WASHINGTON — IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) today released its Annual Report for fiscal 2012, highlighting strong gains in enforcement actions and penalties imposed on convicted tax criminals.
The 28-page report summarizes a wide variety of IRS CI activity on a range of tax related issues during the year ending Sept. 30, 2012. CI investigates potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner to foster confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law.
“The key to our successes is perseverance and dedication to working complex financial investigations aimed at stopping tax fraud, identity theft, offshore tax evasion, public corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes,” said Richard Weber, Chief of Criminal Investigation.
Highlights of the report include:
Investigations initiated and prosecution recommendations were both up nearly 9 percent in fiscal 2012 compared to the prior year. Filings of indictments and other charging documents rose 13 percent. Meanwhile, convictions and those sentenced both gained roughly 12 percent from the prior year.
Criminal investigation initiations totaled 5,125 cases in fiscal 2012 while investigations completed were 4,937 – up 5 percent from fiscal 2011. Convictions totaled 2,634 in fiscal 2012 while the conviction rate edged up slightly to 93 percent.
“This annual report showcases some of the many significant cases that were completed by CI during fiscal year 2012 and the many program areas we cover as an organization. These cases are just a few examples of the thousands of investigations initiated by CI last year, as we continue to make our mark as the finest financial investigators in the world,” Weber said.
WASHINGTON — A key deadline of May 15 is facing many tax-exempt organizations that are required by law to file annual reports with the Internal Revenue Service. Organizations will see their federal tax exemptions automatically revoked if they have not filed reports for three consecutive years.
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 mandates that most tax-exempt organizations file annual Form 990-series informational returns or notices with the IRS. Under this law, organizations that fail to file reports for three consecutive years automatically lose their federal tax-exempt status. The law, which went into effect at the beginning of 2007, also imposed a new annual filing requirement on small organizations. Churches and church-related organizations are not required to file annual reports.
Form 990-series information returns and notices are due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an organization’s fiscal year ends. Organizations that need additional time to file may obtain an extension.
Many organizations use the calendar year as their fiscal year, which makes May 15 the deadline for them. Organizations that fail to file annual reports for three consecutive years will see their tax exemptions automatically revoked as of the due date of the third required filing.
Small tax-exempt organizations with average annual receipts of $50,000 or less may file an electronic notice called a Form 990-N (e-Postcard), which asks organizations for a few basic pieces of information. Tax-exempt organizations with average annual receipts above $50,000 must file a Form 990 or 990-EZ, depending on their receipts and assets. Private foundations file a Form 990-PF.
The IRS began to publish the names of organizations identified as having automatically lost their tax-exempt status for failing to file annual reports for three consecutive years. Organizations that have had their exemptions automatically revoked and wish to have that status reinstated must file an application for exemption and pay the appropriate user fee.
The IRS offers an online search tool, Exempt Organizations Select Check, to help users more easily find key information about the federal tax status and filings of certain tax-exempt organizations, including whether organizations have had their federal tax exemptions automatically revoked.
WASHINGTON — The tax administrations from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom announced today a plan to share tax information involving a multitude of trusts and companies holding assets on behalf of residents in jurisdictions throughout the world.
The three nations have each acquired a substantial amount of data revealing extensive use of such entities organized in a number of jurisdictions including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands. The data contains both the identities of the individual owners of these entities, as well as the advisors who assisted in establishing the entity structure.
The IRS, Australian Tax Office and HM Revenue & Customs have been working together to analyze this data and have uncovered information that may be relevant to tax administrations of other jurisdictions. Thus, they have developed a plan for sharing the data, as well as their preliminary analysis, if requested by those other tax administrations.
“This is part of a wider effort by the IRS and other tax administrations to pursue international tax evasion,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “Our cooperative work with the United Kingdom and Australia reflects a bigger goal of leaving no safe haven for people trying to illegally evade taxes.”
There is nothing illegal about holding assets through offshore entities; however, such offshore arrangements are often used to avoid or evade tax liabilities on income represented by the principal or on the income generated by the underlying assets. In addition, advisors may be subject to civil penalties or criminal prosecution for promoting such arrangements as a means to avoid or evade tax liability or circumvent information reporting requirements.
It is expected that this multilateral cooperation and coordinated effort will allow many countries to efficiently process this information and effectively enforce any laws that may have been broken. Increasingly, tax administrations are working together in this way to assist one another in identifying non-compliance with the tax laws.
U.S. taxpayers holding assets through offshore entities are encouraged to review their tax obligations with respect to these holdings, seek professional advice if necessary, and to participate in the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program where appropriate. Failure to do so may result in significant penalties and possibly criminal prosecution.
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced the selection of Joseph H. Grant as commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division and Sheldon Kay as Chief of Appeals.
“Joseph and Shelly are strong leaders who will provide strong leadership and continuity in these critical parts of the IRS,” said Steven T. Miller, Acting IRS Commissioner.
Grant has served as the TE/GE Deputy Director since 2007. As TE/GE Commissioner, Grant will oversee the administration of tax law relating to employee plans, tax-exempt organizations and various government entities. TE/GE serves approximately 3 million organizations.
Grant originally joined the IRS in August 2005 as director of the Employee Plans Rulings & Agreements division. Before that, he was Chief Operating Officer and a Deputy Executive Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Grant also served on the staff of the Oversight and Social Security subcommittees of the House Ways and Means Committee.
In Appeals, Kay will serve as the Chief after serving as the Deputy Chief of Appeals since his return to the IRS in May 2011.
Kay was formerly a member of the Sutherland’s Tax Practice Group, focusing on tax controversy issues, including IRS procedures, dispute resolutions and tax litigation matters. He also served as the IRS District Counsel for the Georgia District where he was the primary legal representative for the District Director, the Director of the Atlanta Service Center, and the Chiefs of Appeals, Collection, Criminal Investigation and Examination Divisions.
The mission of the IRS Appeals organization is to resolve tax controversies, without litigation, on a basis which is fair and impartial to both the government and the taxpayer. Appeals handles and resolves more than 100,000 taxpayer cases a year.
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is accepting applications for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant programs, which will allow some organizations to apply for annual funding for up to three years.
Applications will be accepted only through Grants.gov until May 31, 2013. Previous grant recipients will have the option to apply for up to three years of annual funding which would reduce the amount of paperwork they must complete over the three-year period. This annual funding will also help recipients with budget planning.
Application packages for TCE and VITA are available on Grants.gov. Interested organizations may obtain an electronic copy of the grant application package instructions, Publication 1101 for TCE and Publication 4671 for VITA on the IRS.gov website.
The TCE program was established in 1978 to provide tax counseling and return preparation to persons age 60 or older and to give training and technical assistance to the volunteers who provide free federal income tax assistance to seniors across the nation.
The VITA Grant program was established in 2007 to supplement the VITA program, which was created in 1969. VITA provides underserved communities with free federal income tax filing assistance. The grant program enables VITA to extend services to underserved populations in hard-to-reach urban and non-urban areas, to increase taxpayers’ ability to file returns electronically, to enhance training of volunteers and to improve the accuracy rate of returns prepared at VITA sites.
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced it is accepting applications for the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC). Applications will be accepted through June 14, 2013.
IRSAC’s purpose is to provide an organized public forum for IRS officials and representatives of the public to discuss relevant federal tax administration issues. IRSAC members submit a report to the IRS Commissioner annually at a public meeting in the fall.
IRSAC is comprised of up to 35 members, who are appointed to three-year terms by the Commissioner. Applications are currently being accepted for approximately 11 appointments that will begin in January 2014.
Nominations of qualified individuals may come from individuals or organizations. IRSAC members are drawn from substantially diverse backgrounds. Membership is balanced to include representation from the tax professional community, including but not limited to: tax attorneys, certified public accountants, enrolled agents, appraisers and the business community.
Federally registered lobbyists cannot be members of IRSAC.
Nominations should describe and document the proposed member’s qualification for IRSAC membership, including the applicant’s knowledge of Circular 230 regulations and the applicant’s past or current affiliations, as well as dealings with the particular tax segment or segments of the community that the applicant wishes to represent on the council.
More information, including application forms, are available on the Tax Professionals page on IRS.gov. Questions about the application process can be sent to the following e-mail address: email@example.com.
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released its final report summarizing audit results from the IRS’ colleges and universities study, which began in 2008. This final report describes the agency’s multi-year project on a major segment of tax-exempt organizations.
“The audits identified some significant compliance issues at the colleges and universities examined,” said Lois Lerner, Director, Exempt Organizations division. “Because these issues may well be present elsewhere across the tax-exempt sector, all exempt organizations need to be aware of the importance of accurately reporting unrelated business income and providing appropriate executive compensation.”
The attached final report focuses on two primary areas within the examinations: reporting of unrelated business taxable income, and compensation, including, employment tax and retirement plan issues.
The interim report issued in 2010 focused on results from the questionnaires submitted by tax-exempt colleges and universities.
For most taxpayers, the tax deadline has passed. But planning for next year can start now. The IRS reminds taxpayers that being organized and planning ahead can save time and money in 2014. Here are six things you can do now to make next April 15 easier.
You can find forms and publications at IRS.gov or order them by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
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Each year, the IRS sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. Here are ten things you should know about IRS notices in case one shows up in your mailbox.
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