those unfamiliar with the term, a “lien” is essentially a claim — someone claims you owe them money.

In certain situations, the person (or business, or government agency) making the claim can file a document announcing this claim with the County Clerk or other public records authority.

By filing a lien with the County Clerk, the claimant announces to the world (and especially to credit reporting agencies) that the claimant says you owe it money.

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IRS to Bail Out Taxpayers?

When hearing the news that former masters-of-the-universe bankers are getting billions in federal aid – bailouts from their failures – who among us has not wished to receive our own personal bailout?

After all, almost none of us have been as irresponsible, reckless, even profligate as the banks and bankers whose wastrel ways have brought down the economy. What about the rest of us who try to make a living, pay our bills, make ends meet? Times are tough for all of us now.

While it is unlikely that any of us will be invited to testify before Congress to explain why the government should write a huge check to help out on our personal finances or the finances of our small businesses (personally, if Congress did invite me, I’d skip the private jet the first time, and fly commercial or take a train or drive) , the IRS – of all government agencies – is promising relief for taxpayers and particularly taxpayers who have fallen behind in paying taxes.

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