What are your chances for being audited? IRS’s 2007 data book provides some clues
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).
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!
Tax Return Preparer Fraud
Since I recently represented an innocent couple who were victims of Tax Return Preparer Fraud, and successfully helped them in their audit, I thought you might be interested in the info below.
Per the IRS:
IRS gets tougher on variable prepaid forward contracts with share lending arrangements Variable Prepaid Forward Contracts Incorporating Share Lending Arrangements
An IRS coordinated issue paper for all industries concludes that variable prepaid forward contract (VPFC) transactions that incorporate a share lending or similar agreement permitting the counterparty to borrow or dispose of the pledged shares results in a current taxable sale of the underlying stock.
Observation: VPFCs are sophisticated tools used by wealthy individuals with large stock gains who want to cash out some of their shares but defer the tax until a later year.
IRS tax problem, IRS penalty, IRS Tax court ruling in favor of taxpayer
Tax Court found that it could hear challenge to frivolous return penalty before rejecting summary judgment in favor of IRS
Callahan (2008), 130 TC No. 3
IRS targets tool reimbursement plans that recharacterize wages
Employee Tool & Equipment Alert
on IRS’s website https://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=178028,00.html
IRS has established a cross divisional team to address significant concerns with employee tool and equipment plans that purport to be valid accountable plans. Taxpayers that are considering implementing these plans, which are widely marketed to various industries, including the automotive, heavy equipment, construction, aircraft maintenance, agriculture, and other industries, are cautioned to be wary of them.
Music composer tax related capital gain treatment
IRS Temp reg describes how and when to elect capital gain treatment for self-created musical works
T.D. 9379, 02/07/2008, Reg. § 1.1221-3T; Preamble to Prop Reg 02/07/2008, Prop Reg § 1.1221-3
Employment tax penalty abatement, Payroll tax problem, Abate tax penalty
Court says bank error (not employee error) may be reasonable cause to abate employment tax assessment
Don Johnson Motors, Inc. v. U.S., DC TX, 101 AFTR 2d 2008-370, Civil Action No. B-06-047, 12/21/07