Following is an explanation of the specific services provided by Mopsick Tax Law, LLP. As noted, Steve Mopsick is a federal tax attorney and is not admitted in California. He is licensed in the District of Columbia and his practice is limited to matters before the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Treasury Department and the United States Tax Court. He does not advise or represent clients regarding California state tax matters. Ryan Carrere is a federal tax attorney and is also admitted in California and before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. His practice includes matters before the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Treasury Department and the United States Tax Court, the Franchise Tax Board, and all courts of the state of California.
IRS Collection Matters
Levies, Seizures and Sales - The IRS has the power to levy bank accounts, garnish wages, seize and sell assets. Therefore, it is critical to proactively address tax delinquencies to avoid the possibility of enforced collection by the IRS.
Installment Agreements - An installment agreement allows a taxpayer to make monthly payments to the IRS to pay back taxes including employment taxes.
Offer in Compromise - A taxpayer can settle a tax debt with an offer in compromise for less than the amount owed based on doubt as to liability or doubt as to collectability under some circumstances.
Currently Not-Collectible Status - Currently not collectible status places a hold on enforced collection of a tax delinquency. A taxpayer may be placed into currently not collectible status by proving a financial hardship.
Negotiations With IRS Revenue Officers - IRS Revenue Officers are skilled IRS employees tasked with the job of collecting delinquent tax debts. Revenue Officers have powerful collections tools at their disposal. They can garnish wages and levy bank accounts. Negotiating with an IRS Revenue Officer to resolve delinquent tax accounts, like any negotiations, is an art form. Knowledge, experience, cooperation with the IRS and good faith efforts to make progress satisfying a tax debt or compliance issue are key components.
Penalty Abatement - The abatement of penalties can eliminate all or a portion of tax penalties under some circumstances.
Statute of Limitations - The Internal Revenue Service has a limited amount of time to take certain actions such as collecting a delinquent tax debt, assessing additional tax, assessing a trust fund recovery penalty, etc. Additionally, taxpayers have a limited amount of time to pursue certain rights such a claim for refund. Mopsick Tax Law, LLP can assist in evaluating issues associated with statutes of limitation.
IRS Employee Misconduct - IRS employees are usually closely monitored by their managers and instances of IRS employee misconduct are extremely rare. IRS employees are frequently given lectures and attend training sessions about snooping around the IRS computer, misusing confidential taxpayer information, or attempting to use their position with the government for personal advantage or harassment of someone inside or outside the government. If you suspect IRS employee misconduct you should first seek professional advice before making any statements or accusations. IRS internal security takes allegations of IRS employee misconduct very seriously and every allegation is investigated.
Innocent Spouse Relief - Married taxpayers are jointly and severally liable for the taxes owed on a joint tax return. In some cases, one spouse can be relieved of the joint tax liability under provisions for innocent spouse relief.
Discharge and Removal of Liens - Tax liens secure tax debt by attaching to, or placing “a charge on” assets owned by the taxpayer. Federal tax liens attach to all property or rights to property owned by the taxpayer whether tangible or intangible and wherever located. If an asset subject to a lien is sold, the IRS must be paid the proceeds of sale in the amount secured by the lien. Removal of a tax lien is difficult, but it can be done under some circumstances. Liens are discharged by a payment of the tax in full or after some compromise or negotiation with the IRS.
Subordination of Federal Tax Liens - Subordination of a federal tax lien allows an existing lien from a third party to move ahead of the federal tax lien or a new lien to take a senior position. The IRS will consider subrogating their tax lien when doing so will facilitate payment of a greater amount of tax than if the IRS did not subrogate their lien. Convincing the IRS of the benefit to them of subordination their lien is often the challenge.
Taxpayer Advocate and Problem Resolution - The Taxpayer Advocate is an independent ombudsman who is tasked with resolving problems causing taxpayers economic hardship, and addressing broad IRS systemic and procedural issues which could not be resolved through ordinary channels. The Taxpayer Advocate has the authority to issue a Taxpayer Assistance Order requiring IRS personnel to take corrective action or cease action that is not consistent with the IRS procedure.
Nominee Liens and Levies - The IRS can file a nominee lien against third parties when they hold mere legal title to property of the taxpayer while the taxpayer enjoys full use and benefit of the property. Nominee liens are usually used when a taxpayer is trying to hide assets from the government. A nominee lien can be enforced by a nominee levy on property.
Petitions and Trials in the United States Tax Court - Litigation in United States Tax court may be required when certain types of tax controversies cannot be resolved at the audit or Appeals level. Tax Court litigation is usually commenced after the issuance of a Statutory Notice of Deficiency in a wide range of issues including income, estate or gift taxes and in some other limited areas. The jurisdiction of the Tax Court can also be invoked when a taxpayer wishes to challenge the manner in which an IRS revenue officer is attempting to collect an assessed tax.
Refund Suit Litigation in U.S. District Court - A taxpayer can seek a return of funds and in the process challenge an IRS assessment through the refund claim process. Properly invoking United States district court jurisdiction requires close attention to the requirements of the refund procedures. Specifically, the amount in dispute must be paid first and then the taxpayer must file a request for refund. There are also strict time limitations for submitting claims for refund and for commencing a lawsuit if a refund claim is denied.
Asset Forfeitures - The asset forfeiture program is one of the federal government's most effective tools against drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime. Many seizures and forfeitures result from money laundering and currency investigations. Mopsick Tax Law, LLP can defend against asset forfeitures and help protect important taxpayer rights.
Jeopardy and Termination Assessments - Jeopardy assessments occur when the IRS determines that collection of a deficiency will be endangered by following the standard assessment procedures. A jeopardy assessment occurs before the taxpayer receives a notice and without the taxpayer’s knowledge. Only after assessment is complete is the taxpayer given notice. Appeal rights and judicial review are options for the taxpayer seeking to challenge a jeopardy assessment.
Termination assessments are similar to jeopardy assessments, but are made for only the current or preceding tax year and can be made prior to the due date for the filing of tax return.
Tax Court Discovery - Discovery in Tax Court is intended to be informal. The Court expects the parties to conduct discovery through informal communication before utilizing formal discovery procedures provided for in the Tax Court rules. Formal discovery procedures such as interrogatories and requests for production of documents and depositions are available.
IRS Summons Enforcements - The IRS has the power to issue administrative summonses to collect information as part of an investigation, audit, or collection efforts. If a taxpayer fails to comply with a summons, the IRS, through the Department of Justice, can seek judicial enforcement by obtaining a court order.
Summary Judgment - Summary judgment is a determination by a court on the merits of a case, or on specific issues without the need for a trial. A motion for summary judgment can be filed in the Tax Court by either party in litigation and can result in a final determination of a case or specific issues in a case.
Tax Court Motions to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction - The U.S. Tax Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. The IRS will from time to time challenge a petition filed with the Tax Court on the basis that the Tax Court does not have the authority, or lacks jurisdiction, to hear the petitioned matter. Overcoming such a challenge can mean the difference in whether or not a taxpayer gets their day in court.
Audits, Protests & Appeals
Complex Audits - Audits can be very daunting. When the audits involve complex issues of tax law, multiple entities, or the prospect of Tax Court litigation, an audit can be overwhelming. The need for the assistance of a qualified tax professional is heightened in complex audits to help ensure a fair outcome.
Negotiations with Revenue Agents - Revenue Agents are tasked with the responsibility of examining financial records during the course of an audit and determining any adjustments to the tax liability reported in the tax return at issue. Communication and negotiation with a Revenue Agent is a critical component of the audit process.
Protest Letters - A protest letter allows a taxpayer to state in writing their disagreement with an IRS determination, the basis for that disagreement, and to request an administrative appeal.
Settlement Conferences with IRS Appeals - A Taxpayer’s case may find its way into appeals for any number of reasons, including disagreement with tax and penalty assessments, IRS liens or levies activity, or to propose a collection alternative such as an installment agreement, or offer in compromise.
Audit Reconsideration - Audit reconsideration allows a taxpayer that disagrees with an assessment from an audit a second opportunity to have their tax liability adjusted.
2009 and 2011 Voluntary Disclosures - The IRS implemented voluntary disclosure programs aimed at bringing taxpayers with offshore income from offshore accounts into compliance. The IRS recently announced that it was re-opening the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) with no deadline for submissions. Taxpayers may also seek compliance outside the formal OVDI program by making disclosure through the IRS’s longstanding voluntary disclosure policy.
Post-Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Matters - Taxpayers may face a number of issues subsequent to filing a voluntary disclosure whether it is through the 2009 or 20011 programs, or a voluntary disclosure outside of those programs. Mopsick Tax Law, LLP is available to assist navigate those difficult issues.
Swiss Bank Accounts and Secret Offshore Accounts - New laws such as FATCA, and court cases are chipping away at once safe tax havens. It is more important than ever for taxpayers to fully disclose income and assets as required by law including offshore income and assets. The IRS is making clear that it intends to continue pursuing taxpayers that fail to comply with tax laws by not paying tax on offshore income and failing to disclose offshore assets.
Filing Compliance - Filing compliance is a prerequisite to solving many tax problems. This means making estimated tax payments, required tax deposits, and filing all required tax returns. Mopsick Tax Law, LLP does not prepare returns, but we work closely with CPAs and tax preparers to help bring clients back into compliance with their filing obligations.
Deposit Compliance - Making required tax deposits such as payroll deposits, excise tax deposits, and estimated tax payments is important to prevent tax delinquencies. Making required deposits timely is often required before the IRS will agree to any type of agreement to resolve a tax delinquency.
Early Resolution of Referrals to the Criminal Investigation Division - Fully developing the underlying facts for candid presentation to the IRS’s Criminal Division will often resolve investigations before they escalate to an indictment. Making voluntary disclosure to the IRS in advance of any criminal or civil investigation is often an option to choose and may l minimize the potential for a criminal investigation and indictment.
Employment Tax Matters
Trust Fund Recovery Penalty and Interviews - Employers are required to withhold taxes from their employees. These taxes are “trust fund” taxes. The IRS can assess the trust fund recovery penalty against individuals responsible for paying the tax when employers fail to pay these taxes to the IRS. This allows the IRS to collect delinquent payroll taxes directly from the individuals responsible for ensuring the tax is paid. A 4180 interview is conducted with the individuals believed to be responsible for payment of trust fund taxes to help determine whether or not to assess a trust fund recovery penalty against an individual.
100% Penalty Assessments - A trust fund recovery penalty (TFRP) is often referred to as a “100% penalty” because the full amount of the trust fund tax is assessed to the individual via the TFRP.
Negotiations with IRS Revenue Officers - See IRS Collection Matters
Tax Shelter & Promoter Defense
“Section 6700” Investigations - A Section 6700 penalty is intended to stop promotion of abusive tax shelters. Over the years IRS has expanded its application of Section 6700 penalties to cases for which Congress, arguably never intended the penalty to be applied. Unfortunately, taxpayers that have taken every step to comply with tax laws may find themselves under scrutiny for possible assessment of a Section 6700 penalty.
Return Preparer Investigations - Tax preparers are subject to numerous laws and regulations covering issues ranging from privacy to ethics. The IRS can initiate investigations for many reasons and are conducted by different arms of the IRS including the Office of Professional Responsibility, Revenue Agents, or the Criminal Investigation Division.
Private Letter Rulings
Letter Rulings - A letter ruling, also known as a private letter ruling, is the Internal Revenue Service’s response to a request for guidance on the tax treatment of a specific scenario. Letter rulings are confidential and binding on the IRS with respect to the requesting taxpayer. Although a letter ruling is confidential, the IRS will publish a redacted version of the letter ruling to provide guidance to other taxpayers seeking similar guidance.
Closing Agreements - Internal Revenue Code Section 7121 allows the Internal Revenue Service to enter into a closing agreement with a taxpayer. The closing agreement binds the IRS and the taxpayer on the tax treatment of certain issues.
Matters Involving § 367 Outbound Transfers From the United States - Internal Revenue Code Section 367 is intended to prevent the transfer of appreciated property to a foreign corporation and then sell the appreciated property outside the tax jurisdiction of the United States. “Outbound transfers” are treated as taxable exchanges absent an exception.
Estate and Gift Tax Matters - Although estate tax audits are conducted by IRS Estate Tax Attorneys rather than revenue agents, the procedures available to taxpayers in income tax audits are equally applicable to estate and gift tax audits.
3600 American River Drive, Suite 220, Sacramento, CA 95864
Phone 916.550.5363 • Fax 916.550.5059