The U.S. Department of Transportation recently revised the SIFL rates that are used to value an employee’s personal use of a company aircraft, as required by the Internal Revenue Code Section 61 and the Federal Tax Regulations Section 1.61-21(g). The Department announced that the following rates will apply for the 6-month period January 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017:
As party goers rang in 2017 this past holiday weekend, owners of Bitcoins had additional reason to celebrate as the value of the digital currency soared past $1,000 USD on Monday. The surge in Bitcoin price, up from just $200 USD in January 2015, may provide additional fodder for the IRS, who has its crosshairs set on Bitcoin users who do not properly report their income related to the buying, selling, and/or exchanging of the digital currency.
House and White House negotiators have agreed to two provisions of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, which may provide an incentive for business aircraft owners. Under the act, which is expected to pass Congress and be signed by the President, “bonus deprecation” is extended and the “expensing” provisions of the Internal Revenue Code are made permanent.
On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed legislation authorizing the federal government to revoke, deny, or limit passports for individuals with a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” The law defines “seriously delinquent tax debt” as owing the IRS more than $50,000 in tax, penalties, and interest. The measure, slipped into the enormous–more than 1,300 pages–highway funding bill [Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“Fast Act”)], gives the State Department the authority to revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the IRS certifies as owing more than $50,000 in tax debt. Taxpayers with current installment agreements with the IRS, whereby they have agreed to pay their tax debt over time, are exempted from the law.
A recent New York Times article contained anecdotes of several taxpayers having their bank accounts seized by the IRS even though they had not been convicted of any crimes. The article leaves the reader with the impression that taxpayers are helpless to defend against such action. While the New York Times article accurately conveys how traumatic such seizures can be for those involved—Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo, who was forced to delay his daughter’s college education for a year; and Carole Hinders, whose 40 year old cash-only Mexican restaurant hangs in the balance—it is important to understand that these citizens have certain rights after a seizure occurs. While the IRS can seize assets without a court of law actually finding a taxpayer guilty of a crime, procedural safeguards exist to ensure that a taxpayer is not subjected to an unjust forfeiture by the federal government.