August, 2006

Message from Nelson & Company, P.S., CPAs

Q & A ---Extensions

  Q:  I got an extension on April 15th. Did I have to file another extension on August 15th?
No, not this year. Since you filed your extension in April, it is good for six months. The final date to file your tax return with an extension is October 16th. This is a new procedure this year. You only need to file the one extension to get an automatic six-month extension. Extensions only extend the time to file your return; it does not extend the time to pay. If you owe money, you should file your return as soon as possible to avoid additional penalties and interest.
Certified Public Accountants

AUGUST, 2006

Inside This Issue....

Former Atlanta Mayor Gets Two Years and Six Months in Prison
TN Gambling Operator Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion
Justice Dept. Stops Zero-Income Scam
IRS Question Corner

"Oh, I can do anything...
except stop taxes."


The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit suit seeking to bar Phillip M. Ballard of Fort Worth, Texas, from preparing federal income tax returns for others.

The civil injunction lawsuit alleges that Ballard, who uses the business name Asset & IRS Shield Inc., has repeatedly prepared tax returns that show nothing but zeroes on all lines. Ballard allegedly claims that his customers are not subject to federal income taxes because they are citizens of their states, not United States citizens.

According to the complaint, Ballard also sells what he calls "insurance" that promises to protect customers from taxes, penalties and interest. The complaint requests that Ballard be barred from selling the insurance scheme for which he allegedly charges from $4,500 to $8,000. The complaint also alleges that Ballard falsely claims to be an attorney.

The lawsuit asks the court to order Ballard to stop representing his customers before the IRS and to provide a list of his customers. "Zero return" scams are on the IRS's annual list of the "Dirty Dozen" tax scams.

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Former Atlanta Mayor Gets Two Years and Six Months in Prison

The former mayor of Atlanta received two years and six months in prison after being found guilty of tax charges during an eight-week trial. William C. Campbell, 52, has been living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

The court found that Campbell intentionally failed to report more than $160,000 in mostly cash income on his tax returns for three years while he was mayor; that significant amounts of that unreported income came from criminal conduct, specifically, corrupt payments from a city contractor; that Campbell engaged in sophisticated efforts to conceal his crimes; that he has refused to accept responsibility for his crimes; and, finally and significantly, that Campbell obstructed and attempted to obstruct the investigation and prosecution of this case.

TN Gambling Operator Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion

William Hershel Norris, 56, of Joelton, TN., pleaded guilty to one count of income tax evasion for the calendar year 1998.

According to the indictment, Norris filed false and fraudulent income tax returns for 1996 and 1998 claiming taxable income for each year of $28,896 and $0, respectively. The indictment alleges that Norris knew his actual taxable income was $223,927 for 1996 and $115,598 for 1998.

IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent David J. Martin testified that Norris admitted to operating illegal poker machines at his store, the Little Barn Market, and to operating an illegal numbers gambling business during 1996 and 1998. Martin also stated that Norris estimated he made up to $50,000 a year from his illegal gambling operations.

He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.


Question: After receiving bad tax advice over the past few years, I realized today that I drastically underestimated my taxes due over the past few years. I now owe $115,000! My daughter just entered college this year. My son is set to go next year. I can't afford to pay that much. What can I do? I don't want to pull my daughter out of school.

Answer: For one thing, calm down. I can assure you that, no matter how much money you owe to the IRS, no tax-collecting agent is so cold-blooded that he would force you to take a child out of college.

Besides, your situation is actually quite common. Many taxpayers, as a result of neglect, bad advice or any myriad of reasons, underestimate their taxes due over a period of years until it finally hits them: They're in debt. Way in debt!

It sounds like you are in a position to make good on your debt but can't pay all at once. That's understandable. The first thing you should do is consult a qualified tax professional, who will analyze your previous returns with a fine-toothed comb. That way, you can ensure that you are not paying the IRS even a penny more than you owe. Once an exact figure has been reached, you have a few options. Among them is the Offer in Compromise program, which allows taxpayers absolutely unable to pay their debts an opportunity to negotiate a lower a settlement amount.

However, in your case, since you still have the means to pay your debt, I suggest you inquire about an Installment Agreement. This works a lot like a mortgage or car loan - a set monthly payment that will gradually reduce debt without forcing you to change your life, specifically, allowing you to keep kid in college.

Whatever you do, don't panic. You'd likely be surprised how many options you have available to you once you see a qualified tax professional.

I handle IRS problems every day. I'm an IRS Problem Solver. For a free, no-risk consultation, call my office at 253-752-9522 or send me an E-mail at Do it today!

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