San Francisco Tax Lawyer
At the Law Offices of San Francisco tax lawyer Jonathan C. Lee, we help our clients with every aspect of their financial well-being, from business formation to drafting wills, from defending audits to probate administration. If you need help with the legal aspects of structuring or protecting your business or personal financial health, call business and tax attorney Jonathan C. Lee at (415) 685-0813.Do You Need Help with a Tax Planning or Enforcement Matter?
In 1789, Benjamin Franklin famously wrote: “in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Franklin’s comment referred to the United States Constitution, and he was expressing the hope that the Constitution would endure, but that the only things he was sure would endure were death and taxes. Franklin’s words have proven true in more ways than one, but even Franklin himself, wise as he was, could not possibly conceive the excessive number of taxes that Americans face today:
- Sales taxes
- Inheritance Taxes
- Business Taxes
- Capital Gains Taxes
- Property Taxes
- Income Taxes
- Payroll Taxes (such as Social Security and Medicare)
- Estate Taxes
- Gift Taxes
- Excise Taxes (alcohol, gas, hotels, airline tickets, etc.)
- Import Taxes
Like it or not, taxes—and a lot of them—are an aspect of every facet of our financial life, from being born (as a deduction on our parent’s income tax returns), purchasing the goods and services we need to live (through sales and excise taxes), getting a job (income and payroll taxes), running a business (business taxes), and even dying (estate and inheritance taxes).
Unfortunately, even some of the most mundane choices we make—what type of car to purchase, whether we should have dental work done now or in the next calendar year, or whether we want to purchase a television now or wait until it goes on sale—usually has some sort of tax consequence. Yet many people do not pay attention to these tax consequences over the long run.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan C. Lee, our San Francisco tax attorney can help you to see the benefits of making wise choices in how you structure your business and personal affairs, so that you can protect your financial well-being.Do You Need Tax or Estate Planning Advice for Yourself or Your Business?
The amount of money each American pays out in taxes over a lifetime might surprise you. In 2011, Forbes Magazine noted a study which calculated the total federal income tax paid out by someone who, annually over their lifetime (40 years of employment), earned the equivalent of the average income of currently just over $45,000. The lifetime total tax bill topped $350,000. And that does not even count the taxes paid to cover state income taxes, sales and excise taxes, property taxes, or even payroll taxes.
Yet, while many people complain about taxes and tax rates, few do any sophisticated tax planning. This is somewhat surprising, considering the tremendous financial impact that taxes can have on one’s financial health. At same time, however, it is not surprising: people are so used to giving the government a share of the take nearly every time money exchanges hands that they begin to ignore the small, incremental impacts on their pockets.
And while some people think that there is no way to avoid all of these tax impacts, that is not true. There are steps you can take to avoid many of these costs, or to reduce their size.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Lee, we understand the tax and legal ramifications of many of your everyday financial decisions, and we know the significant difference that good planning can have on your financial bottom line, whether it is your business or your personal life or both. Through careful planning, education, and advice, we can help you to structure your business or your estate to legally avoid paying unnecessary taxes, to protect the assets and goodwill that you have, and to make sure that you get to keep the money you earn for the things that matter the most to you.Are You Facing a Tax Investigation or Audit? If So, I Can Help
Between all of the types of taxes that may be owed to various state and federal taxing authorities, and given the volumes of rules and regulations that govern what is due or excluded from each of these types of taxes, as well as the varying rates that apply, both individuals and corporations might be forgiven for getting muddled now and then in the filing and payment of taxes.
The fact is, even many professional tax preparers can get confused, not only because of the sheer volume of laws and rules that govern taxes, but because of the constant changes to tax laws that come about through new state and federal statutes, new IRS regulations, and new revenue rulings. In fact, for each of the last 25 years, Money Magazine has created financial records for a fictional family and submitted the information to a different group of 50 different professional accountants. In no year did more than 20% of the accountants prepare an error-free return.
The bottom line is: if 50 professional tax preparers can arrive at different results, so can the IRS, the California Franchise Tax Board, the California Board of Equalization, or any other tax agency, board, body, or bureaucrat.
The downside to all of the confusion is that many people and businesses find themselves the target of audits, penalties, and tax investigations, even when they firmly believe they have prepared and filed their tax returns and forms—and the plethora of schedules and attachments that go along with them—completely, accurately, and in good faith.
The complexity of the tax code virtually ensures that, when a return is scrutinized in minute detail, a legitimate question on the validity of a given entry can arise, particularly when one considers the different types of accounting rules that may apply in large business operations or on personal returns for items such as depreciating assets, amortization schedules, investment losses, operating expenses, and so on.
If there is any positive side to the complexity and ambiguity, however, it is that there is, as a general rule, frequently room for argument.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan Lee, we make it our business to understand the tax code better than the tax enforcers, and we will work with you to defend your tax filings or, if necessary, to negotiate for settlements or make modifications to your filings, while still protecting you from costly penalties.
Anyone who has been the subject of an audit or investigation can testify to the fact that any kind of tax investigation is not a welcome experience, even when matters turn out well. By representing you before the IRS or any other tax authority, our San Francisco tax lawyer can protect your rights and make sure that you are not steamrolled by intimidating government officials. We know the tax code and we understand how audits work, and we will stand by you as your advocate, so that you do not have to face them alone.Call the Law Offices of Jonathan Lee, and Find Out How We Can Help
If you need assistance with a business law or tax matter, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan C. Lee at (415) 685-0813, or use the online consultation request form right here on this website.