Reducing IRS Penalties

Procedural Requirements for Imposition of Penalties and Additions to Tax
The Internal Revenue Service Restructuring Act required that each notice imposing a penalty include the name of the penalty, the Code section imposing the penalty, and a computation of the penalty. The Act also requires the specific approval of IRS management to assess all non computer generated penalties unless excepted. This provision does not apply to failure to file penalties, failure to pay penalties, or to penalties for failure to pay estimated tax.

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5-27-12 Forbes Blog: New IRS Offer In Compromise Policies

Over the years the IRS offer in compromise program has been the subject of a great deal of criticism by Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate and taxpayer representatives. The new initiative represents the most dramatic liberalization of IRS settlement policies ever announced. It represents a welcome change from an agency which has always placed substantial roadblocks to those seeking to compromise their tax obligations.

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Tax Obligations Before and During Bankruptcy

For bankruptcy cases filed after October 16, 2005, the Bankruptcy Code requires Chapter 13 debtors to file all required tax returns for tax periods ending within 4 years of the debtor’s bankruptcy filing. All such federal tax returns must be filed with the IRS before the date first set for the first meeting of creditors. The debtor may request the trustee to hold the meeting open for an additional 120 days to enable the debtor to file the returns (or until the day the returns are due under an automatic IRS extension, if later). After notice and hearing, the bankruptcy court may extend the period for another 30 days. Failure to timely file the returns can prevent confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan and result in either dismissal of the Chapter 13 case or conversion of the case to a Chapter 7 case.

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Nonfilers

A tax practitioner is frequently confronted with the following question when giving a client a return with a balance due on it: “Should I file the return right now, or wait until I have the money to pay it?”

The answer is very simple. File it as soon as possible! If your client has any money at
all available for payment, it should be enclosed with the return. The reason for such
advice is that one of the largest penalty rates which the IRS is allowed to impose is for
late filing of a return. The penalty is five percent per month, up to a maximum, of 25%, of the tax due but unpaid by the due date of the return, which works out to be an annualized rate of 60%. Therefore, if your client fails to file the return on time there is an effective annual rate of interest in excess of 75% when you add interest and. late payment penalty. The late payment penalty after notice, on the other hand, is one percent per month, or an effective rate of 12% per year in addition to statutory interest. One1 drawback of filing a timely return without remittance is that the IRS will arrive at the taxpayer’s door to collect the liability much sooner than if he or she files a return late. However, the additional cost for penalties incurred to gain this time is prohibitive.

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