Tax Audit Help

Tax Audit Help

The IRS can randomly or intentionally select a tax return to verify that the taxes reported are correct. If you’ve been selected for an audit, there are ways to get help to avoid penalties and charges. While it’s tempting to rush through the audit process, you should be mindful of several ways to get audit help.

Before you seek help for a tax audit, knowing the basic tax audit process and the taxpayer’s rights should make the audit process go smoother and faster. For all types of audits, the IRS will send a notification in the mail. The notification letter will contain detailed steps to take and a deadline to reply.

After responding to the notification letter, there are three possible outcomes to a tax audit. First, the IRS can accept your explanation and your supporting documents and make no changes to your tax return. Second, the IRS can propose to make changes to your tax return and you can accept the changes by signing a document. By accepting the changes, you will probably have to make arrangements to make payments. Third, you can refuse to accept the changes proposed by the IRS and challenge the assessment. You can set up a conference with a manager at the IRS office to resolve the issue.

The IRS informs its employees and the taxpayers that the taxpayers have the following rights (1) A right to professional and courteous treatment by IRS employees; (2) A right to privacy and confidentiality about tax matters; (3) A right to know why the IRS is asking for information, how the IRS will use it, and what will happen if the requested information is not provided; (4)A right to representation, by oneself or an authorized representative.

Receiving a notification letter may be intimidating, especially if the IRS is telling you that there’s an error in your tax report. Don’t panic. There are ways to fix those problems by getting help. Depending on how you’ve been audited, you should carefully determine whether you need self-help tools, tax audit assistance, or full representation for your audit.

If resolving your audit issues seems simple, you can use online or self-help tools. The IRS publishes articles and guides that explain specific tax issues. Read those documents to find answers to questions you may have. If the IRS is simply asking you for additional document(s) for accuracy, you probably won’t need to buy tax audit assistance services or hire a tax lawyer. As long as you provide required documents, your audit will end.

There are various tax audit assistance programs, which can help you learn about what to expect and discover details of your audit. Services vary by companies and types of services. Typically, a tax professional will assist you in reviewing your audit notice and explain your options. In some cases, the tax professional will handle issues and paperwork to process your tax audit.

If you’re being charged with a serious penalty or a crime, then you should consider getting tax audit representation. If the IRS states that you made a serious mistake, you may be facing a large penalty. Hiring a tax lawyer is necessary when there are tax fraud or evasion issues. In that case, you should hire a tax professional or a tax lawyer, who will negotiate on your behalf, research any issues related to your audit, and communicate with the IRS tax agent to resolve the issues.

There are many resources and companies offering tax audit help, but you need to make sure you choose the right one for you. Make sure the service you choose will help you the get the result you want. Here’s a basic list of what you should look for. The tax professional must be trained and specialized in tax. The tax professional should be able to tell you what to expect and how to prepare for the audit. The tax professional should help you understand tax law. The tax professional’s office should be conveniently located (for tax audit representation). You should feel comfortable telling the tax professional your personal information.

Free Consultation with a Utah Tax Attorney

If you are here, you probably have a tax law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free tax law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506



Domestic Violence Law

Domestic Violence Law

Mandatory reporting laws are widespread in the United States. Some people are required to report in Utah. If you’re not sure if you have to report, call a criminal lawyer to discuss your situation. Domestic violence mandatory reporting requires that a medical professional report to the police when he or she knows or reasonably suspects that a patient has been injured as a result of domestic abuse. The details of mandatory reporting laws are quite distinct between states, however.

In California, for example, counselors and psychologists are not subject to mandatory reporting. Mandatory reporting applies only to medical professionals who have provided medical services for physical conditions. This is to encourage victims to attend counseling sessions for their mental health, even if they’re not ready to tell the police about the abuse. It’s important that this distinction is made, because in California, medical professionals are subject to criminal punishment if they fail to report abuse. What this means is that, if a victim is abused and goes to the hospital to treat the injuries, the physician absolutely must report the suspected abuse. The victim won’t be left in the dark, however. Federal law requires that the medical professional alert the patient if a mandatory report will be sent out (with exceptions). That way the victim can make plans to avoid their abuser if they fear further violence.
Only two states, New Jersey and Wyoming, do not mandate that medical professionals report, but that’s because they have even broader laws. In both states, any person who knows or reasonably suspects domestic abuse is required to report the abuse to police.

Much of the difficulty in escaping domestic violence is due to the fact that most victims share their lives with their abusers. They share the same home, they often share their finances, and frequently, they share a family.
Consider the shared home. If a victim reports domestic violence to the authorities, and the abuser is arrested, it’s not a guarantee that the abuser will be found guilty and convicted. Abusers who return to their homes turn to violence to take revenge on the victim. It’s therefore important that the victim look for other living arrangements.
The good news is that, in some states, if you’re a victim of domestic violence, it’s now possible to terminate your lease early without having to pay the rest of your lease. Keep in mind that you need to have either a police report documenting the abuse, or a restraining order against your abuser, in order to make use of early lease termination.

Domestic violence laws differ from state to state, sometimes significantly. These differences range from the very definition of domestic abuse – whether abuse must be physical, or whether it can be emotional, psychological, and financial – to the requirements under mandatory reporting laws. For example, in some states, medical professionals may have to report suspected abuse to the police. This is important because many women choose not to receive medical care if they know that their abuser will get in trouble.

Because of all these differences, the whole process of escaping a domestic violence situation depends on the state in which you live. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please read ahead to understand existing domestic violence law and how the differences from state to state may change the development of your case.

Many states differ on their arrest policies for domestic violence cases. The majority of states have adopted preferred arrest policies that require police to either arrest one or both parties at the scene, or to write a report justifying why an arrest is not made, and some states (for example, Utah, Wisconsin, and Minnesota) have even adopted mandatory arrest policies requiring that an officer make an arrest during a domestic violence situation, but only if the domestic violence meets certain criteria.
In states with mandatory arrest policies, police are encouraged not to leave the scene without making an arrest. Mandatory arrest policies are generally safer for the victim because, if the abuser isn’t arrested, he or she may escalate the violence against the victim as punishment for having contacted the authorities.

Criminal Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need help with a criminal law matter, please give our office a call for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506


Transferring Property Between Spouses

Transferring Property Between Spouses

An “interspousal transfer deed” transfers title (ownership) between a married couple. A gift given by one spouse to the other during the marriage is considered “separate” (owned separately), not “marital” (mutually-owned) property. This is important because through a deed, marital property can become separate property or vice versa, which is an important distinction in a divorce.

An interspousal transfer deed can be useful when one spouse has poor credit, and the couple wants to refinance their home. To receive a better mortgage interest rate, the couple may decide to use an interspousal transfer deed to transfer title to their home to the spouse with better credit.

What is a Quit Claim Deed?

A “quit claim deed” transfers whatever interest one spouse has in property to the other spouse. An important difference between an interspousal transfer deed and a quit claim deed is that a quit claim comes with no guarantees or promises about property ownership. Some examples of circumstances where a couple might use a quit claim deed are to transfer title to property as a result of divorce settlement, and when one spouse wants to give up interest in property.

Interspousal transfer deeds can be used to avoid tax liability when transferring property. When title to property is transferred, the county may impose a transfer tax and may reassess the value of the property which could result in higher property taxes. However, an interspousal transfer deed is a special kind of transfer that is exempt from transfer taxes and ultimately a cost-effective method of transferring property between spouses.

Quit claim deeds are very simple and use a form that is easy to find online or at office supply stores. However, with a quit claim deed one spouse may give up rights to certain property but not necessarily liability for any mortgage or lien on the property. A problem could arise if one spouse is awarded the marital home in a divorce and the other spouse uses a quit claim rather than interspousal transfer deed to transfer his or her interest. The spouse that gives up his or her interest to the house may still be responsible for one-half of the mortgage debt because their liability can’t be transferred through a Quit Claim Deed.

Preparing a Deed

A deed is a written document that legally transfers property from one person or entity to another. Through a deed, one spouse can give his or her own property to the other, and the property becomes the receiving spouse’s separate property. There are many ways to accomplish a property transfer, but two of the most common ways to transfer property in a divorce are through an interspousal transfer deed or quit claim deed. Whichever deed you decide to use, it’s important to make sure that the deed is completed and recorded correctly to be valid. The deed should be completed and must (1) be in writing (2) list the spouses involved in the transfer (3) identify the property being transferred by address and/or legal description (4) be signed before a notary public, and (5) be recorded in the county recorder’s where the property is located. It’s always best to make sure you have a Real Estate Lawyer

Divorce Attorney Free Consultation

When you need help with real estate or a divorce matter, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506


Tax Evasion Penalties

Tax Evasion Penalties

By now, you probably know that having unpaid taxes is a serious problem. The fees and penalties can really add up, significantly increasing the amount you owe the government. The good news is it’s usally not a criminal offense to have back taxes. But sometime

However, when you attempt to avoid the assessment or payment taxes owed by using illegal means, you may face criminal charges for Tax evasion. Common examples of tax evasion include: not declaring all your income, deliberately overstating expenses or deductions, or attempting to avoid detection by failing to file tax returns when you have taxable income.

Law on Tax Evasion Penalties

There’s a long list of potential penalties and consequences for tax evasion. Paying your taxes is a better deal than having any of the following happen to you.

Pay a Penalty

If you act with the purpose of avoiding or defeating any tax owed to the IRS, you could be fined up to $250,000. Even if you’re not formally charged with tax evasion, you will be assessed fines if you file your return more than 60 days after the due date. The failure-to-file penalty is 10 times more than the failure-to-pay penalty. So the IRS recommends that even if you can’t pay in full, you should file your tax return and pay as much as you can.

Pay Interest

The IRS is required by law to charge interest when you don’t pay on time. The interest accrues from the due date of your return (regardless of extensions) until you pay the amount you owe in full, including all interest and any penalty charges. Interest rates are variable and may change quarterly.

Tax Lien on Your Property

A federal tax lien is a legal claim to your property. The tax lien arises automatically when you don’t pay in full the taxes you owe within 10 days after the IRS makes a tax assessment. It will then send a notice of taxes owed and demand for payment. The IRS may also file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien in the public records, which notifies your creditors that the IRS has a claim against all your property, including property acquired by you after the filing of the Notice of Federal Tax Lien. Once a lien arises, the IRS generally can’t release the lien until the tax, penalty, interest, and recording fees are paid in full or until the IRS can’t legally collect the tax.

Lose Your Property

A levy is a legal seizure that takes your property (such as your house or car) or your rights to property (such as your income, bank account, retirement account or Social Security payments) to satisfy your tax debt. When property is seized (“levied”), it will be sold to help pay your tax debt.

Damage to Your Credit

The filing of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien may appear on your credit report and may harm your credit rating.

Lose Your Passport

The Department of State will not issue or renew your passport if you’ve been certified by the IRS as having a seriously delinquent tax debt, and may revoke a passport previously issued to such individual.

Face Criminal Charges

Tax evasion is a felony criminal offense. If you are charged with tax evasion, the United States Attorney’s Office will prosecute you in federal court.

Go to Prison

If you’re found guilty of tax evasion, you can go to federal prison for up to five years.

Forfeit Your Social Security Benefits

If you owe the IRS, 15 percent of your Social Security benefits can be taken each month until the debt is paid in full. The government uses the Federal Payment Levy Program to garnish your payments.

Tax Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a tax matter, please call Ascent Law for your free tax law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506


Employee Termination Law

Employee Termination Law

To protect yourself against a lawsuit by a
former employee, consider having that employee sign a release from liability as
he or she is departing. Include a clause where the employee grants you
permission to provide information to any future prospective employers and
promises not to sue you for providing such information.

In return for the release, offer some sort of
benefit. A court is much more likely to uphold an agreement where the employee
got something substantial in return for giving up his or her rights. Finally,
check with an attorney in your state, as each state requires specific language
to be in a valid release.

I just fired an employee, what do I tell the
other employees?

In most cases, it’s best not to tell other
employees that you fired an employee, or the reasons behind the firing. Rather,
tell other employees that you simply had to “let the employee go” or
say that “so and so is no longer with the company” and don’t go into
any detail. Consider making a brief statement to the other employees, in a
neutral tone that lets existing employees know who will be taking over the
departing employee’s duties.

Avoid the temptation to gossip or speculate
and don’t be spiteful towards the departing employee, no matter what they did.
Gossiping or bad mouthing a former employee can land you in court for
defamation, so play it safe and be professional.

Should I be careful in giving an employment
reference for a worker I had to fire?

When you fire the employee, tell them up
front that you won’t be able to be a positive reference for them. This alone
can avoid potential problems, since most employees will get the hint and not
use you as an employment reference.

If you do end up serving as an employment
reference for a former employee whom you fired, then the best practice is to
keep your comments brief and factual. Telling a potential employer anything
about the former employee that you can’t verify as factually accurate is
grounds for a defamation lawsuit, so be very careful what you say.

Do I legally have to give severance pay to
employees when they leave?

Generally, there is no legal requirement to
offer severance pay unless you’ve led your employee to believe that they are
entitled to receive some form of severance. Common ways this can happen are
promises made during an initial interview, employment contracts, talking about
offering severance in an employee handbook or simply offering severance pay
routinely to other employees. If you do routinely offer severance to employees
but don’t want to offer it for certain other employees, make sure you put it in
writing, because offering severance in a routine fashion may create a legal
basis for an employee to believe that he or she is also entitled to severance

Many employers do offer severance pay for
long-time employees because severance pay can help a fired or laid off employee
make the transition to a new job much easier. Severance packages also reduce
feelings of anger among former employees which can lead to fewer lawsuits and
can also serve to soothe any guilt from employers for having to let employees

Are there any legal requirements about when I
have to give employees their final paycheck?

Most states have laws that require employers
to send out final paychecks by a certain date after an employee has been
terminated. This may mean that normal payroll processing time would be too
slow, so make sure that people in payroll are aware it’s a final check that
needs special attention and priority. Finally, in many states the time you have
before the final paycheck is due is often based on how the employee was
terminated, so check your state’s laws to find out how long you have.

Employer Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help with an employment issue in your business, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506


Toxic Mold Law

Toxic Mold Law

mold problems in homes and commercial buildings have dramatically increased in
recent years. Many of these problems result in legal claims. Experts and
lawyers who handle mold-related claims give various reasons for this increase
— including the increased emphasis on making buildings airtight; quick
construction; faulty building techniques and materials; and increasingly
complex building designs.

many people have heard of “black mold,” in fact there are a variety
of strains that can cause ill health effects to residents and occupants in
homes, businesses, and places of employment. If you feel that you have been
exposed to toxic mold in your home or place of business, you may wish to
contact an attorney or law firm specializing in mold- related claims, to talk
about your situation and protect your legal rights. Following is an overview
discussion of toxic mold.

What Causes Toxic Mold in Homes and Buildings?

spores are everywhere in the natural environment. They enter homes and
buildings through windows, open doors, pets, or attached to people. Once the
spore is in the home or building it must have abundant moisture, a food source,
and a certain temperature range in order to grow.

infiltration is the main cause of building mold. Moisture may come from a wide
variety of sources. Many modern homes and buildings are very airtight. This is
great for efficiency, but not so great for allowing the structure to dry. For
example, once moisture gets in through a pipe leak, faulty windows, roof leaks,
or other sources, the water cannot evaporate. Mold is drawn to this moisture,
and may grow on wet materials such as wood, insulation, ceiling tiles, and

Mold – Warning Signs

are a variety of warning signs that should lead a person to investigate a home
or commercial building for potential mold infestation. The earlier an
investigation takes place, the better the possibility that a home or building
owner can reduce possible damages and adverse health effects caused by mold

are some of warning signs that may indicate the presence of dangerous mold:

  • Visible mold
  • Discoloration or
    water stains on internally facing walls or ceilings
  • Discoloration or
    water stains on externally facing walls
  • Areas of
    standing water or condensation on floors, walls, or window sills
  • “Musty”

Types of Mold

are many types of mold that may occur in homes and office buildings — some
sources say that there are over 100,000 different species. Some mold species are
considered harmless, while others can cause potentially serious adverse health

most common mold types found in homes and offices are:

  • Cladosporium
  • Penicillium
  • Aspergillus
  • Alternaria
  • Stachybotrys

Why is Mold Harmful to Humans?

molds produce volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) or toxins as
byproducts of their metabolism. VOCs generally evaporate at room temperature.
In fact, when a person smells a “musty” odor, he or she is actually
smelling the volatile organic compounds. Some VOCs produce adverse health
effects in certain predisposed individuals. In contrast to VOCs, toxins do not
evaporate easily, and some are considered very dangerous to humans. Regardless
of whether a particular strain of mold produces VOCs or toxins, all molds
should be considered potential health risks, and the presence of mold should
lead to investigation, cleaning, and/or removal.

Illnesses Caused by Mold Exposure

of the most common illnesses associated with mold exposure are:

  • Worsening of
  • Respiratory
  • Fevers
  • Nasal and sinus
  • Burning and
    watering eyes
  • Worsening of
    asthma symptoms
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Flu-like
  • Skin irritation
  • Headaches

Mold Exposure Illnesses: Who is Most at Risk?

It is
generally accepted that those who are most at risk of illness from mold
exposure include:

  • People with
  • People with
    conditions or diseases that weaken immune defenses
  • People with lung
  • The elderly
  • Young children

Real Estate Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help with real estate law, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506


Living Together Contracts

Living Together Contracts

It doesn’t make sense to enter into
an agreement in every relationship that you may have. You would make quite the
impression showing up to a first date with a pen and paper in hand. Rather,
living together contracts are more appropriate for long-term relationships
where a significant amount of money, property and debt are expected to
accumulate. These agreements may also be a good idea for older couples, to
ensure that property is distributed upon their death as they wish. Finally,
couples who just don’t believe in the institution of marriage, for whatever
reason, should strongly consider such an agreement. Even if you’re morally or philosophically opposed to marriage, it’s still smart to define the
relationship’s rights, obligations and how property is to be distributed.

Legality of Living Together

Contracts that function similar to
marriage between unmarried couples have not always been on sound legal ground.
The uncertainty behind nonmarital agreements came to an end in 1976,
however, when the California State Supreme Court established the now widely held
justification behind allowing nonmarital agreements. In the case, Marvin
v. Marvin
, the California Supreme Court held that:

  • Unmarried couples may enter into written and oral contracts that cover rights often associated with marriage (such as the rights to property acquired during the relationship).
  • Unmarried couples may create “implied” nonmarital agreements, without ever writing it down or expressly speaking about it. Rather, a court can evaluate the couple’s actions to determine if such an agreement has been implied in their relationship.
  • If no implied agreement is found, a judge can presume that the parties intended to “deal fairly with each other”, and grant one party rights and obligations consistent with equity and fairness.

Although most people don’t realize
it, marriage is a legal contract between two people. It defines the
rights and obligations that each party owes each other. It shouldn’t be
surprising then, to learn that unmarried couples can create contracts between
themselves that also define the rights and obligations that each partner owes
the other. These contracts go by different names in different states but are
often referred to as nonmarital agreements or living together contracts.

These contracts function similarly to prenuptial agreements, and set forth how money, property and debt among other things will be handled during and even after the relationship. It may seem extremely unromantic to ask your partner to make a contract with you, but in the process it will tell you a lot about yourself, your partner and the maturity of your relationship.

What Goes In a Living Together Contract

Living together contracts don’t
need to be overly complex or contain legal-sounding language. To the contrary,
it’s a better idea to make the agreement in plain language, and include as
much or as little detail as the couple feels is necessary. Here are some items
to consider:

  • Property accumulated during the
    : it’s important to define how property acquired during the
    relationship should be treated. For example, if one person buys something
    during the relationship, do both parties own 50% of it? Does whoever
    bought it own it? What if the item is purchased using personal savings?
  • Property acquired by gift or inheritance: generally, people like
    to keep items received as gifts or by inheritance as separate property. If
    you and your partner want to do this, you need to write it down so there
    is no confusion.
  • Property from before the relationship: many people like
    to keep items received before the relationship began as separate property.
    If you and your partner want to do this, you need to write it down so
    there is no confusion.
  • Expenses: make sure you cover how expenses will be
    paid. This can be a huge area of disagreement, so it’s important to write
    down the expectations. For example, you might split them 50/50, make it
    proportional to income, or just pool your resources into one account and
    pay jointly.
  • Separation or death: although you may not
    want to consider it, it’s important to define what happens when the
    relationship ends. It’s important not to leave the status of property and
    money in limbo if a couple splits up.
  • Dispute resolution: in the case that a
    dispute arises, couples may want to define how it should be resolved. A
    typical example would include using mediation or arbitration before taking
    the matter to court.

Living Together Contract Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help, please call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506