Your Stuff is Our Stuff Now: An Overview of Civil and Criminal Asset Forfeiture

The law sometimes has a way of giving deceptively fancy names to fairly simple concepts. Asset forfeiture is a great example of this. It is a tool of law enforcement to further penalize those who have been enriched through illegal activity, but it all really boils down to: The government can take your stuff by arguing that you got it through the illegal activity. The Basics Asset forfeiture is a punishment Read More

Understanding the Federal Trust Fund Recovery Penalty or TRFP

Anyone who operates a business that employs people knows the reality of dealing with payroll taxes. In the IRS’s version of this story, employers are responsible actors who dutifully withhold taxes, like Medicare and income taxes, from their employees’ paychecks before paying the employee. Then, the employer promptly (and cheerfully?) remits the withheld taxes to the IRS without delay or drama. Another key factor in Read More

What are the Possible Penalties for a Charge of Healthcare Fraud and Abuse?

With the rising cost of healthcare, it should come as no surprise that fraud and abuse are significant problems. The government has a vested interest in rooting out this fraud since it runs one of the largest healthcare insurance companies in the country, providing healthcare to 74 million individuals. You know it as Medicaid. Private insurers are just as attuned to fraud and abuse because they take extra care of Read More

4 Benefits of Participating in the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program

For as connected as our world has become, it is still possible for one hand (i.e. the IRS) not to know what another hand (i.e. your offshore account) is doing. However, this scenario is becoming less and less common, particularly since the enactment of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the signing of numerous intragovernmental agreements between the United States and other countries. To be clear, Read More

5 Things to Keep in Mind if You’re Being Audited by the IRS

You have received the dreaded audit notice from the IRS. Before you enter full-blown panic, take a deep breath and read the following tips to get you through the process.   1) Remember it’s not personal. One of your first reactions to an audit notice may very well be to take offense. Why am I being audited? My shady neighbor down the street is way more deserving! Just remember, it’s not personal. The IRS knows you Read More

4 IRS Myths, Uncovered

Many myths and horror stories have been spun about the IRS. It is to be expected given that every single American will interact with the agency in some way at some point (or many points) in their life. While the IRS sometimes seems to work in a fog of mystery, we can reliably bust at least four IRS-related myths. 1) Deductions are the way to an auditor’s heart. It’s not surprising that audits play a huge role in Read More

An Overview of Money Laundering

For as long as there has been money, there has been some form of money laundering. Essentially, money laundering is the process whereby “dirty” money (i.e. money that should be going to someone or somewhere else) is actually hidden elsewhere, sometimes in investments or other places so that it cannot be found. Over 4,000 years ago, Chinese merchants would hide their money from their rulers by investing it in Read More

5 Tips and Tricks on How to Keep Your Taxes Organized

You have emerged from the tax fog of April and the mad rush to get everything filed with the IRS by the ominous deadline of April 15 (give or take). In that mad rush, you promised yourself that next year will be different. Next year you will be organized in your tax preparation so that your home will not look like a paper bomb went off and you will not need to beg and plead with the mailman to wait another five Read More

Understanding the Ruckus Behind Racketeering

If you’ve ever found yourself grousing that a fee or a cost is a racket, then congratulations—you have just accused the seller of racketeering. Racketeering is the process of conducting a racket. A racket is a criminal enterprise whereby victims are made to pay for solutions to problems that do not exist or that will not be put into effect. The diversity of rackets is truly a wonder of criminal enterprise. Read More

How to Reduce IRS Penalties

Paying taxes can be hard enough, but what if you’re hit with penalties on top of them? The IRS has over 100 different possible penalties that they can assess. Most of these penalties fit into one of two categories: collections and accuracy. Collections refers to late filing while accuracy refers to people providing incorrect information. While the best course is to avoid paying penalties at all by filing on time Read More