Hour glass on calendar concept for time slipping away for important appointment date, schedule and deadlineWhat is the Statute of Limitations?

The Internal Revenue Code limits the time in which the government may assess tax. There are two civil statutes of limitations.  The first is the period during which the IRS can assess an additional tax liability (including penalties and interest).  The second is the period during which the IRS can collect a tax that has been assessed.  The criminal statute of limitations is the period during which the IRS can criminally prosecute. Generally, as to tax crimes, the criminal statute of limitations is six years. (Section 6531)

The application of the statute of limitations can be very confusing and individual facts may determine how the statute of limitations is computed. Also, certain actions suspend the statute of limitations.
Continue Reading Statute of Limitations in Tax Cases – The Basics

Tax forms, close up

Once a taxpayer overpays a tax, it is necessary to file a claim for refund before any action can be undertaken to seek a refund of such tax from the government. The purpose of the claim for refund is to place the IRS on notice of an alleged overpayment.  A taxpayer cannot require the IRS to make a credit or refund without filing the claim.  In addition, a claim for refund is a prerequisite for suing in the U.S. District Court or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  It also protects the overpayment of taxes if the statute of limitations expires.  Claims for refund take many forms, but most typically are Forms 1040X and 1120X, amended returns for individual and corporate income taxes.  Refund of other taxes requires regular forms which should be marked “amended” and show an overpayment.  The courts have recognized many forms of claims for refund, including informal letters from taxpayers to the IRS.  Form 843 should be used when filing claims for refunds for any taxes other than income taxes.

The preparing and filing of a claim for refund should be handled with care.  Only one taxable period and one type of tax should be set forth on any claim. The claim may cover several different issues for the same taxable period and type of tax.  The claim must be in writing under the penalties of perjury, and each and every ground upon which the taxpayer relies must be set forth in detail, plus sufficient facts to place the IRS on notice as to the taxpayer’s claim.  The claim should demand the dollar amount sought as a refund, plus any other amounts which are legally refundable – including interest.  In addition, the claim must be signed by the person who signed the return or, if a corporate return, by an officer of the corporation.  To file a claim for refund there must have been an overpayment of tax, which could include:
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green palm trees covered with snow in unusually cold winterWhen Texas froze in February, I learned a couple of things: i) snow storms have names, and ii) people in my neighborhood aren’t great at covering plants. Those poor sago palms never had a chance.

Compared to the damages to homes and burst pipes throughout the state, clearing out the flower beds after Winter Storm Uri may be just a minor inconvenience, but there was a lot of dead foliage that needed to be replaced and removed all over Texas. Taxpayers should remember that those storm-induced landscaping expenses could qualify for a casualty loss deduction on their income tax returns. Because special tax rules apply to federally declared disaster area losses, potential deductions for property owners include the cost of removing the damaged plants, measures taken to preserve the shrubbery and any replanting costs necessary to restore the property to its approximate value before the casualty.
Continue Reading Deduct the Dogwoods: Tax Deductions for Winter Storm Uri Landscaping Expenses