IRS Scams - Part Two

In my blog article in August 2015, entitled Beware of IRS Tax Scams, I talked about callers claiming to be from the IRS. It was such a large problem that the Internal Revenue Service had issued warnings about the practice. Since then, the IRS has issued other alerts about tax scams. Read More…

Holidays – Family, Friends and Estate Planning

While this blog is primarily about tax issues that I (and hopefully you, the reader,) find interesting, I reserve the right to discuss topics from the other areas in which I practice. In this case, given the season, I wanted to talk about estate planning. The holiday season at the close of the year gives us all a chance to reflect upon, and hopefully share time with, our friends and families. One of the greatest gifts that you can give to those parties and to yourselves is to have an estate plan in place to provide for your families and friends in the event of your passing. While the federal government has removed tax issues from the planning equation except for the largest estate, there is still a need to get this area of your legal life in order.
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Avoiding the Trust Fund Tax Trap

If you own a business, you know that there a numerous debts and obligations that you need to pay each month. Vendors and suppliers need to be paid, so products are available for your customers. Utilities need to be paid so the lights stay on, and the rent or mortgage needs to be paid so the doors can stay open. When things are going well, paying these liabilities is often not a problem. However, when business slows down it becomes necessary to determine which bills get paid and which creditors have to be postponed. Unfortunately, many of my clients do not know that there are certain types of taxes that business owners can be held personally liable for, even if their business is being operated as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company. These taxes are referred to as trust fund taxes. Read More…

Beware of IRS Phone Scams

As a tax professional, a large part of my job involves educating clients. Part of that education is helping clients understand how the IRS and Wisconsin Department of Revenue go about collecting tax debts, and the options available to delinquent taxpayers. So when I recently received my second robocall voice mail message informing me that the IRS was about to file a lawsuit against me and that I needed to call back immediately, I decided to share this information with my readers. While my first reaction was to chuckle and delete the message because I recognized it was a scam, it really is not a laughing matter. I have heard of people who have lost thousands of dollars after receiving one of these calls. Read More…

After Obergefell: Income Taxation of Same-sex Couples in Wisconsin

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, legalizing same-sex marriages across the United States. 576 U.S. ___ (2015). What impact did this have upon the income tax status of same-sex couples in Wisconsin? Nothing actually changed here, as same-sex marriages were already legally recognized in Wisconsin for tax purposes at both the state and federal levels. Read More…

Supreme Court Signals Possible Change to Physical Presence Test for Sales/Use Tax Nexus

On March 3, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in the Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, 575 U.S. ______ (2015). The Direct Marketing Association had filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado in 2013 arguing that state legislation requiring retailers to file reports the Department of Revenue about sales of tangible property to state residents, even if the retailers were not required to collect sales tax from these customers, violated both the United States and Colorado Constitutions. The Supreme Court ruled that the Tax Injunction Act (TIA)(§28 U.S.C. 1341), which states that federal district courts “shall not enjoin, suspend or restrain the assessment, levy or collection of any tax under State law,” did not bar the suit. (§28 U.S.C. 1341.) The required reports were determined to be an information collecting phase of tax administration prior to "assessment, levy or collection", and therefore not subject to the TIA. Read More…

Mid-Year Tax Planning for Individuals and Small Businesses

Given the timing of this inaugural tax blog post, I thought that it would be fitting to discuss tax planning issues that individuals and small businesses should consider now that the April 15th Tax Day has come and gone. So, following the traditions of David Letterman and innumerable other internet sites, I am presenting a numbered list of ideas for you to think about before putting away your tax records for another year. Read More…
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