Posts by Admin

  1. The Vultures are Circling

    • by Admin
    • January 18th, 2016

    Every tax season, and sometimes other times throughout the year, the scammers rear their ugly heads using various methods to gain access to your personal information.  These folks are very clever and may use scare tactics to get you to reveal your social security number, bank accounts, birth date, and passwords.  Remember that the only way the IRS will contact you is through the United States Postal Service.
    It seems the scammers are starting earlier than usual with phishing scams—emailing you using what appears to be an official IRS seal and asking you to enter the IRS site through a link they have provided.  Once you open the email or click on the link, the hacker may gain access to all of your personal information. If you received one of these emails, the IRS recommends you do the following:
    1. Do not replyvulture
    2. Do not open any attachments
    3. Do not click on any of the links (if you did click on a link, go to the IRS site at and visit their “identity protection” page)
    4. Forward the email to the IRS at
    5. Delete the original message
    Another other way scammers may try to contact you is by phone.  They claim to be from the IRS, but odds are they are not.  These creeps especially like to prey on the elderly or foreign residents who fear they will be deported if they don’t comply with the caller’s demands. If you receive one of this calls, the IRS suggests you do the following:
    1. Ask for the presumed IRS employee’s name, badge number, call back number, and ID if available
    2. Call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee who is authorized to call you
    3. If they are an employee, call them back
    4. If they are not an employee, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and to using the subject of IRS phone scam
    Because these frauds know that people are wising up to some of their scams, some are resorting to the USPS and faxes to contact taxpayers.  This will take a little more effort on your part to confirm the letter’s authenticity, because the frauds will often use “real” IRS form letters that are modified for their purposes.  If you get a letter, the IRS suggests:
    1. First search the IRS home site at for the form number you have received
    2. Look for any difference in instructions between the letter your received and the one on the site
    3. If it is legitimate, follow the instructions on the letter
    4. If the letter appears to be fraudulent, or if you are unsure, call 1-800-829-1040
    5. If the letter is not legitimate, , report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and to
    Be vigilant and don’t let these low-lifes catch you off guard.  Once your personal information has been accessed it can take years for you to recover.

  2. Last call for OVDP—maybe

    • by Admin
    • December 29th, 2015

    There is one thing the IRS and we see eye to eye on – taking advantage of one of the IRS’ programs to get in to compliance with your foreign income or asset reporting. It is a “gift” of sorts from the IRS and we’ve been telling you for a few years to jump on it. The IRS is now suggesting you “strongly” consider using one of their recommended paths to come into compliance.

    To us, this gentle reminder from the IRS can only mean one of two things—they’re going to do away with the programs, and stop playing nice, or they are going to step up efforts to make your life a living hell.

    As you likely know the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), the streamlined procedures, and delinquent submissions procedures allow taxpayers who are out of compliance to get back in to compliance and avoid or minimize the potential penalties of continued non-compliance.

    Approximately 54,000 taxpayers have taken advantage of the OVDI, and its successor the OVDP, since 2009, garnering some $8 billion for the IRS. Automatic third-party account reporting began in 2015 under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). This reporting has given the IRS the upper hand—it is now much less likely that foreign accounts will fly under the IRS’s radar.
    Additionally, the Justice Department’s Swiss Bank Program is continuing to reach non-prosecution agreements with Swiss financial institutions that once promoted non-compliance. What is really troublesome is that the IRS is now starting to go after lawyers, accountants, and financial service providers to access their records. If the IRS is successful, the entities and layers between you and your accounts will be useless.

    If you are non-compliant and wait to apply for one of the IRS’ amnesty programs to clear up your tax obligations, and the Foreign Financial Institutions (FFI’s) report you first under FATCA, your civil – and potential criminal – penalties will increase dramatically.

    The IRS has conducted thousands of offshore-related civil audits producing millions of dollars through information obtained from investigations and under the terms of settlements with FFI’s. Criminal charges have led to billions of dollars in criminal fines and restitutions.

    To review the IRS’ amnesty programs, taxpayers with undisclosed income from offshore accounts have the opportunity to voluntarily disclose foreign accounts and get current on tax returns and information reporting obligations. If you wait and the IRS tracks you down later (be assured they will), you will face more severe penalties and possible criminal prosecution.

    The streamlined procedures that began in 2012 accommodate a larger group of taxpayers that have unreported foreign financial accounts, but different situations than the taxpayers that fell in the earlier OVDP. Over 30,000 taxpayers have used the streamlined procedures and are currently in compliance with U.S. tax laws.

    Once again. If you are out of compliance, take advantage of this generous offer from the IRS using only IRS mandated programs. It’s not how you want to spend your money, but it’s better than the inevitable alternative. Contact Esquire Group to guide you through the amnesty process.

  3. Is your income a red flag for the IRS?

    • by Admin
    • December 19th, 2015

    The American Dream—being able to pull yourself up from nothing, work hard, become successful, and earn as much money as you are able to. That’s all fine in theory, but the IRS doesn’t trust that you will share that hard earned money with them. Apparently they believe that if you make over a certain amount you will be more inclined to hide it.

    The IRS was once again “evaluated” by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). More times than not, TIGTA finds issues with how the IRS is performing (or not performing) and often the results are to the taxpayer’s advantage. For example recently it was discovered that the IRS had holes in their security that needed to be patched up to protect taxpayer identity breaches.

    This most recent evaluation however, resulted in recommendations suggesting that the IRS is not working hard enough to go after the high-income taxpayers; those earning $200,000 to $399,000. Although the agency devotes almost 50% of its resources to this segment of taxpayers, the results of the audits apparently aren’t providing the return on investment they hoped for. TIGTA notes the IRS demonstrates inefficiency of allocation resources at $200,000 threshold.

    TIGTA concludes that the more money a taxpayer earns, the odds for non-compliance with tax laws increases due to the complexity of the financial holdings. Maybe. But it is also true that higher income translates to more resources to fight IRS interrogations so it could be a wash in terms of who the IRS wants to go after. Big fish=potentially a big payday for the IRS. Small fish=lots of work for almost guaranteed small change.

    Through its Large Business and International Division LB&I), the IRS established the Global High Wealth (GHW) Industry that digs deeper into the holdings of high-earners by not just examining the individual income tax returns, but also examining the entities that the taxpayers control. It is not clear what the impact of the GHW and two other resources used by the IRS will be since the IRS information systems are not yet sophisticated enough to quantify the audit performance.

    The point is that if you make more than $200K, the IRS is determined to track you down and squeeze every dime it can from you regardless of their cost in time, money, and resources. How can we blame Americans for calling it quits and expatriating to a place that won’t steal them blind?


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