Tax preparation is extremely complex, and immigrants to the U.S. often seek the assistance of unprofessional tax preparers whose mistake on tax returns leads to both IRS and USCIS problems.
Inaccurate tax filings give USCIS the opportunity to question the validity of your marriage and even to allege tax fraud. Tax fraud can be a crime involving moral turpitude and potentially an aggravated felony.
Convictions for CIMTs or aggravated felonies can lead to removal from the U.S. Furthermore, even without a deportable conviction, an immigration officer or judge can deny your applications for asylum, cancellation of removal, and naturalization.
The most common errors on tax returns include:
Sometimes, immigration officers will not know how to read a tax return and may make an erroneous denial because the officers do not know the distinctions between salaried income and self-employment income.
When you apply for citizenship, you must show that you are person of good moral character and that you have met the residency requirement. Any failure to pay taxes can allow a USCIS officer to declare that you lack good moral character and are therefore not eligible for naturalization. Likewise, if you filed a Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, you claimed that you were not a resident of the U.S. and will be unable to use the years you filed a 1040NR for counting towards residency for citizenship.
When you apply for a 2 year greencard (CPR) or 10 years greencard (I-751/LPR) income tax returns must reflect your marital status. The marital designation is important for showing that you and your spouse intended to establish a common life together. An accurate tax return is important for a greencard based on marriage (both Conditional Permanent Residence and Legal Permanent Residence), a greencard based on a VAWA application, and even for cancellation of removal.
Our attorneys are experienced in tax law and can help you with amending a tax return, settling audits, setting up payment plans with the IRS or submitting an Offer in Compromise to reduce your tax burden so that you can qualify for naturalization. Also, if you have failed in reporting overseas accounts or income, we can assist you with complying with both the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). We can also assist you with the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) to mitigate your penalties with the IRS.
Federal tax law, like immigration law, is federal which means our attorneys can help you no matter where you live in the U.S.
Tax audits are frightening and intrusive. Most people don't understand the audit procedure or their rights during an audit. Viles Law Firm can assist you with understanding the process and with seeing when the IRS is trying to find evidence of criminal activity.
Unfavorable audits can result in assessment of back taxes with consequent interest and penalties and maybe even criminal charges. Don't go through an audit on your own. Call Viles Law Firm today.
When you fail to pay your taxes, the IRS will start a collection process. The IRS will send you a letter detailing the amount you owe and from which year. The letter will also include the penalties and interest. If you cannot pay the bill in full, you should contact Viles Law Firm to discuss a remedy. Tax debt solutions include an installment agreement, an offer in compromise, or showing an inability to pay. You should also consider that the amount owed has arisen from tax returns with errors. You might need to file an amended return.
Filing an amended tax return may or may not be the best solution. When you sign and file your return, you are declaring to the IRS that the information in the return is truthful and accurate to the best of your knowledge. You want to be sure that filing an amended return will not be a reason for the IRS to decide to look more closely by subjecting you to an audit. Furthermore, there are time frame for filing an amended return and also time limits for the IRS to audit a return.
When married spouses file jointly, the IRS may claim there are mistakes on the return and demand the couple pay additional taxes, penalties, and interest. Because joint tax returns mean joint liability, both parties are responsible.
The parties to a "married filing jointly" tax return remain liable for amounts owed on the return even after divorce. The party not responsible for the income generating the additional taxes can defend himself or herself by proving:
The IRS offers three types of Innocent Spouse Relief:
Classic Innocent Spouse
Separate Liability Election and
Each category has its own special set of rules. We are prepared to analyze your facts to recommend the proper relief.
If you cannot pay your taxes all at once, we can help you negotiate a payment plan with the IRS. The IRS offers several types of installment plans.
A guaranteed installment plan if for persons who owe less than $10,000 and can pay off the debt within 3 years. The payment will include penalties and interest.
Streamlined plans are available for amounts under $50,000. Penalties and interest apply. The maximum payoff time is 6 years.
If you owe more than $50,000, a non-streamlined plan is an option. Penalties and interest apply. The plans require extensive financial disclosures as part of the application process.
The Offer in Compromise solutions allows you to settle your tax debt for a lump sum which is less than the amount you originally owed. The settlement amount depends on your income, debts, assets, and prospects of future income. You will have to submit a deposit with the OIC application, and you must continue paying your taxes while your OIC is under consideration. Failure to pay your taxes will result in an immediate denial.
If the IRS accepts your OIC, you will have to file and pay all your taxes for the following five years. Failure to file and pay and failure to abide by the OIC permits the IRS to negate your OIC and collect the original amount owed along with all interest and penalties. Falsifying or hiding your assets will also trigger negation of the OIC.
A United States person with a financial interest in or signature authority over foreign financial accounts which has more than $10,000 at any time during the calendar year must file an FBAR.
A United States person is a U.S. citizen, including children, a U.S. resident, and business entities such as corporations, partnerships, and LLCs organized within the U.S.
IRS DEFINITION OF U.S. RESIDENT
The IRS definition of a U.S. resident is different from the USCIS definition. If you have a greencard, you are a U.S. resident for both the IRS and USCIS. You can also be a U.S. resident if you meet the substantial presence test. The substantial presence test means you have been physically present in the U.S. for 31 or more days during the current year and also 183 days during the 3 year period prior to the current day. All the days in the year prior to the current year are counted at a third, and all the days in first year are counted at a sixth.
The FBAR filing requirement has exceptions. You should discuss your situation with us to determine whether an exception applies.
Your must keep FBAR records for a mininum of 5 years from the date of FBAR filing deadline.
LATE FILING AND FAILURE TO FILE
Late filings and failures to file may trigger penalties and even civil and criminal investigation. Foreign banks report account holders to the IRS under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
Some people choose to amend previous tax returns from previous years to include unreported offshore income. The IRS states that it will review quiet filings and impose civil and criminal penalties according to existing law.
You may be eligible for a streamlined filing if your failure to file was not willful. The streamlined procedure is only an option for individual taxpayers and/or their estates. Taxpayers using this option must certify that their failure to have reported their incomes and their failure to have filed all the required returns was not willful.
If you have willfully failed to file and pay taxes due and you want to limit your exposure to criminal prosecution, the voluntary disclosure program may be an option. The IRS uses a two step process to determine whether someone is eligible for the voluntary disclosure. You must first obtain preclearance and then file an application for acceptance and assignment of an examiner.