It’s the little omissions that can trip you up—like not filing certain tax reports. The IRS gets annoyed about missing reports, and sometimes goes to considerable lengths to find delinquents.
Consider: The IRS has been in stealth mode for the past 18 months, searching for unreported gifts of real estate valued at more than the $13,000 per year filing threshold for individual gifts. Its activities blipped onto practioners’ radar in December when the Justice Department filed a petition in federal court on the agency’s behalf seeking permission to serve a so-called John Doe summons on the California Board of Equalization, a taxing body.
As described in several publications and analyzed in a number of law firm blogs and client alerts, the summons would require the board to turn over records of real property transfers by state taxpayers between 2005 and 2010. The California petition related to a “compliance initiative” launched by the IRS in early 2010 to investigate taxpayers who have failed to file Form 709 U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return.
The court turned down the IRS request on May 20.
The most interesting aspect of the California proceeding was an affidavit filed in support of the Justice Department’s petition by Josephine Bonaffini, a licensed Boston attorney and the federal/state coordinator for the IRS Estate and Gift Tax Program.