Recent headlines announced the “piercing” of Swiss banking secrecy laws to reveal many Americans owning huge, unreported income offshore.

But it’s not just the big guys who are subject to reporting: Any US citizen with ownership or control over an account or accounts worth more than $10,000 during the year must report them to the IRS. The purpose of these reports is to help the government identify folks who may have income from foreign sources that they are not reporting, as well as tracking money used or produced in illegal acts.

One customer of ours didn’t realize that since she and her brother had inherited an apartment building in Italy, and they had control of the bank account for the management of the building, that she was subject to the requirements even though the brother was an Italian citizen and she was only a “silent partner” in the business.

The deadline for filing the 2009 “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts” (FBAR) is June 30th. The penalty for not reporting can be very heavy, including criminal penalties – so see a tax professional right away to determine if you need to file, and for help in correctly submitting the forms, or read more at Penalties range from a $10,000 fine to $100,000 or half the value of the account(s) and criminal penalties of up to $500,000 and 10 years in Federal prison — so make sure you are in compliance.

(originally posted at

May 10th, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Staples Center has offered $20 million for the upcoming Mayweather-Pacquiao fight — but they aren’t going to get it, since that would mean the fighters paying upwards of 10.55% income taxes to the state of California. Even though this event could mean millions to the economy of Los Angeles, the negative incentives are so high that it’s likely that the fight will be held in Texas or Las Vegas — where there isn’t a personal income tax.

We really need to think about how California is funded. Driving all the rich away isn’t working very well.

Read more here.

December 15th, 2009 at 11:52 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

And, as she needed to, she gave it back.

A house cleaner in the Denver area received a hefty refund from the IRS by mistake.

Local station CBS 4 reported that Laura Schultz, an employee of Sunshine Maids, received a refund check for $122,783.51 from the service. When she reported the error to the IRS, she was instructed to void the check.

Despite the IRS error, and her honesty in reporting the mistake, she still owes $80 on her taxes.

August 25th, 2009 at 10:21 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Once again, we have come across another tax scam.  These scammers are mailing forms that resemble California Property Tax assessment notices to California homeowners claiming they can perform re-assessments to reduce your property tax for hundreds of dollars in fees.  Do not be fooled as these companies are not government agencies.


February 20th, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink