The Peck Group, LC
  • Comprehensive Tax Law Representation Since 1995

    We handle every aspect of tax law: preparing tax returns, representing clients during audits, resolving IRS and state tax controversies, and creating tax planning strategies for the future.

  • Problems With The IRS Or State Tax

    Our attorneys are committed to providing efficient and effective tax solutions for individuals and businesses in Georgia and nationwide.

  • Planning For The Future

    Our lawyers help individuals and businesses with all aspects of estate and tax planning. We help our clients use proactive strategies to minimize tax implications in the future

  • Changing The Balance Of Power

    Does it feel like the government has all the power? Taxpayers have rights, too. We use our knowledge of tax law to shift the balance of power and ensure that your rights are protected.

  • Tax Solutions … And Peace Of Mind

Atlanta Georgia Tax Law Blog

A few IRS audit trends to be aware of

Did you know the IRS has three kinds of audits? The most common is the correspondence audit, where the agency challenges your return in a letter. The next most common is the office audit, where you are invited to come to the nearest IRS office to defend your taxes. Finally, there is the field audit, where an IRS agent shows up at your doorstep to check on the details of your return.

These are all official IRS practices, but a surprising number of people never respond to audit demands. In fact, according to Accounting Today, taxpayers fail to respond to two-thirds of all correspondence audits. When you don't respond to an audit, you lose by default and the IRS gives you a bill that you have little choice but to pay.

Learn more about taxes and why to work with a professional

When you're dealing with your taxes, it can be a real hassle. Even if you think you have everything right, you may still worry about audits or making mistakes that come back to haunt you years later.

Tax laws are the rules and procedures set by the government (local, state and federal) to calculate how much money you owe. Taxes vary. Some include:

  • Property taxes
  • Excise taxes
  • Luxury taxes
  • Estate taxes
  • Income taxes

Owe payroll taxes? Your business could get an in-person IRS visit

After several years of tight budgets, the IRS recently received a budget increase. This will allow it to reenter geographical areas where it has had to pull most of its physical presence. Staff has been expanding and enforcement efforts are being increased.

One way the IRS hopes to increase tax compliance is by sending revenue officers out to in-person meetings with high-priority taxpayers. These are individuals and businesses with longstanding delinquencies or high-dollar-value accounts.

What factors will get your IRS offer in compromise approved?

An offer in compromise (OIC) is a way to settle IRS tax debt for less than the full amount. It is only available to people who would face significant financial hardship if required to pay the debt; to people who dispute the debt the IRS claims they owe; and to those who can make a good faith argument that it is in the IRS's best interest to compromise on the debt.

You apply for an offer in compromise by filling out Form 656 (Offer in Compromise) and the accompanying form 433-A (for individuals) or 433-B (for businesses). These forms will allow you to lay out an argument that you are not in a position to pay the full amount the IRS says you owe in taxes.

Does geographic location increase your chances of an IRS audit?

If you usually receive a refund, you may not mind filing your federal income tax return at the beginning of every year. Still, the process may not conclude on April 15. On the contrary, you may receive an audit notice, requiring you to address agency concerns. 

Not all Americans have a tax obligation. In fact, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center notes that  76.4 million Americans had either a zero or negative tax bill in 2018. If you do not fall into that group, though, you likely want your tax filing to be incident-free. Unfortunately, your odds of an audit seem to change based on which county you call home. 

What are your rights as a taxpayer?

Dealing with taxes is no fun. If your return has any mistakes, you may find yourself facing refund delays at best and an audit at worst. No one likes going through the auditing process or interacting with the IRS in any other way. However, did you know that you have rights as a taxpayer? Knowing what they are can help you ensure your protection. 

The IRS has compiled a list of your 10 rights. This Taxpayer Bill of Rights includes the following securities:

  1. Privacy: The IRS can only invade your life so much. It must also follow all laws concerning search and seizure and due process. 
  2. Confidentiality: Unless you give permission or the law requires disclosure, the information you give to the IRS must remain confidential. Also, if your employer or tax preparer breaks confidentiality, the person must face legal consequences.
  3. Quality service: The IRS has to treat you professionally and respectfully. You can ask to speak to a supervisor, as well.
  4. Information: Tax law can be confusing, but this is no excuse for the IRS to keep you in the dark. You have a right to clear, accurate information concerning tax requirements and IRS procedures, decisions and outcomes.
  5. Fair system: The IRS needs to be fair in its assessment of your circumstances. You can also request assistance with tax matters.
  6. Correct payment: You only have to pay what you owe, though it may include interest and penalties.
  7. Challenge the IRS: If you disagree with something, you can object it directly by providing the IRS with documentation. The IRS must review your objection and respond to it.
  8. Appeal: You also have permission to appeal IRS decisions, including in court.
  9. Representation:  You do not have to deal with the IRS on your own; you have the right to legal representation.
  10. Finality: The IRS should tell you all deadlines, including how long you have to challenge a decision or how long the IRS has to audit you. 

IRS issues guidance on reporting virtual currency gains

The IRS has been increasingly interested in tax compliance by those who receive income in virtual or cryptocurrencies. According to the agency, income from investments in these currencies are taxed at the appropriate capital gains rate.

That's going to require a lot of paperwork for a virtual currency. In order to calculate the capital gain, you need to know your basis, or what you paid for the investment in the first place. The taxable income is the difference between the basis for a particular investment and the amount you sold that investment for. To be fully compliant, you should be able to produce a basis number for every virtual coin you own.

IRS: It's just more efficient to audit the poor than the wealthy

In April, the nonprofit investigative news service ProPublica revealed that the IRS spends at least as much time auditing the working poor as it does the wealthiest 1% of Americans. On the surface, that seems fair enough. We shouldn't avoid auditing the poor just because they're poor. Neither should we avoid the rich.

Dig a little deeper, though, and it would make a lot more sense to target wealthier people, if the goals are tax compliance and return on investment. After all, a working person's tax return is usually quite simple. There aren't a lot of places to hide errors or evasion.

What happens when you miss an estimated tax payment

An increasing number of Americans have discovered the benefits of self-employment. A recent study found that approximately 16 million Americans enjoy self-employment, which means they must make estimated tax payments throughout the year. 

For other jobs, people receive paychecks with taxes already taken out. Self-employed individuals simply receive payments from an employer with no taxes deducted. While this results in more money in the short-term, it means self-employed workers have remain cognizant of when they must pay taxes. You still have to submit tax returns by April 15th, but you also need to send in payments on April 15th, June 15th, September 15th and January 15th of the following year. It is easy to miss a payment, especially if you just started self-employment. You could face penalties for missing a payment, so here is what you should do in the aftermath. 

Study: $15 trillion held worldwide in tax-evasive shell companies

We've probably all heard about the lengths the U.S. government will go to in order to collect unpaid taxes. This is especially the case when it comes to money held abroad. The U.S. has not only made it mandatory to disclose foreign assets of $50,000 or more, but it has also negotiated treaties with countries all around the world to prevent banking secrecy that allows tax evasion.

Yet a recent study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that, worldwide, $15 trillion -- more than the combined economies of Germany and China -- is being held in shell companies for the purpose of evading taxation.

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The Peck Group, LC
5855 Sandy Springs Circle N.E., Suite 190
Atlanta, GA 30328

Phone: 770-884-6914
Fax: 770-933-2369
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