BEWARE OF TAX SCAMMERS DURING COVID-19

BEWARE OF TAX SCAMMERS DURING COVID-19

BEWARE OF TAX SCAMMERS DURING COVID-19

The IRS is reminding taxpayers to make sure they follow official IRS guidance and social media, especially right now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IRS official guidance and social media will be the best resource for finding out information and avoiding scammers.  Remember, the IRS will not call you and leave threatening voicemails.  Do not give your social security number out over the telephone if someone is calling you.  If you have never even received an IRS notice, you should be especially suspicious of threatening calls from someone claiming to be the IRS.

You can find IRS on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.  When attempting to follow or access different IRS social media accounts, make sure you verify it is the correct IRS social media account, and not an imposter account, here first.  You can also sign up for IRS email notifications here.  E-news for tax professionals can be found here.


If you have any questions about possible scams, tax law matters, estate planning, divorce, child custody, probate, civil litigation, unlawful detainers, or business law, we hope you will reach out to Mendes Weed, LLP, at (925) 390-3222.  We are here to help you during this difficult time.

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Will Business Meals Become Tax Deductible Again?

Will Business Meals Become Tax Deductible Again?

Will Business Meals Become Tax Deductible Again?

Maybe.  Nothing is certain yet, but it appears President Trump might be looking into restoring corporate tax deductions for business meals.

Under the 2017 Tax Act, deductions for many business entertainment expenses, including most, if not all, meals, were eliminated.

However, under the current coronavirus pandemic, it might work to the further detriment of restaurants to prevent these business meals from being tax deductible according to this article.

It might be helpful to both restaurants and small businesses to make these meals tax deductible once again.  Businesses may feel more incentivized to have more business lunches at restaurants.  We will be keeping an eye on this issue over the coming weeks.


If you have questions about this, or any other tax law matter, please reach out to the team at Mendes Weed, LLP, at (925) 390-3222.   We can also assist you with estate planning, probate, business formation, divorce, child custody, domestic violence, and litigation.  We are here to help you during this tough time, and our office is set up to meet with clients remotely as needed.

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Are Cruise Lines Going to Get a Bailout?

Are Cruise Lines Going to Get a Bailout?

Are Cruise Lines Going to Get a Bailout?

The $2 trillion stimulus bill passed Friday, March 27, 2020, in response to COVID-19.  Will the cruise lines, who are undoubtedly losing massive amounts of business right now get bailed out?

Probably not.  Did you know most cruise lines do not pay federal income tax in the U.S.?  That’s because most cruise lines do not incorporate or domesticate in the U.S.  If they did, they would pay a lot more federal income tax to the U.S.

For example, according to this article, Carnival would have to pay approximately $600 million in corporate taxes for 2019 if it was domesticated in the U.S.

Accordingly, the cruise lines will not be included in the bailout to the extent they are not domesticated in the U.S.  It makes sense… for once.

If you have questions about tax law, probate, estate planning, divorce, child custody, restraining orders, unlawful detainers, civil litigation, Mendes Weed, LLP, is here to help you during this difficult time.  Please reach out to us at (925) 390-3222.

If you have been considering resolving your past-due tax liability with a collection alternative such as an offer in compromise or installment agreement, right now would be an excellent time to do it.  While we cannot guarantee a favorable result, your chances may possibly be better during this People First Initiative.  

We are here to help you with tax law matters, estate planning, probate, divorce, child custody and visitation, trust/estate litigation, domestic violence, civil, and elder abuse restraining orders, unlawful detainers, and civil litigation.  We are able to meet with clients remotely so that you are not left without legal options. We are happy to help!

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IRS Employee Retention Credit

IRS Employee Retention Credit

In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS has made an employee retention credit available to many businesses.  Will you qualify?

Generally, the credit is available to employers who fall into one of the following categories:

  1. The employer’s business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19 during the calendar quarter; and/or
  2. The employer’s gross receipts are below 50% of the comparable quarter in 2019. Once the employer’s gross receipts go above 80% of a comparable quarter in 2019, they no longer qualify after the end of that quarter.

The credit is 50% of qualifying wages paid up to $10,000 in total.  Wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021, are eligible for the credit.  Wages are not limited to cash and can include amounts paid for employer-provided health care.

For additional information about whether you qualify and how to receive the credit, you can look on the IRS website.

If you have any other questions regarding this tax credit or other tax matters, please feel free to reach out to Mendes Weed, LLP, at (925) 390-3222.  We are here to help you during this time with tax law, probate, estate planning, divorce, child custody, restraining orders, and civil litigation.  We have attorneys working remotely to help you with your legal needs.  Please take care during this hard time.


Mendes Weed, LLP is here to help you during this difficult time if you have any questions about your tax matter.  Please feel free to reach out to us at (925) 390-3222.

If you have been considering resolving your past-due tax liability with a collection alternative such as an offer in compromise or installment agreement, right now would be an excellent time to do it.  While we cannot guarantee a favorable result, your chances may possibly be better during this People First Initiative.

We are here to help you with tax law matters, estate planning, probate, divorce, child custody and visitation, trust/estate litigation, domestic violence, civil, and elder abuse restraining orders, unlawful detainers, and civil litigation.  We are able to meet with clients remotely so that you are not left without legal options. We are happy to help!

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Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
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Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
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IRS People First Initiative

IRS People First Initiative

IRS People First Initiative

Yesterday, March 25, 2020, the IRS announced its “People First Initiative.”  The initiative was put into place to “help people facing the challenges of COVID-19 issues.”  

The IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “The IRS is taking extraordinary steps to help the people of our country.  In addition to extending tax deadlines and working on new legislation, the IRS is pursuing unprecedented actions to ease the burden on people facing tax issues.  During this difficult time, we want people working together, focused on their well-being, helping each other and others less fortunate.”  

While this sounds promising, and definitely necessary during this difficult time, we remain cautiously optimistic.  Whenever taxpayers are dealing with the IRS, it is important to have a tax attorney who makes sure that the IRS is following the law and proper procedures.  Hopefully, the People First Initiative will be promptly instituted and followed, but you want to have a tax attorney who can make sure that the procedures are followed just in case.  

Some highlights from the initiative: 

For taxpayers under existing installment agreements, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020, are suspended.  This means you will not default on your installment agreement if you cannot make payments during this time, but interest will continue to accrue on your balance.  

While we do not have any official guidance on this, it may also be the case that you will be able to set up installment agreements more quickly and efficiently during this time – fingers crossed.  

For offers in compromise (OIC), the IRS will allow until July 15, 2020, to get additional requested information into the IRS.  Taxpayers who already have an OIC will be allowed to suspend payments until July 15, 2020.  If a taxpayer currently has an OIC and files their return on or before July 15, 2020, the OIC will not default.  

In addition, right now may be a good time to submit a new OIC because your liabilities may go up relative to your assets during this difficult time.  

With respect to field collection activities, liens and levies are supposed to be suspended during this time.  However, field revenue officers may continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where warranted.  

In person meetings with IRS should be suspended during this time, and where possible said meetings will be held remotely if needed.  

Some other points from the initiative can be found here on the IRS website.  

Mendes Weed, LLP is here to help you during this difficult time if you have any questions about your tax matter.  Please feel free to reach out to us at (925) 390-3222.  

If you have been considering resolving your past due tax liability with a collection alternative such as an offer in compromise or installment agreement, right now would be an excellent time to do it.  While we cannot guarantee a favorable result, your chances may possibly be better during this People First Initiative.  

We are here to help you with tax law matters, estate planning, probate, divorce, child custody and visitation, trust/estate litigation, domestic violence, civil, and elder abuse restraining orders, unlawful detainers, and civil litigation.  We are able to meet with clients remotely, so that you are not left without legal options. We are happy to help!

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Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
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Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
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The Taxman Cometh for Cryptocurrency

The Taxman Cometh for Cryptocurrency

The currency might be virtual, but the tax bills due the IRS for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are very tangible.  Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent letters to taxpayers engaged in virtual currency transactions. The notifications advise that traders potentially failed to report income and/or pay tax from their virtual currency transactions. Copies of the IRS notice can be found here: IRS Cryptocurrency Notice. This notice includes FAQs that taxpayers can read to hopefully answer some of their questions. The notice is sent with variations of an IRS letter: letter 6173, letter 6174, letter 6174-A.

The letter itself notes that “if you sold, exchanged, or disposed of virtual currency (e.g. Bitcoin, Ether), or used it to pay for goods or services, you have engaged in a reportable transaction.” Translation: You got this letter because the IRS is aware of your transactions and you might owe them.

NOTE: But, be careful. Scam letters are already being sent to taxpayers purporting to be from the IRS. See the CoinTelegraph article.

End of the Bitcoin Wild West?

In a virtual landscape on the frontiers of the internet, crypto traders often felt they were above or beyond the reach of the IRS. In this case, the call was coming from inside the house, as trading and storage platforms complied with IRS requests for user data. For example, Coinbase which facilitates transactions of virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum notified customers it will comply with the Court’s order regarding the release of certain data. For more information on the Coinbase case here.

Taxpayer information can be submitted to IRS through various continual IRS compliance efforts. Taxpayers who do not properly report their income and pay tax can be liable for tax, penalties, and interest. Also, said taxpayers may be subject to criminal prosecution. A tax lawyer can help you through this process.

As the IRS fences in the crypto Wild West, you are not alone to sort through their threats and red tape. If you failed to report virtual currencies/pay tax related to virtual currency transactions, a tax attorney can help. To get in compliance, and to help avoid trouble from the IRS, call the attorneys at Mendes Weed. We excel at tax law and especially at litigating tax cases before the IRS.

Call Mendes\Weed for Tax Law Advice

Businesses, families, and high net worth individuals trust Mendes Weed partner Christina Weed with their complex legal tax matters. She is a licensed attorney with an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego.  Ms. Weed also holds a Bachelors Degree in Accountancy. Christina has been designated a Board Certified Specialist in Taxation by the State Bar of California. This involves a rigorous testing and review process by the Bar, and only a small fraction of California attorneys receive this Board certification.

CONTACT: Mendes Weed, LLP, SF and Walnut Creek Tax Lawyersmwlawca.com

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Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
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