Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Reporter Central to the Panama Papers Leak Dies in a Malta Car Bomb Attack

We previously posted on December 1, 2016 Panama Papers - Global Effects Thus Far & Continuing Impact  where we discussed that on April 4, 2016 we initially posted Huge Leak From the Panamanian Law Firm Mossack Fonseca! discussing that the offshore planning world was set on fire with the news that 11 million documents were leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. 

Then Fast-forward 8 months later to December 1, 2016 and the investigation has produced an almost daily drumbeat of regulatory moves, follow-up stories and calls by politicians and activists for more action to combat offshore financial secrecy and ICIJ recently posted Panama Papers Have Had Historic Global Effects — and the Impacts Keep Coming where they cover the following repercussions:                   
  • At least 150 inquiries, audits or investigations into Panama Papers revelations have been announced in 79 countries around the world
  • An estimated $135 billion was wiped off the value of nearly 400 companies after the Panama Papers
  • Governments are investigating more than 6,500 taxpayers and companies, and have recouped at least $110 million so far in unpaid taxes or asset seizures
  • Nine Mossack Fonseca offices have shuttered around the world, and the law firm has been fined close to half a million dollars.
Now the Panama Papers has taken a Human Toll!

“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists,” Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is also an investigative reporter, wrote in a moving and at times graphic Facebook post.

“But she was also targeted because she was the only person doing so. This is what happens when the institutions of the state are incapacitated: the last person left standing is often a journalist. Which makes her the first person left dead.”
Dutch forensic experts and a team from the FBI were due to arrive in Malta to help police in the EU’s smallest state investigate the killing of Caruana Galizia, who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption on the island.  
Do You Have Undeclared Foreign Income? 

 Want to Know if the OVDP Program is Right for You?

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Marini& Associates, P.A.  
for a FREE Tax Consultation
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243


Friday, October 13, 2017

What Happened to the IRS OVDP Website?

Where you represent as many taxpayers as we do in relation to cleaning up their previously undeclared offshore investments and bank accounts, your are on the IRS' website daily to review the current elements required by the IRS to qualify for an OVDP filing or an OVDP streamline filing. (See 

You can imagine my surprise when my desktop link to each relevant IRS OVDP page, that I've been using for the last 8 years no longer worked.
The IRS has changed its entire website to be more user-friendly, with the goal of allowing individuals to access the IRS' website and handle their tax liabilities individually like they currently do with their bank account. This is described as IRS Future State.  We previously discussed this in our blog post Mid-Year National Tax Advocate's Report is Wary of IRS' “Future State.”

According to the IRS "Within our tight budget constraints, the IRS has also continued to analyze and develop plans for improving how the agency can fulfill its mission in the future... In requesting adequate resources to allow the IRS to improve taxpayer service, it is important to point out that our goal is not to fund today’s staff functions at historically high levels.

We need to be, and are, looking forward to a new, improved way of doing business that involves a more robust online taxpayer experience. This is driven, in part, by business imperatives; when it costs between $40 and $60 to interact with a taxpayer in person, and less than $1 to interact online, we must reexamine how we provide the best possible taxpayer experience, in response to taxpayer expectations and demands.

So where can you the Tax Advisor now find the necessary links to determine what the IRS' current requirements for OVDP filing or an OVDP streamline filing are, as well as the requirements for late filed information return?

Below we have provided the new links to the following replacement pages:
  1. 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program
  2. Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Submission Requirements
  3. How to Make an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure
  4. Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures
  5. Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures and
  6. Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures

Remember that the IRS Website Nor its FAQs are Authority for Request for Waiver of Penalties or other
Technical Positions taken at IRS Appeals or in Tax Court!

However, as a practice point, you should also remember to print out the current IRS screen describing the procedure which are undertaking for a particular client when making one of the above-mentioned filings. This way you can prove the list of IRS requirements at the time you made the filing, as these requirements are constantly changing, which will allow you to prove that you fulfilled the requirements at the time you filed on behalf of your client.

Do You or Your Client Have Undeclared Foreign Income?

 Want to Know if Which OVDP Program is Right for You?

Contact the Tax Lawyers at 
Marini& Associates, P.A.  
for a FREE Tax Consultation
Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888) 882-9243

Friday, October 6, 2017

Treasury to Currently Eliminate 8 Tax Regulations Including Discounting Restrictions on Family Business Transfers

The U.S. Department of the Treasury  posted on October 4, 2017 that it would amend or completely do away with eight tax regulations issued under the Obama administration, including rules regarding corporate debt and transfers of estates, as part of an effort to simplify the tax code.

Treasury also announced that it continues to work to identify additional regulations for modification or repeal by evaluating significant regulations issued recently and initiating a comprehensive review of all regulations, regardless of when they were issued.

The Comprehensive Review has Already Identified Over 200 Regulations that Treasury Believes Should be Repealed,
 Which Will Begin in the Fourth Quarter of 2017.

The Treasury report identifies the following regulations to consider for partial revocation: 
  • Final Regulations under Section 7602 on the Participation of a Person Described in Section 6103(n) in a Summons Interview. Under the proposed changes to this regulation that Treasury is considering, attorneys who are private contractors would be prohibited from assisting the IRS in the auditing of taxpayers, including in the interview process. A revised regulation would continue to allow outside subject-matter experts to participate in summons proceedings. 
  • Regulations under Section 752 on Liabilities Recognized as Recourse Partnership Liabilities. Treasury and the IRS currently believe that the temporary regulations relating to disguised sales should be proposed for revocation and the prior regulations reinstated. Treasury and IRS will continue to study the issue and consider comments related to bottom-dollar guarantees.
The Treasury report identified the following regulations to consider for substantial revision:
  • Temporary Regulations under Section 337(d) on Certain Transfers of Property to Regulated Investment Companies and Real Estate Investment Trusts. Treasury and the IRS plan to propose to replace the temporary regulations with revised regulations designed to narrow their application.
  • Final Regulations under Section 367 on the Treatment of Certain Transfers of Property to Foreign Corporations. These regulations, which eliminate the ability to transfer certain property to foreign corporations without immediate or future U.S. tax, address issues that could also be addressed as Treasury continues to work with Congress on fundamental tax reform. In order to protect the U.S. tax base in the meantime, Treasury plans to continue to implement these regulations. However, Treasury and the IRS also plan to develop exceptions to the regulations. 
  • Final Regulations under Section 987 on Income and Currency Gain or Loss With Respect to a Section 987 Qualified Business Unit. These regulations pertain to foreign currency translations and other foreign currency transactions, and Treasury plans to propose substantial revisions. Treasury plans to immediately announce relief allowing taxpayers to postpone the application of these rules.  Treasury plans to propose changes to further simplify the regulation, and also plans to consider more fundamental changes that might be implemented to address taxpayer concerns.  
The planned actions include revoking regulations under section 385 of the tax code that recharacterizes certain corporate debt as equity and replacing them with streamlined documentation rules and withdrawing proposed estate transfer rules under section 2704 intended to prevent the undervaluation of transferred interests in corporations and partnerships for estate tax purposes, according to the Treasury.

The eight regulations were initially flagged as in need of reform in a report issued in July.

In addition, later this year Treasury will begin repealing later more than 200 regulations that it has identified as adding to the burden of the tax code, the department said.

“This is only the beginning of our efforts to reduce the burden of tax regulations,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
Experience Tax Advice...
Now Even More Valuable! 

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Marini & Associates, P.A.
for a FREE Tax Consultation
Contact US or
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243). 





Thursday, October 5, 2017

OMG! Catholic Priest Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion and Bank Fraud

A priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose was sentenced to 36 months in prison, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California.

According to documents and information provided to the court, from 2008 through 2011, Hien Minh Nguyen stole money that his parishioners donated to the Diocese of San Jose through cash and checks made as offerings during religious services.  He deposited such checks into his personal bank account and used the funds for his benefit.  He also wrote checks drawn on church business accounts to pay for personal expenses.  Nguyen evaded paying income taxes on the money he stole, concealing his embezzlement from his return preparer. 
The court found that he embezzled $ 1,449,365 from the Catholic Church, and evaded $ 582,453 in individual income taxes that were due and owing to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  
In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman ordered Nguyen to serve three years of supervised release and to pay a total of $1,883,883 in restitution, including $434,518 to the IRS.  Nguyen previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was convicted of bank fraud following a bench trial. 
Have a Tax Problem?
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Marini & Associates, P.A.
 for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact US at or
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Automated Substitute for Return (ASFR) Program Suspended!

The IRS has paused selection of new cases for its automated substitute for return (ASFR) program because of resource constraints, the agency confirmed to Tax Analysts September 27, 2017

“Like many operations across the IRS, work on the ASFR program has been affected by resource limitations,” the IRS statement said. “These resource constraints have forced us to make difficult decisions, even on programs that provide clear benefits to tax administration.”

The IRS said it is continuing to work on active ASFR cases and ASFR reconsiderations. “In addition, we are committed to taking many actions in 2018 to improve methods of allocating nonfiler cases across our potential compliance treatment streams, and this includes the ASFR program,” it stated.

The IRS statement partially confirms a September 26 post on the Procedurally Taxing blog reporting that a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration official had announced suspension of the ASFR program. The post was authored by Carlton M. Smith, a retired professor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

The ASFR program produces automatic tax return filings for individuals whose income reported to the IRS indicates a responsibility to file. The system calculates payments and liabilities, and it produces a letter to the taxpayer with the result.

The IRS produced 184,776 ASFRs in fiscal 2015,
according to National Taxpayer Advocate
Nina Olson’s 2016 annual report to Congress.

The IRS said in its statement that the goal of its nonfiler strategy “will be identifying productive nonfiler work that maximizes cases worked while minimizing staff resources and promoting continued filing compliance through programs built to encourage voluntary taxpayer filing and payment.”

Olson told Tax Analysts that she hopes the IRS will use the ASFR case selection pause as an opportunity to address some of the program’s deficiencies.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service declared the ASFR program one of its “Most Serious Problems” in its 2015 annual report to Congress, complaining that the program’s case selection criteria imposed undue burdens on taxpayers and created extra work for the IRS.

Smith said the ASFR program holds taxpayers whose income exceeds a specific threshold to their obligation to file a tax return, but he wondered whether ending the program would save more money than it produces. “I can’t say how many dollars of IRS employee time generates how much revenue out of this program,” he said.

Now once again taxpayers can file the delinquent return(s), then wait 2 years to have them discharged in bankruptcy; as the prohibition against discharging ASFRs in bankruptcy is no longer relevant!

Have a Tax Problem?
Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.
 for a FREE Tax Consultation Contact US at or
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Former Fla. Rep. Gets Prison Time For Skipping Tax Returns

According to Law360, a Florida federal judge sentenced former state Rep. Erik Fresen to 60 days in prison on Friday for failing to file seven years' worth of tax returns while serving as a legislator.

In a hearing in Miami, U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola ordered Fresen to serve 60 days in prison in four 15-day segments, plus one year of probation, according to Fresen's attorney, Jeffrey Neiman of Marcus Neiman & Rashbaum LLP.

Fresen pled guilty in April to not filing his tax return in 2011, when he and his wife made a combined $270,000. Taxes were withheld from his $150,000 income from a private company and his nearly $29,000 legislator's income, but he failed to report other money he earned as a consultant.

But in his plea agreement, prosecutors revealed Fresen had failed to file returns from 2007 through 2013 and owed $214,766 in back taxes. He agreed to fully cooperate with the IRS in its investigation of his income tax liability from 2007 through 2016, according to the agreement.

Fresen had faced up to a year in prison. Prosecutors requested a sentence of at least six months' imprisonment.

The seven-year period when Fresen failed to file tax returns overlaps with his service in the Florida House of Representatives, in which he was a member from 2008 until 2016.

The case is U.S. v. Fresen, case number 1:17-cr-20267, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Have Un Filed Tax Returns?

  Want To Avoid Going to Jail? 
 Contact the Tax Lawyers at
Marini & Associates, P.A.

for a FREE Tax Consultation
Contact US or
or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).