Tax Procedure: The Eleventh Circuit Sustains Penalty Defense Based upon an Accountant’s Advice

accountantTaxpayers frequently rely upon an accountant to prepare their returns, and that involves more than just filling out forms. In preparing a return, an accountant will need to make judgments about the appropriate treatment of tax items, including whether income represents capital gain or ordinary income and whether expenditures should be capitalized or treated as business expenses.

If the IRS concludes that one of these judgment calls is incorrect, the taxpayer can be exposed to penalties, such as the accuracy-related penalty under section 6662 of the Internal Revenue Code. Taxpayers frequently point to the accountant’s role in an effort to avoid liability for the penalty; the Code provides a defense where the taxpayer shows that that there was “reasonable cause” for the position taken on the return and that she acted in good faith.… Read More

Worker Classification: Homecare Provider Demonstrated Reasonable Basis for Classification of Companions as Independent Contractors

home healthCases challenging the classification of workers as independent contractors have been a significant enforcement priority for both the IRS and the Department of Labor. On May 10th, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment to a business seeking a refund of employment taxes it paid after the IRS challenged the classification of its workers as independent contractors. Nelly Home Care, Inc. v. United States, Nos. 15-439 & 15-444, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61524 (E.D. Pa. May 10, 2016). The case is of particular interest because the taxpayer did not qualify for one of the statutory safe harbors under Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 but nonetheless prevailed by demonstrating “other reasonable basis” to support the classification decision.… Read More