Check Cashing Store Owner Sees Dead People and Cashes Their Tax Refund Checks

Owner, Junior Jean Baptiste, of a North Miami check cashing store named Surveillance Masters, was convicted of numerous crimes including theft of government funds, or plainly stated he cashed in other peoples’ tax refund checks.

Evidence presented at court showed that from 2009 to 2011, Baptiste knowingly cashed over $11 million in fraudulent tax return checks that had been issued to dead people, disabled people and other individuals that would not typically file tax returns.  His “fee” for cashing these checks was half the amount of the checks.  Baptiste’s trial did not disclose the persons providing the checks, which typically ranged from $1,000 to $9,000 each.

During his arrest, investigators found more than 900 false driver’s licenses, work permits and green cards.

Trial evidence showed that Baptiste used the check-cashing fees to buy a cargo ship, multiple vehicles and the rights to an album of a prominent hip-hop artist.

How To Request Your Own IRS Transcripts

When negotiating a deal with the IRS it is extremely important to have all of the facts.  The IRS knows everything about you and your past filings, so shouldn’t you too?  In all matters that we handle with the IRS, we ALWAYS request the taxpayers, or business’ IRS transcripts.  While we have a special privilege and can access your transcripts more quickly than you may be able to, the IRS has laid out how taxpayers may request copies of their own transcripts: here.

You will be able to request copies of the following documents from the IRS:

  • Tax Return Transcript – shows most line items including your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your original tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as filed, along with any forms and schedules. It doesn’t show changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript usually meets the needs of lending institutions offering mortgages and student loans.
  • Tax Account Transcript – shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after you filed your original return.
  • Record of Account Transcript – combines the tax return and tax account transcripts above into one complete transcript.
  • Wage and Income Transcript – shows data from information returns we receive such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information. Current tax year information may not be complete until July.
  • Verification of Non-filing Letter – provides proof that the IRS has no record of a filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ for the year you requested. It doesn’t indicate whether you were required to file a return for that year.

If you would like our office to conduct a Transcripts Analysis, please contact us today.

Are You Withholding Properly?

If you are a W-2 employee, the IRS Withholding Calculator can help you determine whether you need to give your employer a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate to avoid having too much or too little Federal income tax withheld from your pay.

The IRS tool will also help you fill out the W-4, but cautions that it may not work perfectly for all taxpayers and that you should contact a Tax Professional before changing your withholding.


Employers Face New W-2 Deadline; IRS To Delay Some Refunds

Employers and small businesses have a new January filing deadline for W-2s, the Internal Revenue Service warned, adding that it must also hold some refunds until Feb. 15.

A new federal law accelerates the W-2 filing deadline for employers to Jan. 31. The new law also requires the IRS to hold refunds involving two key refundable tax credits until at least Feb. 15.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in December.

There are also changes in requesting an extension to file the W-2: Only one 30-day extension to file a W-2 is available; this extension is not automatic. If an extension is necessary, a Form 8809 must be filed as soon as possible, but no later than Jan. 31.

The Jan. 31 deadline has long applied to employers furnishing copies of these forms to their employees; that date remains unchanged.

Due to the PATH Act change, the new law requires the IRS to hold the refund for any return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until Feb. 15. By law, the IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the portion related to the EITC or ACTC.

Instructions for filing W-2’s can be found here.

IRS to improve OIC according to reports

The Internal Revenue Service has taken steps to improve the offer in compromise process for both taxpayers and the IRS, but it can still do more, according to a new report.

An OIC is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles a tax liability for a payment of less than the full amount owed. The report, from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), acknowledged that the IRS has made progress in the offer in compromise process since a previous TIGTA report in 2012.

However, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s Annual Report to Congress in 2014, the processing of offers in compromise continues to be one of the most serious problems affecting taxpayers. In our firm’s experience the typical processing time between submission of the OIC and when an Examiner reviews the submission is averaging roughly nine (9) months.

In its new report, TIGTA found that IRS employees did not always complete the initial processing of offers in compromise on a timely basis, nor did they always contact taxpayers by the promised date, or send interim letters when the promised dates were not met. In addition, TIGTA found that 10 of the 92 rejected offer cases in its sample (that is, 11 percent) did not include any documentation that alternative resolutions were discussed with the taxpayer.

The OIC is a powerful tool that unfortunately does not apply to all cases that we handle. Advertisements on television and radio are simply sales tools to get you to call. Be weary of sales persons who promise you results without conducting a thorough review of your IRS transcripts and personal finances.

Contact McCauley Law Office, P.C. today to discuss whether you may qualify for an OIC.

Interesting IRS Historical Fact Of The Month

In 1952, the IRS (which was known at the time as the Bureau of Internal Revenue) had a tax collector position where the employee’s only responsibility was to read newspapers and magazines for stories that might catch people evading paying taxes.

Upon reading an article in the New York Times about a successful “boy wonder” who earned $15 million just a few years out of college, the tax collector reported it as suspicious, and it was discovered that the millionaire did not pay his taxes.  The tax collector employee also shared, “The most helpful snitches are divorced wives.”

Interestingly enough, IRS Agents today still do the same thing. Our Attorneys have had several interactions with Revenue Agents and Revenue Officers whom have made comments about information they discovered, about our clients, on the internet.

If you are dealing with the IRS in any capacity, just remember that they are likely going to run several internet database searches on you.

Beware of charity scams related to the Orlando shooting

As if the horrific recent shooting at an Orlando nightclub wasn’t bad enough, the IRS is now warning of potential scams that aim to take advantage of people’s desire to help the victims and victims’ families. According to the IRS web site, people wishing to make contributions to charitable organizations to help healing and recovery in the wake of the shooting should do their homework ahead of time to make sure the charities to which they’re donating are legitimate.

Some unfortunately seize the opportunity inherent in such national tragedies to solicit contributions and personal information from well-meaning individuals wanting to donate to help ease others’ burdens.This fraudulent activity can’t always be prevented, but doing a bit of research before opening your wallet can help prevent the hassle and heartache that can result from getting caught up in such a scheme.

Can you discharge tax liens in bankruptcy?

There are certain types of tax debt that, under certain circumstances, can be discharged in a bankruptcy filing. However, if a tax lien existed on your property before you filed for bankruptcy, the lien will remain, even if you are no longer required to repay the tax debt in question as a result of the bankruptcy filing. Therefore, you would have to pay off the lien if you wanted to sell the property to which the lien had been attached.

If the IRS fails to file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien before the bankruptcy filing, however, then the lien can be removed from a person’s pre-bankruptcy property, even if the person had exempted that property from their bankruptcy estate. On the other hand, if a person did not include a particular property in a pre-bankruptcy estate, then any liens eventually applied to that property would not be eligible for discharge, even if the IRS failed to file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien.

Offshore tax havens create a “finance curse”

With tax shelters now under scrutiny as a result of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), much of the criticism of offshore accounts has been focused on recouping lost federal tax revenue. But according to a recent article in The Atlantic, offshore tax havens appear to be similarly damaging to the political and economic climate of the places where these shelters operate.

In what is known as “the finance curse,” the increase in wealth generated by a country’s participation as a center of international finance can lead to that country to experience an increase in violence, inequality and political corruption. According to the article, this happens when a country’s financial and political interests become increasingly beholden to foreign elites, often at the expense of the local population.

Bill providing protection against IRS asset seizure advances

A bipartisan bill that would require the IRS to provide evidence of illegal activity before seizing assets has passed the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. Hundreds of taxpayers who have had assets seized between October 2009 and October 2014, when IRS seizure and forfeiture activity in the absence of criminal evidence ceased, will be notified that they are eligible to seek refunds.

The intention of the seizure and forfeiture practice was to ensnare criminals who were making deposits of less than $10,000 at a time to escape bank reporting requirements. But the IRS did not have to prove criminal activity before seizing assets. This led to the IRS freezing bank accounts and taking the property of non-criminal small business owners whose only (non) crime was making habitual bank deposits of less than $10,000.