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Howeycoin - Too Good to be True

By Mary Lundstedt

"If you’ve ever been tempted to buy into a hot investment opportunity linked with luxury travel, the Securities and Exchange Commission has a deal for you." Sound too good to be true? It is. This announcement was made in the May 16, 2018 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) press release which was issued to explain the SEC’s latest educational tool related to virtual currencies. read more

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IRS Responds to States' Attempts to Circumvent SALT Cap

By Mary Lundstedt

On May 23, 2018, the IRS issued Notice 2018-54,[1] making it abundantly clear that when it comes to state efforts to circumvent the recently enacted state and local tax (SALT) deductions cap, "taxpayers should be mindful that federal law controls the proper characterization of payments for federal income tax purposes." read more

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District Court Maintains $100,000 Regulatory Cap For Willful FBAR Violations

By Eli Noff, Partner & Mary Lundstedt, Esq.

On May 16, 2018, in United States v. Colliot,[1] the District Court for the Western District of Texas held that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is precluded from assessing a willful Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) penalty exceeding the $100,000 limit provided in Federal Regulation (Reg.) §1010.820. The decision is a victory for taxpayers—forcing the government to either appeal the decision or promulgate new regulations. read more

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The IRS is Receiving Thousands of Coinbase Users' Information

By Mary Lundstedt , Esq.

In November of 2017, Coinbase, Inc. ("Coinbase"), a company that facilitates digital currency transactions, was ordered to comply with an IRS summons demanding specific Coinbase client identifying information and transaction data for Coinbase accounts "with at least the equivalent of $20,000 in any one transactions type" in any year during the period of 2013-2015.[1] Approximately 14,000 Coinbase clients will be affected. The federal district court ruled that the summons, as narrowed in its decision, "serves the IRS's legitimate purpose of investigating Coinbase account holders who may not have paid federal taxes on their virtual currency profits." read more

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Notice CC-2018-005: How Chief Counsel Attorneys Handle Passport Actions

By Mary Lundstedt, Esq.

On April 5, 2018, the Chief Counsel's Office provided advice in Notice CC-2018-005 to Chief Counsel attorneys who handle I.R.C. §7345 passport actions. The Chief Counsel's Office detailed both the certification and reversal processes for "seriously delinquent taxpayers," as well as the procedures for the judicial review of certifications. Lastly, the Notice indicates that since this is a new area of litigation, with questions still unanswered, these cases are ultimately to be coordinated with Procedure & Administration, Branches 3 and 4. read more

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Baltimore Police Commissioner De Sousa Charged With Tax Crime

By Mary Lundstedt, Esq.

On May 10, 2018, the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland announced that new Baltimore Police Commissioner Daryl De Sousa has been charged with three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file a U.S. individual income tax return. Specifically, the charges allege that Commissioner De Sousa failed to file returns for tax years 2013, 2014 and 2015-each failure a violation of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §7203. read more

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The Domestic Asset Protection Trust

By Leanne Broyles, Esq.

What if you could take a portion of your hard-earned wealth, lock it up from your creditors, but keep the key for yourself? It sounds too good to be true, but the Domestic Asset Protection Trust provides a very real and very valuable estate planning tool for achieving this objective. read more

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IRS Reminds You to Report Virtual Currency Transactions

On March 23, 2018, the IRS issued IR-2018-71, reminding taxpayers that they must report income from virtual currency transactions on their income tax returns. The IRS defined virtual currency as "a digital representation of value that functions in the same manner as a country's traditional currency." The IRS emphasized that, as with any other property transactions, virtual currency transactions are taxable.

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Celebrities' Initial Coin Offering Endorsements Under SEC Scrutiny

By Mary Lundstedt, Esq.

Cryptocurrency start-up firms sometimes attempt to raise funding for an original cryptocurrency venture through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Typically, the firm presents a whitepaper plan detailing the: (1) project requiring funding, (2) amount of funding needed, (3) amount of cryptocurrency that investors will retain, (4) specific currency accepted, and (5) timeline for the ICO campaign. Once the campaign is underway, the early project supporters purchase some of the cryptocurrency with legal tender or other cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrencies distributed in this manner is often referred to as “tokens” and are analogous to company shares that are issued to investors in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Assuming the money raised in this process is sufficient to meet the firm’s needs, the funds are used to complete the project. If the funds are insufficient, the money is returned to the investors and the ICO is considered unsuccessful. Obviously, the motivation for early investors is the potential for the plan’s success, which could result in a higher value of the cryptocurrency than the amount for which they purchased it. read more

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The Connection Between Bankruptcy and Tax Liability

If you owe taxes to the IRS, filing for bankruptcy protection may be one of the ways in which you could discharge that tax debt. However, it is important to remember that bankruptcy is not often a cure-all when it comes to tax debt. There are some circumstances under which you may not be able to discharge a tax debt by filing for bankruptcy. The laws surrounding tax liability can be complex and you may require the guidance and counsel of an experienced Florida tax attorney to lead you through what could very well be an intimidating process. read more

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