Victims of recent severe storms and flooding in numerous states have more time to make tax payments and file returns if they are affected taxpayers in counties that have been designated as federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance. Certain other time-sensitive acts also are postponed. The IRS has recently announced on its website that additional areas in Virginia have been designated as federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance.
When you owe money to the IRS, penalties and interest can add up, and eventually, the IRS can collect the money you owe with forced collection actions such as liens, levies, wage garnishments and asset seizures. If you owe back taxes, it’s best to pay the IRS as soon as possible or work out a suitable payment arrangement. Several different payment arrangements are available if you qualify (for example, the Offer in Compromise, Installment Agreement and Currently Non-Collectible Status), and by far the most common of these is the Installment Agreement.
When you owe money to the IRS, penalties and interest can add up, and eventually, the IRS can collect the money you owe with forced collection actions such as liens, levies, wage garnishments and asset seizures. It’s best to pay the IRS as soon as possible or work out a payment arrangement with the IRS. Several collection alternatives are available if you qualify.
Despite the current estate tax laws which have eliminated the estate tax for the vast majority of people, one of the most popular estate tax planning vehicles (the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust “ILIT”) still remains a corner piece of many estate plans. Few people realize all the benefits of an ILIT, and assume that without an estate tax liability, the ILIT has become obsolete – untrue.
This is the unfortunate case of John Spottiswood and Nancy Miyasaki, a married couple seeking an abatement and refund of penalties they paid for late filing their return and late payment their 2012 income taxes. While this decision coming out of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will make all taxpayers a little nervous, it should scare the bejeezus out of tax return preparers. It serves as an example of how liability for tax return preparation and filing in general, has subtly shifted from taxpayers to the preparers with the proliferation of electronic tax return filing.
A number of surveys over the last few years report that between 55% and 70% of adults in the United States don’t have an estate plan or have a plan that is outdated. The reasons given for their failure to plan and/or update their estate planning documents are myriad, and include, 1) I don’t have the time, 2) my estate isn’t large enough to worry about, 3) planning is too expensive, 4) I don’t like to think about my death and, my favorite, 5) there’s no estate tax so I don’t need an estate plan. Brilliant.
As you might expect, I receive a ton of questions every day about how the new tax law is going to affect individual, business, trust and estate planning. And, as you might expect, my answer is always quite lawyerly - it depends.