Trump Approves Tax Relief for Hurricane Victims

On September 29, 2017, President Trump signed the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017 into law. This tax relief initiative is designed to provide certain tax benefits for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The legislation also contains provisions extending the funding authorizations for the Federal Aviation Administration, the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians.

Targeted Tax Relief for Those Hardest Hit

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused hundreds of deaths either directly or indirectly and are estimated to cost hundreds of billions of dollars in economic impact and rebuilding costs. The most important tax provisions of the new law include the following:
• Taxpayers no longer must itemize deductions to take advantage of tax relief initiatives.
• The Disaster Tax Relief legislation also eliminates the requirement that losses must constitute 10 percent of the adjusted gross income of victims of these hurricanes.
• Taxpayers will be allowed to use their earned income from 2016 to figure their Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for 2017.
• Victims of these hurricanes will be allowed to access funds in their retirement accounts to pay for disaster-related expenses without tax penalties.
• Charitable contributions related to hurricane relief before December 31, 2017, will not be subject to the current limits on tax deductions for these donations.
• Employers in hard-hit areas will receive a tax credit of up to 40 percent of the wages paid to employees during the duration of the crisis. This can add up to as much as $6,000 per employee for companies affected by these serious storms.

The new law is expected to provide significant tax relief for those most severely affected by the hurricanes and to provide economic support for families and businesses rebuilding in the aftermath of these natural disasters.

The Law Offices of Daniel M. Silvershein can help families determine their tax liabilities and can provide expert advice and guidance on the financial implications of this new legislation. We have more than two decades of experience in the federal and state tax field and can ensure that your case is resolved quickly and to your satisfaction. If you are currently facing financial difficulties or problems with the IRS, call us today at 888-382-7880 to schedule a free initial consultation. We are here to help you and your family.

Jail Time for Fraudulent IRS Returns

A North Carolina resident is facing serious penalties for filing fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. Hassie Demond Nowlin was sentenced to 37 months in prison on November 16, 2017, by the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Nowlin was charged with obstruction of the IRS, falsification of tax returns and bankruptcy fraud for the years of 2008 and 2009. According to court documents, Nowlin also worked as a tax preparer from 2011 to 2017 and filed hundreds of returns on behalf of clients that contained false information intended to increase the amount of their refunds. He then collected the fees and deposited them into bank accounts that he controlled but on which his name did not appear.

A Wide Range of Offenses

Along with the fraudulent tax activities conducted by Nowlin, the court also alleged that he filed false personal bankruptcy petitions in an effort to evade or cheat his creditors. Nowlin’s tax returns included false information both about his earned income and the amount of withholding for federal taxes. Additionally, Nowlin attempted to renounce his U.S. citizenship by proclaiming himself a sovereign citizen in paperwork filed with the Guilford County Register of Deeds.

Harsh Penalties Assessed for Fraudulent Activities

In August 2017, Nowlin pled guilty to obstructing the IRS, filing fraudulent returns and committing bankruptcy fraud. Along with 37 months in prison, Nowlin will be required to pay restitution of more than $188,000 and to serve three years on supervised release. According to federal law, the statutory maximum for income tax fraud cases is three years in prison. Bankruptcy fraud can lead to up to five years in jail.

Criminal Prosecutions Are Rare

While Nowlin’s case is not typical, it highlights the need to stay on the right side of IRS regulations when filing and paying taxes. Working with a qualified IRS and state tax attorney can be a solid step toward preventing serious penalties that could damage you financially and, in some cases, could lead to criminal prosecution.

The Law Offices of Daniel M. Silvershein can help you manage your IRS problems proactively and effectively. We have more than 20 years of experience in tax issues and can deliver the right solutions for your specific situation. To set up a free consultation with us, call 1-888-382-7880. We look forward to helping you resolve your tax problems quickly and in the most positive way possible.

Televangelist Needs His Own Miracle after IRS Indictment

Todd Coontz, a North Carolina televangelist was indicted on charges of tax fraud for non-payment of income taxes for a 10 year period as well as filing false returns for 2010 through 2013. The amount of the tax liability owing is more than $326,000.

Coontz, who “promised financial miracles for people who sent money to his ministry” with such claims as “You need to plant the $273 recovery seed.  I’m only going to give you two or three minutes to respond.”

Coontz also purchased a 2011 BMW, a 2011 Regal 2500 boat, a 2012 BMW convertible, a 2011 Lexus, a 2011 Land Rover, a 2006 Ferrari, a 2012 Maserati, a 2013 BMW,  a 2013 Land Rover and a 2012 Ferrari with funds through his corporation.  The payments for these vehicles were treated as business expenses on the corporation and ministry’s accounting records even though they were driven by family members and no records were kept about the business use of the cars.

The ministry also purchased a $1.5 million condominium and claimed $200,000 for clothing purchases as a business expense.

The indictment also states that Coontz hid income from the IRS by claiming travel as a business expense while at the same time, receiving travel reimbursement that he kept as personal income, and billing the church for first-class airfare that he did not actually purchase.

Coontz could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

‘Everything is Not Coming up Roses’ for Flower Shop Owner

Adrian Benitez and Jose Ramirez, co-owners of a Great Neck, NY flower business, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to charges of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the internal revenue laws.

Between 2007 and 2012, the pair diverted more than $1 million in sales to their personal bank accounts instead of their business account.  They directed their customers to pay in cash, or had them pay with a check made payable to cash or themselves personally.  Benitez and Ramirez hid these assets from their tax preparer so the returns filed did not disclose any of the funds they diverted on both their personal and business income tax returns.  The loss to the IRS is approximately $235,805.

No sentencing date has been set, but Benitez and Ramirez each face a maximum sentence of three years in prison, a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

Teller at Check-Cashing Business Gets Bounced by the IRS

Krystal Proctor, a former teller at a check-cashing business, was indicted by a grand jury in the District of Maryland with theft of public money and conspiring to defraud the United States.

It’s alleged that from 2011 through 2013, Proctor and unnamed co-conspirators filed false tax returns with the IRS using stolen IDs. Refund checks were taken to Proctor, who then entered false information into the check cashing business’s database.  Proctor processed the stolen checks under the names of existing customers instead of the individuals named on the checks.

According to the indictment, Proctor cashed over 100 checks totaling more than $500,000.

If convicted, Proctor faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy and 10 years for each count of theft of public money.  She will also have to pay restitution and penalties.

A trial date is pending.

Health Care Company Owner Convicted for Tax Evasion

Las Vegas resident Maria Larkin was convicted of tax evasion after a jury found her guilty of refusing to pay employment taxes to the IRS for money she withheld from her employees.

Larkin operated the Five Star Home Health Care, Inc. from 1996 until 2009.  From 2004 to 2009, evidence showed that not only did she fail to pay the employment taxes, she also tried to conceal her income and assets by lying about her ability to pay.  She changed the name of her business and instructed her employees to cash checks for her.  She also bought a home in the name of a nominee.  Larkin faces up to 5 years in prison at her sentencing later this year.


The Major Credit Bureaus announced that tax liens and civil judgement will not appear anymore on credit reports as of this past July 1, 2017. This is definitely an impactful decision to the lending industry and to the taxing authorities. Basically the lenders will have to dig deeper with potential lending candidates to determine if any taxes are owed. Given the issue involved it is not as easy to get an answer to the question of tax compliance as it used to be when there was notice of the tax lien in the credit report. So the applicant may owe taxes and there is no lien to put the public on notice.

This also hurts the integrity of the tax system. Previously if there was a tax debt owed, a tax lien put the world on notice of this debt and the repercussions if business was transacted with the taxpayer. For instance, if a house was purchased, the lien would attach to the house and the lender would have an immediate tax problem with its collateral. Obviously, if the lender would have known in advance, they would have demanded that this problem be solved before loaning the money.

It is possible to foresee situations in the future, where credit decisions are made without full public information, causing unnecessary harm to the parties involved. We believe that the policy is solely beneficial to the credit bureaus who have less obligations to report information than previously, while this could harm the business community and public at large.

Contact Number (212) 387-7880

Free Advice Available for Taxpayers With IRS Problems

Living with IRS problems can be a confusing, frustrating, time-consuming process. A free report that can eliminate practically all of these problems has just been made available to all metro New York residents.

“There are so many great opportunities for taxpayers in the greater New York City area who are in trouble with the IRS or the State Tax Department” says Daniel M. Silvershein, a specialist in IRS problems for the past seventeen years.

“Unfortunately, taxpayers often run around in circles and miss great opportunities to end IRS problems, often for a fraction of what’s owed.”

To help taxpayers, Silvershein had made a free special report available to anyone interested in solving their IRS problems. Included in the report is information about the five most common IRS problems along with an explanation of a possible solution to each of these problems.

“Perhaps the most important part of this report is the free “IRS Problem Solver”

Hotline phone number. This is a free service offered to taxpayers currently suffering with IRS problems. They can call the hotline Monday-Friday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with any questions they may have. Their questions will be answered by a  specialist familiar with the area. There is no charge for this service.

To get a free copy of the special report on how to solve IRS problems, call (888) 835-6822

Contact Number: (212) 387-7880

How to Get Your Tax Info Online

The IRS has expanded its on-line account tool. With this tool, taxpayers can obtain up to 18 months of tax payment history, tax balances due, transcripts and other information. . If you have questions regarding the information contained on the transcripts, please call my office at 1888-382-7880 for a free confidential consultation.

Don’t be Scammed IRS WARNS

The IRS will never call taxpayers without prior contact and Demand Immediate Payment. A new scam is linked to the Eletronic Federal Payment System (EFTPS). The scammer calls taxpayers and claims that certified letters were sent to the taxpayer but were returned undeliverable. The scammer then demands immediate payment through a prepaid debit card.  The iRS always sends a bill, before demanding payment.

If you have received a letter from the IRS and are not sure what to do, please call my office at 1888-382-7880.

Innocent Spouse Relief Granted Despite Taxpayer Filing Wrong Form

The taxpayer separated from her husband and then filed a head of household return and claimed a refund.  Prior to the separation the taxpayer had filed joint returns with a balance due. The taxpayer intending to  file an Innocent Spouse form instead mistakingly filed  Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Allocation). Since it was the wrong form the IRS denied the request. Years later, she filed the correct form 8857 (Innocent Spouse). The case went to Court and the taxpayer won. The Court said even though it was the wrong form  it gave the IRS sufficient notice of her claim.

What’s important to take away from this case, is that TAXPAYERS should always file their returns, requests for relief etc, even if they file a wrong form. By filing returns, and IRS forms this preserves your rights. Too many times taxpayers unsure of what to do, then DO NOTHING! Which only leads to further problems.

If you have questions about your tax situation, Don’t be afraid to call for a Free Confidential Consultation 1888-382-7880.

Source: Practictioners Tax Action Bulletin No 2017-12 6/27/17

Prominent Philadelphia Attorney Can Add IRS Indictment to His Wikipedia Page

Husband and wife attorneys, Edward “Ted” Millstein and Susan Halpern from Rittenhouse, PA, were indicted on charges of willfully attempting to evade taxes.

Prosecutors state that Millstein concealed their assets, lied to IRS agents about their income, and put money and property in the names of others to avoid paying taxes.

It’s not the first time the couple has been in trouble for failing to pay taxes.  Both Millstein and Halper were charged for failing to pay taxes in 2010 in the amount of $143,473.35 and in 2011 in the amount of $153,560.69.

The IRS filed liens against the couple; in 2013, a lien was filed by the feds in the amount of $151,459 and the State of PA filed a state tax lien in the amount of $28,715.

If convicted on all charges, Millstein could face a prison sentence of up to seven years, three years’ probation and $450,000 in fines.  The max sentence for Halpern would be two years in jail, one year probation and $200,000 in fines.