Orange County is known throughout the nation and the world for its culture, tourist attractions, beautiful coastline, and prosperous economy. Furthermore, Orange County has an independent and unique identity separate from that of the more urban Los Angeles County. In fact, Orange County is mostly a suburban area with no major urban center. However that is not to say that Orange County is completely devoid of cities. Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Fullerton and Santa Anna are traditionally more urban areas located within in the county.
However, a 2013 study performed by the National Taxpayer Advocate – an independent office within the IRS – revealed that the IRS’ tax enforcement activities are concentrated in wealthy areas and neighborhoods within and around major metropolitan areas. Areas with a concentration of small businesses also face a heighted risk of a tax audit or other enforcement action. Therefore taxpayers and small business owners living in Orange County should take special care to ensure that they are compliant with all tax obligations.
Orange County Taxpayers Must File and Pay Taxes
All taxpayers have a duty to file their taxes in a timely manner. All taxpayers must also pay their taxes by the original or extended filing deadline or face fines and penalties. For most taxpayers a filing obligation exists because the income threshold one must exceed is relatively low. In fact, there is a duty to file taxes after only $10,150 in income is earned. Furthermore, even if you do not meet this filing threshold, the only way to receive a tax return you may be entitled to is to file taxes.
Under 26 USC §7203 failure to file one’s tax return can be punished by up to one year of imprisonment along with the repayment of the amounts owed and fines and penalties. Under 7203 the IRS or DOJ must show that the taxpayer’s failure to file a tax return was the product of willful conduct. Willful conduct typically involves the intentional or voluntary disregard of a known legal duty. Intentionally failing to learn about your tax filing obligation or concealing one’s income so that it would appear a filing obligation does not exist would likely constitute examples of willful conduct. In other circumstances where the failure to file appears to be part of a larger tax fraud scheme, civil tax fraud charges under 26 USC § 6663 or criminal tax charges under 26 USC §7201.
What if the IRS Has Contacted me About Missing Tax Returns or Missing Tax Payments?
If the IRS has sent a letter or followed-up with a phone call regarding missing tax filing or payments, the lay taxpayer may think that he or she faces an impossible situation. However, this is not always the case. If you know that you have filed or paid the taxes in question, the matter can often be resolved by simply submitting your records and documentation to the IRS. However, if the taxpayer knows that the obligation has not been satisfied the situation becomes significantly more fraught with potential legal danger.
On the one hand, if the taxpayer admits to a failure to comply with tax obligations he or she has admitted to conduct that can, at minimum, lead to fines and penalties. However it is the taxpayer that attempts to conceal his or her past noncompliance with inaccurate statements or other dishonest conduct that compounds the tax problems he or she faces. Such action may even be perceived as willful conduct by the IRS agent and result in a referral for criminal tax prosecution.
So then, what is a taxpayer to do? In most circumstances the IRS will be receptive to a taxpayer’s request for additional time to gather and review tax and financial records. The IRS agent understands that this is an important matter and that you may need to consult your records to speak accurately and knowledgably. The taxpayer can use this time to gather records, review records, and consult with an experienced tax attorney who can assess the situation and recommend potential ways to mitigate the tax consequences faced.
Rely on California Tax Attorney Robert Hoffman
The Law Offices of Robert Hoffman provides high-quality, strategic advocacy for taxpayers facing allegations of unpaid taxes or unfiled taxes. We fight to mitigate the potential tax consequences you face due to alleged noncompliance with the U.S. Tax Code. To schedule a complimentary and private legal consultation, call 800-897-3915 or contact us online.