Articles Posted in IRS audit advice

TIGTA study finds modest audit rate increase for C corps but marked increase for passthroughs ( S Corps)

Trends in Compliance Activities Through Fiscal Year 2007, TIGTA Reference Number 2008095

A recently released TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) report reveals that despite a slight uptick in FY 2007, IRS audits of corporations have declined dramatically over the last ten years. However, audits of S corporation and partnership returns increased substantially over the same period.

Enhanced tax breaks make it an especially good time to buy business autos

Mike Habib, EA Thanks to economic woes in general and financial trouble for auto manufacturers in particular, it’s a good time to shop for a new vehicle, if you can afford to do so. Thanks to bonus first year depreciation deductions under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, it’s an even better time to buy if the vehicle is going to be used for business. This Practice Alert takes a close look at the enhanced first year write-offs that are available to new business autos, light trucks or vans that are placed in service this year.

Bonus depreciation basics. In general, for property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2007, in tax years ending after that date, taxpayers get an additional depreciation deduction in the placed-in-service year equal to 50% of the adjusted basis of “qualified property.” (Code Sec. 168(k)(1)) This is property that meets all of these conditions:

    • It is property falling within one of four statutory categories, the most important of which is property to which MACRS applies with a recovery period of 20 years or less. (Code Sec. 168(k)(2)(A))
    • The original use of the property commences with the taxpayer after Dec. 31, 2007. Original use is the first use to which the property is put, whether or not that use corresponds to the taxpayer’s use of the property. (Code Sec. 168(k)(2)(A))
    • The property is acquired by the taxpayer (a) after Dec. 31, 2007, and before Jan. 1, 2009, but only if no binding written contract for the acquisition is in effect before Jan. 1, 2008, or (b) pursuant to a binding written contract which was entered into after Dec. 31, 2007, and before Jan. 1, 2009. (Code Sec. 168(k)(2)(A)(iii))
    • The property is placed in service after Dec. 31, 2007, and before Jan. 1, 2009 (the placed-in-service date is extended for one year for certain property with a recovery period of ten years or longer and certain transportation property). (Code Sec. 168(k)(2)(B), Code Sec. 168(k)(2)(C))

    If all of the Code Sec. 168(k) requirements are met, bonus first-year depreciation automatically applies to qualified property, unless the taxpayer “elects out” under Code Sec. 168(k)(2)(C)(iii).

    Under pre-Stimulus Act regs that taxpayers may rely on pending further guidance, the bonus depreciation allowance is found by multiplying the qualifying property’s unadjusted depreciable basis by 50%. (Reg. § 1.168(k)-1(d)(1)(A)) The unadjusted depreciable basis is basis for gain or loss purposes, before depreciation, amortization, or depletion, less a number of adjustments, including a reduction in basis for personal use (i.e., use other than for trade or business or investment purposes), and a reduction for any portion of the property expensed under Code Sec. 179. (Reg. § 1.168(k)-1(a)(2)(iii))

    What are your chances for being audited? IRS’s 2007 data book provides some clues

    Mike Habib, EA

    IRS has issued its annual data book, which provides statistical data on its fiscal year (FY) 2007 activities. As this article explains, the data book provides valuable information about how many tax returns IRS examines (audits), and what categories of returns IRS is focusing its resources on, as well as data on other enforcement activities, such as collections.

    What are the chances of being examined? A total of 1,384,563 individual income tax returns were audited during FY 2007 (Oct. 1, 2006 through Sept. 30, 2007) out of a total of 134.5 million individual returns that were filed in the previous year This works out to 1.0% of all individual returns filed (slightly higher than the 0.97% audit rate for the preceding year).

    Distressed asset trust transactions identified as listed transactions

    Mike Habib, EA

    In a Notice, the IRS has identified a distressed asset trust (DAT) transaction as a listed transaction under Reg. § 1.6011-4(b)(2), Code Sec. 6111 and Code Sec. 6112. In such a transaction, a tax-indifferent party contributes one or more distressed assets with a high basis and low fair market value to a trust or series of trusts and sub-trusts, and a U.S. taxpayer acquires an interest in the trust for the purpose of shifting a built-in loss from the tax-indifferent party to the U.S. taxpayer that has not incurred the economic loss.

    Reconstructing Your Records

    Mike Habib, EA

    Reconstructing records after a disaster may be essential for tax purposes, getting federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. Records that you need to prove your loss may have been damaged or destroyed in a casualty. While it may not be easy, reconstructing your records may be essential for:

    Want to stop a wage levy or a bank levy? Read on….

    Mike Habib, EA

    If you have not noticed, the IRS is getting more aggressive in their collection, and audit activities. Enforcement actions is at its highest level for years now!

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