Landmark Tax Group - March 2020

Landmark Ledger “Don’t Let the IRS Take My Kids!” The Collection Process of the IRS A s the tax season is in full swing, I’m reminded of some interesting moments I’ve experienced If the IRS is posing a debt you disagree with, you have a right to speak with a manager or exercise your right to appeal. You can appeal most IRS debts before and after actions have taken place, but there are strict deadlines you need to meet. When you get your first IRS notice, you have 30 days to appeal the amount owed.

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March 2020

in my IRS journey. One in particular helps give me perspective on how much information really is out there in relation to our tax system. When someone has back taxes, there’s a window of time at the IRS where we’d have them come to the office and review the financial form we sent them. Together, we would look at it and determine their financial ability to pay. One woman brought in the form and started to go over her information. As we started the process, she was telling me about her family’s financial hardship and how her children are her main priority. But when I was looking over her form, there were several sections that were left blank — particularly, the dependents sections were empty! I then reiterated what she said about her financial situation and politely pointed out that she left her dependents section blank. I explained to her that we needed to identify how many people were in her household, so we can determine how much it costs to live and what she can pay. “Don’t let the IRS take my kids!” she said, genuinely afraid. I was surprised and taken aback that she would think that the IRS would take custody of her children because she owed back taxes. I walked her through the entire IRS process to show her the procedures we take to gain tax revenue so she wouldn’t lose sleep over her kids. She was relieved, but hers was a natural concern for people who want to take care of their children. If you have any concerns about the IRS showing up at your door this spring, here is what you should understand about the collections process.

The IRS isn’t completely inconsiderate to the American citizens and their financial strife. You may need extra time to pay off your taxes. There are several payment alternatives you can qualify for, including payment plans or an offer in compromise. But you still need to be in filing compliance with the IRS. If you’re a small-business owner, you must be in compliance with filing and federal tax deposits for the IRS to consider collection alternatives like an installment agreement. If you have faced severe financial hardship, you may qualify for the “uncollectable” status. This is a status the IRS recognizes when individuals don’t have the ability to pay at this time. Last but not least is your right to consult a qualified tax representative when facing the IRS. A qualified tax professional, like an IRS-licensed Enrolled Agent, can guide you through the entire process as well as advocate for you and protect your best interests when working with the IRS. Regardless of the extent of involvement with the IRS, you have a right to representation when addressing your tax issues. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your payment options or if you qualify for financial hardship, reach out anytime. One of our seasoned IRS

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tax professionals will gladly assist you. Call us at 949-260-4770 or visit for more information. –Michael Raanan, MBA, EA, Former IRS Agent


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Another Slice of Pi(e)

The Sweetest Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

B reak out your calculators and grab your aprons because it’s almost Pi Day! This holiday has gained popularity among mathematicians and bakers alike — two groups that rarely overlap. Pi Day is March 14, which, when written numerically, is 3/14, the first three digits of the mathematical constant pi. Pi is special because it’s used to calculate the circumference of a circle. This might not sound like a big deal, but pi is used in engineering, construction, GPS, motors, power generation, and even television! If we hadn’t calculated pi, none of these achievements would be possible. Pi is pretty important, and it’s definitely worth celebrating! Here are two ways you can get in on the fun.

and recite as many digits as possible. In the Guinness Book of World Records, the record is currently held by Rajveer Meena,

who recited pi to the 70,000th digit on March 21, 2015. And he did it all while blindfolded!

Eat Some Pie

Another popular way to enjoy Pi Day is to bake and eat pie. This dessert

Learn to Recite Pi

is perfect because it’s both a homophone (same pronunciation as “pi” but with a different spelling and meaning) and a circle. Challenge your friends to a pie-baking contest, or buy your favorite pie from the store and have a pie- eating contest. And, while this may be a controversial stance, we believe pizza pie deserves a place in Pi Day celebrations, too.

Pi has fascinated mathematicians for centuries because it’s an irrational number, meaning the digits go on forever. If you want to try your hand at memorizing some of the numbers, here are the first 50 decimal digits of pi (with spaces, so they’re easier to remember!).

3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510

Here’s to Pi Day: the tastiest, nerdiest holiday of the year!

To make things simple, we often round pi up to 3.14, but many people have challenged themselves to memorize

Is the IRS Finally Shutting Down?

What the IRS 2020 Budget Tells Us

Whenever we see news on the IRS and the

Now, the IRS’s 2020 budget is requesting additional funding for compliance positions, such as auditors and collectors. But the request does not fully address the attrition that has occurred over the last five years. For instance, the 2020 budget would add 943 full-time examination (audit) employees, for a total of 9,148 staff members. This would return examination function staffing to 2015 levels when there were 9,189 examination personnel. The attrition of examination personnel in 2015 (342) and 2016 (642) alone was 984. The IRS’s proposed 2020 budget adds some full-time IRS collectors for a total of 2,537, which doesn’t make up for the attrition of 264 collectors from 2015 alone.

struggles they face internally, whether it be financial-, staffing-, or performance-related, we think “Is it the end of the IRS?” Now, here’s the thing we need to ask

ourselves in addition: “Is there any merit to this?” Now the state of the IRS is constantly in flux, so I want to give you some data that will help show an accurate look at the IRS’s well-being. According to the 2018 IRS Data Book, the agency has about 73,519 current full-time personnel. However, since 2010, the IRS’s overall staffing has declined by 22.4%.

So, it’s safe to say the IRS isn’t shutting down just yet. Their annual budget allocation does tell a story, but there is an assortment of aspects in play.

For help with an IRS issue you or someone you know is facing, start with free guidance at or call 949-260-4770 .


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Learn to Play the Game With the IRS

As an entrepreneur, the tax system can be like playing multiple-level chess. If you’ve never played, you have to play on two boards — one above the other. Everything you do affects another facet of the game. As you go through turns with your opponent, you have to think not two steps ahead, but four. When we think about the IRS and business ownership, it’s easy to get lost in the headache rather than focus on the process. If you’re a gig employee or small-business owner, we can help keep track of your taxes this season. As a self-employed individual, you typically file an annual tax return and pay an estimated amount quarterly. This includes self-employment (SE) tax as well as income tax. SE tax is a Social Security and Medicare tax for independent contractors.

But before you can determine if you need to pay self-employment tax and income tax, you must calculate your yearly net profit. To do this, you need to subtract your business expenses from your business income. If your expenses are less than your income, you have net profit and it becomes part of your income on Page 1 of Form 1040. However if your expenses are more than your income, the difference is a net loss. You can deduct this from your gross income on Page 1 of Form 1040. If your net earnings are more than $400, you need to file an income tax return. If your net earnings from self-employment were less than $400, you still have to file an income tax return. But if you are working from home, take a breath of fresh air; your home office is tax-deductible. If you have any home office expenses, those are deductible along with any rent or lease of any vehicles, equipment, or machinery needed to run your business. This also includes business property. If you’re using your home as your primary office, there is a portion of your monthly rent or home utilities you can deduct as well. Don’t let the IRS play games with the tax filing process. One step at a time, you can cut straight through it — and if you have any questions or concerns regarding your own taxes, reach out anytime. Call us at 949-260-4770 or visit for more information.



“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” –John Marshall


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Inside This Issue The Collection Process of the IRS 1 Would You Like Some Pi?

Sudoku Answer Key

The Health of the IRS 2 Spend Less With the IRS

Tax Quotes 3

Get Fit With Fido 4 Wellness and Whiskers

3 Ways to Work Out With Your Pet

Creating a healthy lifestyle is often easier with support, but if you’re struggling to find someone to join you on your path to wellness, then look to your furry friends instead. Read on for some ways to get active with your pet, and learn more about their wellness and health at

cardiovascular exercise that works your entire body. If you’re not one for a dip in the pool, then kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are great for your arms and core. Meanwhile, your pet can enjoy a relaxing ride or an exciting game of fetch. Just be sure to secure your pet with a life jacket before you and your four- legged friend splash away!

Racking Up the Miles

A simple way to get moving with your pet is to go for a walk. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, then try running, biking, or hiking with your pet. Anything beyond a walk may require extra obedience training or equipment — like a specialty tool that prevents your pet from colliding with your bike — but after a few loops around the trail, your pet will be begging to go again. And how can you say no to that face? Plus, this idea isn’t just for dogs. You can find leashes and harnesses for cats, lizards, ferrets, and other pets that love to get fresh air.

Keeping It Traditional

If you want a good full-body workout while entertaining your pet, then consider including them in traditional exercises. Entertain your pup with a game of fetch and drop down for a burpee every time it runs away. Balance your bird on your shoulder while you squat and lunge. Mentally and physically stimulate your cat by dragging a string around your body during Russian twists. With a little creativity and a few of your pet’s favorite things, both of you can work up a sweat.

Going for a Swim

If you have a dog that appears to be more fish than canine, swimming might be the workout for you! Swimming is a joint-friendly


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