Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Common Questions about Law in Inland Empire & San Bernardino County & Rancho Cucamonga
Every day, The Blue Law Group receives questions from clients and prospective clients alike about tax matters, business law, criminal law, employment law. Because we are a valuable resource for legal assistance in our community, we want to share some answers to questions we commonly get.
Read below to learn more about the frequently asked questions we get from within Downtown Los Angeles, San Bernardino County and beyond.
How will the IRS contact me?
The IRS may send letters, make phone calls, or visit you in-person. Scammers engaging in fraud by posing as IRS agents over the phone, however, have made the general public reasonably wary of taking a phone call seriously when someone on the other end says they’re with the IRS. In most cases, you will first receive a letter in the mail from the IRS, but this is not always the case.
If someone from the IRS calls you, hang up and call the IRS directly to see if there was a legitimate attempt to reach you. If an agent shows up on your doorstep, ask to see their credentials and you should have no trouble seeing these if the person is who they say they are. Typically, unannounced visits are limited to discussion taxes owed or unfiled returns, audits, collections made payable only to the U.S. Treasury, and criminal investigations.
In any case, if you think the IRS has tried to contact you, reach out to an attorney like ours at The Blue Law Group for help before you engage.
What is the IRS’s “Fresh Start Program”?
This program is an effort by the IRS to help individuals and small businesses pay off debt with monthly payments over the course of six years. If you owe less than $50,000 in tax debt, qualifying for the program is relatively easy. If you owe more, you may need an attorney’s deep knowledge of the tax code and experience with the IRS to help.
At which age do I have to stop claiming a child as a dependent?
Your child must be either younger than 19 or be a “student” younger than 24 as of the end of the calendar year to qualify as a dependent. A child of any age who is permanently or totally disabled can also be claimed.
Can the IRS revoke an installment agreement?
Yes. The IRS can revoke an installment agreement if you fail to file your tax return or pay taxes that came after you entered into the agreement. You can also lose your agreement by missing a payment or not making a payment in its full amount. Lastly, it can be revoked if the IRS discovers that you provided inaccurate or incomplete details during negotiation, or if it discovers that your financial circumstances have changed for the better or worse.
Do I need to make installment payments if I have a pending offer in compromise?
No. If you have an installment agreement with the IRS, you do not need to make payments for it while an offer in compromise is being processed. Your installment agreement essentially goes on pause during this period and it will be reinstated should your offer not be accepted by the IRS.
Will an offer in compromise affect my credit score?
Yes, but probably not the way you’d expect. A successful offer in compromise can release you of all tax liens filed against you. This means that your credit score can actually improve with an offer in compromise.
Am I responsible for a full year’s worth of property taxes if I just bought a property?
Typically, you should only be responsible for property taxes for the months you owned the property between July 1 of Calendar Year 1 and June 30 of Calendar Year 2. Essentially, your tax liability for the year is prorated because you did not own the real estate for the entire year. Reviewing the settlement statement provided by the title company can clarify this.
Do I pay taxes on the entire sale of my property?
You may only have to pay taxes on the amount of money you realize during a real estate transaction. If you used a portion of money from the sale to pay off a mortgage, then you will likely only pay taxes on the remaining amount.
Do I pay income taxes on child support or spousal support?
Child support isn’t included as part of your taxable income. Likewise, you cannot deduct it from your taxes if you’re the payer. Under certain circumstances, spousal support payments can be deducted by the payer and considered taxable to the recipient. Talk to a tax planning attorney to help you determine your liability.
What is a fictitious business name?
A fictitious business name is what you call your business that differs from its legal name on file with the state. Sometimes you’ll also need to register these with the state or county or distribute “doing business as” (DBA) notices in forums like local newspapers.
Which kind of business license do I need?
The type of license you’ll need for your company depends on the type of business you’re running. Consulting with The Blue Law Group can help you figure out which licenses will be required before you set up shop.
Can I be charged with a crime without getting arrested?
Yes, however it’s unlikely that you’ll be charged without getting arrested for a more serious crime. An officer can issue a citation instead of making an arrest to avoid overcrowding jails or for less serious offenses, like traffic violations. Signing the citation is an agreement to appear in court according to the citation – failing to appear, however, is a crime you are likely to face arrest.
Can my employer go to jail for sexual harassment?
Sexual misconduct at work isn’t always a crime according to the law, but it can be. Forcible touching, sexual assault, rape, stalking, and false imprisonment are all crimes punishable by jail or prison time that can occur as part of workplace sexual harassment.
What is wage theft?
Wage theft occurs when employers refuse to pay overtime rates, don’t give employees their final paychecks upon dismissal or quitting, don’t pay for every hour worked, don’t pay the minimum wage, or refuse to pay an employee at all. Because various state or federal regulations can be broken to amount to what one may consider “wage theft,” engaging in such practices can involve criminal activity such as fraud.