Articles Posted in IRS audit guide

Continued from our prior blog post.

The Most Common IRS Red Flags that could trigger a Tax Audit:

16. Claiming 100% business use of a vehicle – When you depreciate a car, you have to list on IRS Form 4562 of what percentage of its use during the year that you claim (testify on a Federal form by your signature) was for business. Claiming 100% business use of an automobile, especially if you have no other vehicles available for use, can be a red flag; so being conservative here is advisable.

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No one really wants to be audited by the IRS. It’s time consuming, and quite frankly, a headache. You’ve probably wondered at some point who gets audited and why, as well as how you can avoid it. While there is no fool-proof way to avoid an audit; however, there are ways to reduce your chances.

The IRS audits slightly more than 1% of all individual tax returns each year because they do not have the resources and personnel to examine more than that. They do, however, look to audit the returns that are more likely to uncover overstated deductions, unreported income, false claims, or taxpayers that haven’t filed tax returns in a while.

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IRS Audit Overview

Pre-audit Analysis
An in-depth pre-audit analysis is essential to conducting a quality examination. IRS Examiners, Revenue Agents, should prepare a comparative analysis of the taxpayer’s returns for multiple years to assist in the identification of:

• large, unusual and questionable items,
• missing schedules, statements and/or elections
• inconsistencies between different years, and
• audit potential.

A successful IRS taxpayer audit depends upon what is done before the interview. The IRS examiner should obtain as much information about the taxpayer, be organized, and prepare an interview outline that is tailored to the taxpayer under examination. As preliminary information is gathered, it should be carefully reviewed and documented for the IRS tax audit.

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Did you receive an IRS tax audit for your vineyard?

Code Sec. 179 expensing has become a potent tax saver, thanks to current law’s $500,000 deduction ceiling. So it should come as no surprise that taxpayers and their advisers are on the lookout for assets that potentially qualify as Code Sec. 179 property eligible for expensing. One such class of property is vineyards and orchards. IRS has published an Audit Techniques Guide (ATG) turning a thumbs down on expensing for such property, but its conclusion appears to be based on prior law. A more recent ATG leaves the door open to a better result. This Practice Alert presents the case for treating vineyards and orchards as Code Sec. 179 property and covers IRS’s current “conflicted” guidance as well.

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Do you owe back Taxes? Did you receive an audit letter from the IRS?

First, do not to panic. The IRS uses various letters to communicate with taxpayers about IRS back taxes and IRS tax audits. As with most IRS communications, there are strict deadlines associated with these letters that you have to meet. You should seriously review the items that are being challenged and prepare your factual response in a clear way to the IRS. As taxpayer, you can represent yourself, or hire a professional tax representative as a power of attorney to resolve your tax matters. Selecting a tax return for audit does not always suggest that the taxpayer has either made an error or been dishonest. In fact, some audits result in a refund to the taxpayer or acceptance of the return without change.

We represent clients before the IRS to resolve their tax controversies. The tax law is complicated and a professional will be better able to guide you through the audit experience, or to effectively resolve your back tax matter.

TIGTA assesses how well IRS Examination function scrutinizes all open tax periods during audits [Audit Report No. 2009-30-034]:

IRS Examination function employees do not always appropriately inspect and examine prior and/or subsequent year tax returns when warranted, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) said in a new audit.

Auditors reviewed 68 statistical sample cases and found that 13 (or 21%) of the cases warranted scrutiny of additional returns but none were selected for examination. In 26 (or 38%) of the 68 cases, “there was no evidence that examiners inspected either the prior or subsequent year return to identify similar issues to the years under examination or if large, unusual, or questionable items existed that would warrant examination,” the audit said. Factors that might be considered include the comparative size of an expense, if the nature of the item is significant, the beneficial effect of the manner in which an item is reported, and missing items on the return.

IRS Tax Help

by Mike Habib, EA

UNFILED BACK TAX RETURNS

Do you have back tax returns that are Unfiled? Are you missing the records and forms necessary to file your tax returns? I have the experience and procedures to help you in reconstructing the records necessary to file your back tax returns. The IRS will not allow you to file an offer in compromise or get an installment agreement if you are not current on filing your back tax returns. If you have a refund coming to you and you file more than 3 years past the due date, the IRS will keep the refund. It is important to get your past due returns filed and I can prepare them for you. Get tax help now.

IRS Tax Audit Help

If you have been notified by the IRS that your income tax return has been selected for examination, it is very important that you do not disregard notices. If enough time has passed without cooperation on your part, you will lose any right you have to present your side of the story to explain the income or deductions on your return. We have seen many taxpayers who have ignored IRS requests and ended up paying tax, penalty and interest on overstated income or legitimate deductions.

If you are being audited, we can represent you before IRS and advocate your position to explain and push for every valid deduction possible under audit. If you have received an audit notice, please call us as soon as possible so that we can begin working on your case while it is in the early stage of the audit.

Offer in Compromise – OIC Tax Help

The IRS, the State, and other taxing authorities would allow individual or business taxpayers that cannot fully pay their entire tax liability to settle their tax obligation through the Offer in Compromise Program. This is a great opportunity for the qualified taxpayer to settle their entire tax debt for less than they actually owe. The IRS, the State, and other taxing authorities sets specific rules and guidelines for accepting an Offer in Compromise. When evaluating an Offer in Compromise, the taxpayer’s past, current and future financial situation are analyzed before an Offer in Compromise can be accepted. Contact us today to see if you would qualify for an Offer in Compromise, as each individual or business financial situation is different.

Installment Agreement – IA Tax Help

The IRS, the State, and other taxing authorities would allow individual or business taxpayers that cannot fully pay their entire tax liability to settle their tax obligation through an Installment Agreement which allows taxpayers to pay their taxes owed through monthly installment payments. We can negotiate the payment amount and the time frame for the installment agreement on your behalf. When we establish an Installment Agreement for you, it would be a negotiated amount you can afford to pay and live with based on your financial condition. To effectuate an installment agreement, the taxpayer must be compliant by being current with all tax filing requirements before entering into an installment agreement with the IRS, the State or other taxing authority.

Currently Non Collectible – CNC Tax Help

Currently Non Collectible – CNC is accomplished when the IRS holds off an individual or business taxpayer’s account from active enforcement collection efforts. There are specific rules and requirements that a taxpayer must meet before a CNC status be accomplished. The IRS would not pursue enforcement collection activity against the taxpayer and possibly the statute of limitations on the entire tax liability will run. CNC is a temporary status and if the taxpayer’s financial situation changes, the IRS could start enforcement collection on the delinquent tax account.

Wage Levy / Wage Garnishment / Wage Attachment Tax Help

The IRS, the State and other taxing authorities are actively collecting taxes for the United States Treasury, the State and other localities. If an individual or a business taxpayer can not or refuses to pay their taxes, the IRS, the State and other taxing authority will enforce collection activities through direct contact such as field visits, demand letters, and collection phone calls. The taxpayer should never disregards the demands for delinquent tax payment as the IRS, the State and other taxing authority will be exercising their levy power to collect their delinquent taxes. Wage levy and wage garnishment is enforced to collect the delinquent taxes owed by the taxpayer. Contact us today to negotiate the release of your wage garnishment, and stop your wage levy and save your paycheck.

Bank Levy Release Tax Help

The IRS, the State and other taxing authorities are actively collecting taxes for the United States Treasury, the State and other localities. If an individual or a business taxpayer can not or refuses to pay their taxes, the IRS, the State and other taxing authority will enforce collection activities through direct contact such as field visits, demand letters, and collection phone calls. The taxpayer should never disregards the demands for delinquent tax payment as the IRS, the State and other taxing authority will be exercising their levy power to collect their delinquent taxes. The bank levy is enforced to collect the delinquent taxes owed by the taxpayer. Contact us today to negotiate the release of your bank levy, and save your bank account from being frozen or wiped out.

Payroll Tax Problem Representation Tax Help

We actively represent business taxpayers with payroll tax problems before the IRS and or the State. We help business owners and corporate officers understand and adhere to various payroll tax requirements. Our clients usually never meet or deal with the IRS or the State directly, instead we handle all the payroll tax resolution directly with the IRS and or the State. Delinquent payroll tax is a very serious matter and should be addressed quickly for a favorable resolution as business owners, corporate officers and potentially other employees could be personally liable. Businesses should be current and compliant to reach a final settlement.

Taxpayer Account Review Tax Help

The Taxpayer Account Review service is to help individual and business taxpayers obtain specific balances and information about their tax account with the IRS, the State, or any taxing authority. Most taxpayers receive inaccurate and usually incomplete information from the IRS, the State, or other taxing authority. The Taxpayer Account Review is vital for taxpayers to receive exact and accurate information about their tax account including penalties and interest assessed. We will provide you a detailed account break down for the years in question detailing tax amounts, any credits or payments, and penalties and interest assessed. This is a great tool for root cause analysis to find out what is driving your tax liability

Penalty Abatement Tax Help

For most taxpayers, the accumulated interest and penalties are as much as, or more, than their original tax debt! If this is your situation, we can help by requesting what’s called a Penalty Abatement. A penalty abatement works like this: If we can show reasonable cause, the IRS may agree to reduce or even eliminate your penalties altogether. What’s reasonable cause? Generally, some kind of hardship beyond your control which prevented you from paying your taxes. It can be as simple as explaining to the IRS that your basement flooded, that you received bad tax advice, or that you or one of your family members suffers from a severe health problem. We can tell you whether you are a candidate for a penalty abatement when you call for your free consultation.

Innocent Spouse Relief Tax Help

An Innocent Spouse is spouse “A” who has become liable for income taxes from a joint return filed with spouse “B” when spouse “B” has caused the income taxes to underpaid by mistake or fraud, and spouse “A” signed the return believing the return to be true and correct. For spouse “A” to be entitled to relief under the Innocent Spouse rules, spouse “A” must be able to prove when signing the returns, he or she did not know or have reason to know that at the time filing, the return either understated income or overstated deductions.

Federal Tax Lien Help

Federal tax liens are a public record stating that you owe federal taxes and are filed in the county you live. Because the tax liens are public records they will show up on your credit report. This often makes it difficult or impossible for a taxpayer to obtain financing, even for an automobile or home. The tax liens need to be reviewed to determine if they are valid. If the tax liens are valid, a strategy must be developed to deal with the IRS tax liabilities.

IRS explains how to claim credit for qualified fuel cell and qualified microturbine property A new Notice carries interim guidance on the terms and conditions that must be met by taxpayers that want to claim the Code Sec. 48 credit for fuel cells and microturbines.

Background. A taxpayer may be eligible to claim (on Form 3468) a number of energy credits, including the following credits added by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58). In each case, the percentage is applied to the basis of eligible energy property placed in service during the year:

  • 30% for qualified fuel cell property, (Code Sec. 48(a)(2)(A)(i)(I)) i.e., a fuel cell power plant with a nameplate capacity of at least 0.5 kilowatt of electricity using an electrochemical process, and an electricity only generation efficiency of greater than 30%. The credit can’t exceed an amount equal to $500 for each 0.5 kilowatt of capacity. The credit isn’t available after 2008. (Code Sec. 48(c))
  • 10% for qualified microturbine property, (Code Sec. 48(a)(2)(A)(ii), Code Sec. 48(a)(3)(A)(iv)) i.e., a stationary microturbine powerplant with a nameplate capacity of less than 2,000 kilowatts, and an electricity only generation efficiency of not less than 26% at International Standard Organization conditions. A credit for qualified microturbine property can’t exceed $200 for each kilowatt of the property’s capacity. The credit is not available after 2008. (Code Sec. 48(c)(2))

No credit is allowed for property unless it is depreciable or amortizable; its construction, reconstruction or erection is completed by the taxpayer or, if acquired by the taxpayer, its original use begins with the taxpayer; and it meets the official quality and performance standards in effect at the time of acquisition. (Code Sec. 48(a)(3))

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.

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

Mike Habib, EA

myIRSTaxRelief.com

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).