Lance Drury Law
Ste. Genevieve 573-883-3056
Columbia 573-886-8900
St. Louis 314-200-0003

July 2013 Archives

Busting the "Paying Taxes is Voluntary" Myth

In the United States, you are to file and pay taxes.The only thing that's voluntary about it is that you are the one that gets to do it, instead of the government doing it for you.Because of that, you can choose to use various legal tax exemptions to your advantage to pay lower taxes. If the government was calculating your taxes for you, there would be a known way for the government to know what you should pay.For instance, say you owned a legitimate part-time business on the side in addition to a regular job. You may be able to claim certain tax exemptions for that business according to the tax law.Common and legitimate business expenses might be your car, mileage, equipment purchases, or a separate home office. I can't help you write off these legitimate expenses.It's voluntary for you to own this business, but you are responsible for filing taxes for this business.

Choosing The Right Professional To Help Solve Your Tax Problems

It's ridiculous that a taxpayer might not be able to count on getting a right answer from the IRS regarding tax questions, especially considering that the IRS is the agency that is charged with the task of enforcing tax laws.However, you may find yourself in a position where you're already past the point of needing help with your tax returns. Filing this year's tax returns may not be the issue.The issue for you is:
  • Maybe you haven't filed at all...perhaps for 2 or 3 years or more.
  • Maybe you've filed but haven't paid the tax - and the IRS is sending you letters that are increasing in frequency and the language regarding collection is getting sterner.
  • Maybe you know that on previous tax returns that you withheld or falsified information and you're afraid of what will happen when you get caught.
  • Maybe you've reached the point where the IRS has already placed a lien on your property, and you're concerned that the next step is for them to garnish your wag- es, raid your bank account, and/or seize your property
If you're in any of these positions, you need to speak with a qualified tax attorney as soon as humanly possible.Ask yourself...if the IRS Taxpayer Assis-tance Center cannot correctly answer simple tax questions more than 57% of the time, do you think that they are going to be able to answer a question about a complicated matter such as a lien on your property...the Statue of Limitations, bankruptcy or other complicated legal matters.Do you think that your ac- countant - a person who deals with taxes for 3 months out of the year and works with balance sheets and financial reporting for the rest of the year - is most qualified to help you fight and keep the IRS from destroying your financial life? Do you think that an attorney - one who spends most of his time dealing with personal injury suits, corporate law, or criminal law - is somehow familiar with the ins-and-outs of the complicated tax system of the United States, which changes from year to year? Would just any attor- ney be familiar with previous tax decisions that could help your case?No - it's clear that a qualified Tax Attorney is your very best choice in this situation.  Don't make a fatal mistake in choosing the very best help with your IRS problems.

IRS Authorized to Circumvent Warrants Regarding Personal Electronic Records

According to the American Civil Liber- ties Union (ACLU), the IRS can read your electronic communications. In 1986, the Electronic Communication Privacy Act gave government agencies such as the IRS the authority to examine any electronic communications older than 180 days. Even if you erase all your mes- sages and statuses, rest assured that social networks, phone companies and ISPs have not. Digital records, especially texts, are incredibly cheap to store. As such, there is a comprehensive open book of what many think of as "priva te communication" available to the government.The Electronic Communication Privacy Act specifies that a judge's warrant is not necessary for a government agency to snoop through your records. An attorney's subpoena -- basically, a request to conduct any investigation -- is sufficient. Note that prosecuting attorneys have incredbly wide powers to designate almost anything of interest as an "investigation." As such, their desire to obtain records about your personal credit card purchasses , emails, search history and social network posts is easily satisfied.Nevertheless, there is hope for resistance to virtually endless IRS intrusion.  Stored electronic communications are counted as a type of "private property" of the organization providing the messaging or transaction services. Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others have resisted IRS requests, insisting on a harder-to-get warrant from a judge. Legislators have also noticed. Some pushed forward a bill that would curtail the authority of government agencies to obtain private electronic communication.Despite prospects for restrictions of IRS powers, keep in mind several facts. First, relevant legislation (if any) is very unlikely to be retroactive -- to apply to electronic communications already on record prior to the legislation's enactment. In addition, companies have no obligation to resist IRS inquiries. Of course, companies have every legal right to cooperate with government agency requests. They are prevented from doing so only by their own discretion, within limits of the law.You can take steps to ensure privacy. To diminish the possibility of potentially incriminating information haunting you years into the future, keep tax- related communications off the electronic record. Letters and personal meetings are a small price to pay for strong legal protections in matters of tax law.

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The Law Firm of Lance R. Drury
150 Merchant Street
Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670

Phone: 314-200-0003
Fax: 573-883-3095
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