Video archives concept.What do professional athletes, punk artwork and digital kittens have in common?  They are all part of the expansion of valuable collectible assets using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.  You can collect digital items for your favorite baseball and basketball players and then sell them in online exchanges.  You can also collect and “breed” your own designer CryptoKitties or purchase a digitally created punk portrait using blockchain technology. Investing in valuable collectibles can be both fun and lucrative. There are now thousands of buyers of these new digital collectibles and transactions involve millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.   The current leader in digital collectibles is NBA Top Shots with an active marketplace where the highest asking prices are hundreds of thousands of dollars. What are the tax consequences of these new assets?  Here are some concepts to consider if you have collectible assets, digital or otherwise.
Continue Reading Taxation of Digital Collectibles: Sports, CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties, Oh My!

Overview of the Appeals Process

The goal of the Appeals Office is to settle as many cases as possible within the broad guidelines of its Mission Statement:

The Appeals mission is to resolve tax controversies, without litigation, on a basis which is fair and impartial to both the Government and the taxpayer and in a manner that will enhance voluntary compliance and public confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the Service.

Even though much of the work of Appeals comes from examinations, its jurisdiction has expanded over the last few years.  In examination cases, the taxpayer receives the 30-day letter.  This letter is accompanied by the Revenue Agent Report and gives the taxpayer 30 days to request an Appeals conference.  In most cases, the taxpayer is required to file a protest describing the taxpayer’s position.  If the taxpayer does not request an Appeals conference, then the IRS will send the taxpayer a notice of deficiency.  If the taxpayer files a petition with the Tax Court, and has not had an Appeals conference, the IRS will send the case to Appeals to investigate a possible settlement.  In other types of cases, the IRS will send the taxpayer a letter advising the taxpayer of his right to an Appeals and giving the taxpayer a time limit in which to request an Appeals conference. You file the protest as stated in the letter from the IRS and within the 30-day period.


Continue Reading Going to Appeals – Preparing the Protest

Old axe standing against a piled pieces of firewood in wood“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

― Abraham Lincoln

The Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2015 and fundamentally changed the way partnerships are audited. Under the BBA, the IRS generally assesses and collects any understatement of tax (called an imputed underpayment) at the partnership level. The new rules were applicable to all entities starting on January 1, 2018, unless they are eligible to elect out. A significant uptick in BBA audits hasn’t, for the most part, occurred because of other demands on the IRS. However, a ramp up in BBA audits in 2021 is expected given IRS plans to increase audits on small businesses, usually operating as partnerships, by 50 percent.  Preparation prior to any audit is a good idea, but it is imperative for partnerships navigating new audit rules under BBA.  Here are some ways to sharpen your axe before the audit notice arrives.
Continue Reading Is Your Partnership IRS Audit Ready?

Midsection of tax auditor examining documents with magnifying glass at table in officeIf you haven’t read Part 1 of this blogpost, you might appreciate the background in that post.  That post dealt primarily with the concepts of communication during the audit. However, the concepts below should be helpful even without the benefit of Part 1. This post focuses on the concepts of preparation and presentation during the audit.   
Continue Reading Tips for Working with IRS Revenue Agents During an Audit – Part 2

Recent decisions have provided taxpayers with new ways to procedurally challenge penalties assessed in their cases.  Joshua D. Smeltzer, former Department of Justice Tax Division litigator now at Gray Reed, recently published an article in the Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure (a quarterly scholarly journal published by CCH Inc.) outlining the questions that

Stamp IRS audit and accounting documents.Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is sometimes a difficult and complicated process. Even more so now given the pandemic.  Interactions with a Revenue Agent may not happen in person, but there will be contact with the IRS in some form. At times the procedure of communicating with the IRS is cumbersome, even for the most experienced tax practitioner.  Experience shows that a taxpayer can be successful in dealing with the IRS at all levels with proper communication, preparation and presentation. This post will occur in two parts, the first part will discuss communication and the second part will discuss preparation and presentation.
Continue Reading Tips for Working with IRS Revenue Agents During an Audit – Part 1

Gold wedding rings so close and a dollar, love and moneyTexas is a “community property” state; but all property in Texas is not “community property”.

In Texas, each spouse can have his or her own “separate” property, which generally consists of property that was acquired by gift or inheritance, and that which was owned by the spouse prior to marriage.  All other property is generally presumed to be community property.
Continue Reading Collecting Separate Tax Debts from Community Property

Black friday gift, paper box with red silk big round ribbon bow isolated on white backgroundA good friend called me recently with a question for one of his clients.  The client, an elderly client with health problems, wanted to know if the payments she has been making to her caregivers could be treated as non-taxable gifts, or if she has to report the payments to the IRS as wages?
Continue Reading Love Don’t Cost a Thing? Drawing the Line Between Wages and Gifts

Cryptocurrency SavingsCryptocurrency is more accessible than ever before. Banks are continuing to both implement procedures for and, in some cases, develop their own cryptocurrencies. Paypal allows users in the U.S. to buy, sell and hold select cryptocurrencies directly through PayPal and it will enable cryptocurrency as a funding source for purchases in 2021. Volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies continues, and is likely to continue, but it is becoming a more recognized investment and method of payment. As more taxpayers integrate cryptocurrency into their finances, they should consider tax implications. Here are some things to remember about current or future cryptocurrency transactions and investment.
Continue Reading Taxpayer Guidelines for Cryptocurrency in 2021