The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR or DOR) recently issued a draft of long-awaiting guidance overhauling DOR’s administrative practices concerning disputed tax audits, refunds, license revocations, and other related matters. The draft guidance, SC Revenue Procedure #20-x, was released January 22, 2020. If finalized, the new Revenue Procedure will apply to all administrative protests and appeals filed with SCDOR on or after the effective date of the Revenue Procedure (presently, January 2020), and including protests and appeals pending as of this date.
A bedrock of IRS administrative practice has been the voluntary disclosure. Where an individual or business has not filed tax returns or believes they may have criminal tax exposure for prior actions, IRS procedures have long-sanctioned a form of “criminal tax amnesty” if the taxpayer voluntarily comes forward before being contacted by the IRS, discloses his tax misdeeds, fully cooperates to correct the back tax issues, and then becomes compliant going forward. In exchange for this “voluntary disclosure”, while criminal tax prosecution may not be recommended, the ...
A bedrock of IRS administrative practice has been the voluntary disclosure. Where an individual or business has not filed tax returns or believes they may have criminal tax exposure for prior actions, IRS procedures have long-sanctioned a form of "criminal tax amnesty" if the taxpayer voluntarily comes forward before being contacted by the IRS, discloses his tax misdeeds, fully cooperates to correct the back tax issues, and then becomes compliant going forward. In exchange for this "voluntary disclosure," while criminal tax prosecution may not be recommended, the taxpayer will ...
Individuals who are the unfortunate subjects of federal criminal tax prosecution face prison terms, probation, fines, restrictions on travel and other punishment. Conviction of felony tax offenses results in certain Constitution rights being lost, such as the right to vote and bear arms.
As part of a conviction for federal criminal tax offenses, an individual will most likely also be sentenced to pay "restitution" to the federal government. Payment of restitution in a criminal tax case is designed to compensate the IRS for the loss caused by the defendant's wrongdoing.
In federal ...
The IRS has the power to seize or “levy” assets, banks accounts, wages and other assets and income of an individual or business to satisfy delinquent taxes. However, the IRS will sometimes levy the wrong assets or income; that is, it will seize assets or income belonging to someone other than the person or business that owes the tax. This happens.
When the IRS wrongfully seizes or levies the assets or income of a person or business that does not owe the tax, this person/business can file a claim for wrongful levy with the IRS and also can sue the IRS civilly to prevent the levy or to have the ...
Taxpayers who disagree with a proposed tax assessment issued by the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR or DOR) may or may not be able reach an agreement at the administrative level. When taxpayers and SCDOR cannot resolve a proposed tax assessment at the administrative level, DOR will issue a Department Determination. A taxpayer can then seek judicial review of the Department Determination by filing a request for a contested case hearing with the South Carolina Administrative Law Court (ALC) within 30 days of the issuance of the Department Determination. This is the only ...
The IRS recently announced it will be shutting down its successful Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) for unreported foreign bank accounts and income. The program will end September 28, 2018. Under the OVDP, first started in 2009, over 50,000 individuals have come forward to report previously unreported foreign bank accounts and income. The IRS reports it has raised over $11 billion in taxes, penalties and interest through the OVDP.
The U.S. income tax system is perhaps the most expansive in the world. U.S. citizens and permanent residents must report their worldwide ...
The IRS investigates criminal violations of federal tax laws, including tax evasion, tax fraud, and not filing tax returns. Many people do not realize that simply not filing a tax return when it is due is a crime under federal law.
The IRS analyzes criminal violations of federal tax laws through its "Criminal Investigation Division," or "CID." CID agents are referred to as "Special Agents."
The CID examines individuals and businesses for potential criminal tax violations. CID receives information about possible criminal tax violations from a broad range of sources, including ...
The United States has a voluntary tax reporting system. Once a tax return is filed, however, the IRS will seek to verify that filed tax returns comply with the tax laws. To achieve this, an IRS audit ("examination") must take place. There are different types of IRS audits.
The most common type of IRS audit is a "correspondence audit" conducted entirely through the mail. Most correspondence audits are initiated by the IRS computer system, which receives income information for individuals reported to the IRS by third parties (e.g., Form W-2 wages/salaries from employers; Form 1099 ...
If an individual or business owes but has not paid federal taxes, the IRS will make efforts to collect these taxes. The IRS will first send a series of notices requesting payment, but if the taxpayer does not respond to the IRS and make arrangements to pay the taxes, the IRS will then begin "enforced collection measures." The most common measures used by the IRS to collect taxes are (1) the "levy" (or garnishment), where the IRS notifies an employer to take taxes out of an employee or a worker's paycheck and send this money to the IRS; and (2) the bank account levy or seizure where the IRS simply ...
Married couples may file a joint federal income tax return together, reporting their joint income and expenses. The benefit of a joint return is that the overall tax rate may often be lower. However, if a joint return is filed, each of the spouses is fully and individually liable for all taxes that are required to be paid.
Married couples may also elect, instead, to separately file their own returns. The downside is the tax rate for each separately-filing spouse may be higher, but each spouse is only liable for his or her own taxes - and not the taxes of the other spouse.
If a joint tax return is ...
Businesses that have employees and pay wages and salaries must withhold federal employee income taxes and the employee's share of federal employment taxes (FICA) from these wages and salaries. The employer must "match" the employee's FICA share, and these three components then become the employer's "federal tax deposit," which the employer must electronically pay to the IRS periodically. The frequency of when federal tax deposits must be made by an employer varies (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc.) depending on the amount of these federal "payroll" taxes that are due.
Where an individual or business owes IRS taxes, Congress has given the IRS a tax lien against all the assets of the taxpayer. The lien covers real estate, homes, furniture, cars, investments, and nearly everything an individual may own. The IRS tax lien also covers all the assets of a business that owes taxes.
The IRS will also record a notice of this tax lien against a taxpayer, typically in the county where deeds are maintained. Once the notice of the tax lien is recorded, most counties publish the lien recording electronically and this information then "goes out to the world." The ...
If an individual or business owes federal taxes and does not have the current ability to pay these taxes, the IRS can consider placing the account into "currently not collectible" (CNC) status. If placed in CNC status, a taxpayer is not required to make a current payment on the unpaid taxes to the IRS, and the IRS will also not "levy" or "garnish" wages or seize bank accounts while an account is in CNC status.
Before the IRS will consider placing a taxpayer's account into CNC status, the individual or business must be up-to-date or "current" with the filing of their required tax returns, and ...
If an individual or business owes federal taxes and does not have the current ability to pay these taxes, the IRS can "seller-finance" and offer a payment plan with the taxpayer. The primary benefit of a payment plan is that it provides a clear agreement with the IRS on how much is to be paid and over what time period. Also, and as an inducement to enter into a payment plan with the IRS, the IRS will reduce the amount of penalties that will be due. The IRS will not "levy" or "garnish" wages or seize bank accounts while a payment plan is in effect.
Before the IRS will consider a payment plan for back ...
The United States has a voluntary income tax reporting system. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and businesses here must annually file income tax returns with the IRS, reporting their "worldwide income," deductions, and their "net taxable income," and pay income taxes to the IRS based on this amount. The rate of tax is "progressive;" that is, it increases as taxable income goes up. There is a minimum level of income for which an annual tax return is not required to be filed and which varies on filing status. For example, in 2016 for a single (unmarried) taxpayer, the individual must ...
Many individuals and businesses owe taxes to the IRS, or they have not filed their tax returns or both. While the IRS may be the most powerful creditor in the world, there are solutions. This is Part I of a series addressing the most common issues faced by taxpayers owing taxes, and what can be done. The following is a list of each blog topic, and which also includes topics on IRS Tax Audits, and also IRS Criminal Tax Investigations, as this is where tax debts with the IRS can often arise as well:
- Unfiled Tax Returns (Part II)
- Payment Plans (Part III)
- Currently Not Collectible Status (Part IV)
All U.S. citizens and permanent residents are required to annually file a U.S. income tax return reporting their worldwide income from all sources. Additionally, U.S. citizens and permanent who have an interest in or signatory authority over foreign bank and financial accounts holding $10,000 or more at any time during the year must independently identify and report these interests to the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN"). This annual disclosure must be filed electronically using Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial ...
Once the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) completes an audit of a taxpayer, if there are any proposed adjustments and additional taxes SCDOR seeks, it will issue to the taxpayer a proposed notice of assessment with an examination report. A taxpayer then has 90 days to administratively protest/appeal the proposed assessment within SCDOR.
SCDOR formerly had an "appeals" audit function. This appeals audit function was abolished by SCDOR, however, and appeals/protests of proposed audit assessments now simply go back to the auditor, and to the auditor's supervisor.
If a ...
Residents of South Carolina are required to file an income tax return, even if they do not earn income in the state. A resident is an individual who is "domiciled" in South Carolina. South Carolina law does not define domicile. The South Carolina Administrative Law Court (ALC) in a recent decision, however, has analyzed whether a taxpayer was domiciled in South Carolina for purposes of our state income tax. Floyd v. S.C. Dept. of Rev., Admin. Law Ct., Dkt. No. 15-ALJ-17-0458-CC (February 11, 2016).
The taxpayer was a native of Spartanburg, South Carolina. She lived in Oxford ...
South Carolina requires submission of a Form SC2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, in order for an attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent to represent a taxpayer administratively before the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR). This includes representation in examinations, audits, appeals, tax collection, and other administrative tax matters.
The Form SC2848 has important differences from its current IRS counterpart, including:
- In the Form SC2848 is the notification that "All Notices and Communications will be sent to the taxpayer only.", while the ...
Many businesses are purchased in South Carolina every year. Many of these same businesses, however, have high worker unemployment claims, and are paying high South Carolina Unemployment Insurance taxes to the state to fund these claims.
South Carolina pays unemployment benefits to people that are out of work. The state funds these benefits through a special tax on employers in the state - the South Carolina Unemployment Insurance Tax, or "UI Tax." The more unemployment claims that are filed with the state and related to an employer, the higher the employer's UI Tax rate will be.
Where a ...
The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) administers the state's tax laws. Like the IRS, SCDOR audits tax returns, but only certain returns subject to South Carolina tax, such as South Carolina income tax returns, sales and use tax returns, and certain property tax returns.
Depending on the complexity of the issues being audited or examined by SCDOR, SCDOR audits can be conducted through correspondence, or through a field audit.
SCDOR field audits are generally conducted by "auditors." Each auditor has an immediate audit supervisor, and audit supervisors report to a ...
The South Carolina Department of Revenue (formerly the South Carolina Tax Commission) is the state's tax agency. Established as the Tax Commission in 1915, SCDOR came into existence in 1993, in connection with a state restructuring act.
SCDOR is organized centrally, with its headquarters in Columbia, and regional "Service Centers" and local field offices throughout the state. All state tax returns are filed and processed by SCDOR in Columbia.
SCDOR is led by a Director, Rick Reames, and an Executive Management Team consisting of Mont Alexander (Deputy Director of Field ...
South Carolina employers must pay a variety of taxes on employee payroll, including federal social security taxes (FICA and FUTA), and South Carolina employee income withholding taxes. While the employer is able to collect some of these taxes from the employee's wages, other taxes (like the employer matching portion of FICA and FUTA) must come out of the employer's pocket.
Another tax that South Carolina employers must pay is the state Unemployment Insurance Tax, or "UI Tax". All employers that pay wages in South Carolina must file a quarterly report with the South Carolina ...
South Carolina generally follows federal law for purposes of the assessment of tax, including time limits on which taxes may be assessed (statutes of limitation). The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) generally has 36 months from the date an original return was filed or due to be filed (whichever is later) in which to assess additional taxes. S.C. Code Ann. § 12-54-85(A). An important exception concerns substantial understatements of tax, however.
For federal purposes, an extended 6-year statute of limitations exists for substantial omissions of income - where a ...
The South Carolina General Assembly approved a law on June 4, 2015 allowing the South Carolina Department of Revenue to offer an amnesty program to taxpayers in the state who have not filed tax returns and/or owe state taxes. The law becomes effective on the Governor's signature. Adoption of the law was advocated by the Department of Revenue.
The new law, South Carolina Code Section 12-47-397, is designed to encourage voluntary compliance and payment of taxes owed to the State. The law authorizes the South Carolina Department of Revenue to establish an amnesty program and to designate ...
If a corporate taxpayer receives a statutory notice of deficiency (i.e. a "90-day letter") from the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), one of its options is to petition the United States Tax Court for a redetermination of the proposed deficiency. A statutory notice of deficiency tells a taxpayer the IRS has determined that for one reason or another, the taxpayer owes more tax than what they previously reported. Under the Internal Revenue Code ("IRC"), the taxpayer may file a petition with the Tax Court for a redetermination of the deficiency within 90 days (or 150 days if addressed to a ...
South Carolina employers are required to withhold income taxes from employee wages, and to pay these withheld taxes to the South Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR). South Carolina businesses are also required to pay sales taxes to DOR on sales of goods to their customers, and the business can collect the sales tax from the customer. When an employer or business fails to pay employee tax withholdings or collected sales taxes to DOR, individual(s) associated with the business may be held personally liable for these unpaid taxes as a "responsible party". These responsible party taxes ...
The United States Tax Court recently determined the value of a conservation easement using a subdivision development method in the case of Schmidt v. Commissioner, TC Memo 2014-159. The case involved a taxpayer who purchased a 40-acre parcel of vacant land in May 2000 for $525,000, with the intention of subdividing and developing it. The taxpayer began the process of obtaining the required permits and approvals to develop the property. The facts indicated that the taxpayer would receive all required permits and approvals to develop the property, but the taxpayer ultimately granted ...
The South Carolina Department of Revenue ("DOR") is the state agency charged with collecting most South Carolina taxes, including income taxes, sales and use taxes, and withholding taxes. If a taxpayer fails to pay an assessed tax liability, DOR may file a tax lien against a taxpayer, with the lien notice being filed in one or more of the county register of deeds offices. The filing of the lien notice makes the delinquent tax liability a matter of public record.
Prior to March 1, 2014, when a taxpayer fully paid the amount secured by a filed tax lien, DOR would file a lien satisfaction with the ...
A federal district court has ruled that the members of an accounting firm were each personally liable for the trust fund portion of the unpaid federal employment taxes of their client.
Buddy Light Accounting & Tax Services provided accounting and payroll services to their client, GC Affordable Dining, Inc., which included managing payroll and accounts payable, making federal tax deposits, issuing payroll checks to employees, and preparation of federal employment tax returns (Form 941) for the client. When the client began experiencing financial difficulties, it failed to make ...
In what can only be considered a "game-changer" for South Carolina property owners, the South Carolina Court of Appeals in Taylor v. Aiken County Assessor, ___ S.E.2d ___, 2013 WL 1223185 (S.C. Ct. App., March 27, 2013) has recently ruled that a current owner of property can "look back" and challenge the county assessed value of real estate not owned in the prior year.
For over half a century, tax practitioners in South Carolina have assumed, without much comment, that South Carolina law imposed responsibility to pay current property taxes on the owner of property as of December 31st of ...
The IRS has long been aware of U.S. taxpayers living overseas who have not filed federal income tax returns or Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts ("FBARs"). Earlier this year, the IRS announced the reopening of its successful Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program ("OVDP") allowing individuals with unreported foreign bank account income to come forward and report this income, and to pay the related tax, interest and certain reduced civil penalties, but without criminal prosecution. The IRS has now announced a new alternative compliance procedure designed to provide ...
The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Kaufman v. Shulman, Docket No. 11-2017P-01A (1st Cir., July 19, 2012), reversed a Tax Court decision siding with the IRS which had disallowed a couple's conservation easement deduction. The Tax Court had disallowed the deduction because a provision in a subordination agreement with the couple's lender violated the Treasury Regulations' "extinguishment provision". The Court of Appeals reversed the Tax Court, finding that the Tax Court and IRS interpretation of this regulation was unreasonably restrictive and inconsistent with ...
Landowners may be allowed a federal income tax deduction for the contribution of a conservation easement restricting donated property. A qualified conservation contribution is a donation of a qualified real property interest to a qualified organization which is exclusively used for conservation purposes. The conservation easement must also be protected and the restrictions on the use of the property must be granted in perpetuity. The contribution must be made to governmental units, churches, schools, hospitals, or Section 501(c)(3) public charities and supporting ...
On May 31, 2012 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the case of Starnes v. Commissioner, upholding a decision of the United States Tax Court which determined that the former shareholders of a corporation were not liable as transferees for unpaid corporate income taxes. The opinion is the first appellate level decision addressing the proper legal standard to be applied in order to determine if a person is liable as a transferee under § 6901 of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Starnes case involved what the IRS characterizes as an "intermediary transaction tax ...
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in the recent case of Watson, P.C. v. US, 109 AFTR 2d 2012-1059, 668 F. 3d 1008 affirming the district court below, held that an S-corporation shareholder's 2002 and 2003 reported salaries were unreasonably low, and reclassified dividends paid by the corporation to the shareholder as additional salary, thus subjecting that income to additional employment taxation under the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA).
Generally, earnings from self-employment and employee wages are subject to withholding for Social Security and Medicare ...
U.S. citizens that work or receive income from abroad are subject to U.S. income taxes on foreign income. The tax is applicable regardless of where U.S. citizens reside. U.S. taxpayers receiving foreign income must file an income tax return with the IRS reporting all foreign income and must pay the reported U.S. tax liability. U.S. taxpayers may be eligible for a partial foreign income exclusion as well as a housing cost exclusion. Foreign earned income is defined to include wages, salaries, or professional fees, and other amounts received as compensation for personal services ...
The IRS announced an important settlement program on September 21, 2011 where the IRS will now give many employers substantial tax relief for treating employees as "independent contractors". Details of the settlement program were provided in Announcement 2011-64, which will officially be published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin 2011-41, to be issued October 11, 2011.
Whether a worker is performing services as an employee or independent contractor depends on the facts and circumstances and is generally determined under a multiple factor common law test focusing on whether the ...
This post was co-authored by Adam Landy and Erik Doerring.
On July 5, 2011, the United States Tax Court abated penalties assessed by the IRS against a business taxpayer for failure to pay its employment taxes. The Tax Court agreed with the taxpayer that it had shown reasonable cause. In Custom Stairs & Trim Ltd. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2011-155, the taxpayer, Custom Stairs and Trim Ltd. had a history of filing its IRS Form 941 timely and making timely employment tax deposits. Beginning in 2005 and continuing through 2008, however, Custom Stairs began experiencing financial hardship ...
When spouses file a joint income tax return each is jointly and severally liable not only for the reported tax liability, but also for any additional taxes, penalties and interest later claimed by the IRS as due. A spouse can request relief from this joint liability by filing a request for innocent spouse relief with the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS states that an innocent spouse request must be filed within two years after the date initial collection activities for the unpaid taxes have begun. The United States Tax Court has repeatedly disagreed with the IRS, however, ruling in ...
The "South Carolina Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act of 2004" requires the South Carolina Department of Revenue (DOR) to review its regulations every five years to ensure that regulations do not place any unnecessary burdens on small businesses. Another provision of South Carolina law requires DOR to review its regulations every five years to determine if they should be retained, amended or repealed. At the conclusion of the review process DOR prepares a report and provides it to the South Carolina Small Business Regulatory Review Committee and the South Carolina Code ...
- Changes in Tax Rates for 2023
- South Carolina Department of Revenue Issues Draft Guidelines for the Use of Transportation Tax Revenues
- 2021 Update for Rollback Taxes in South Carolina
- South Carolina Business License Reforms Go Into Effect January 1, 2022
- The Death of S Corporations?
- Summary of Proposed 2021 Federal Tax Law Changes
- South Carolina Department of Revenue Announces Temporary Relief For State Tax Nexus and Employer Tax Withholding Requirements
- South Carolina Joins Other States and Adopts Federal State and Local Tax Deduction Cap Workaround
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