Posts Tagged "audit"

Seeing Inside the Mind of the IRS

Posted on Aug 6, 2018

Using the IRS Audit Technique Guidelines (ATGs) While most of us are never audited, when it happens it can feel a lot like a lamb thrown in the room with a lion. The IRS auditor does these audits every day. They know what to look for and can ask leading questions that you may easily answer incorrectly. So what are some good tips when you are in the cross-hairs of an IRS audit? Address correspondence issues with the IRS timely. Do not let the problem get to a point that a face-to-face examination is required.   Ask for help. Do this right away. Too many clients think the problem is easy to resolve, but inadvertently say the wrong thing or open another audit issue inadvertently.   Understand what is being asked. Clearly understanding the core question can simplify the solution. Why is the IRS asking to see your 1099’s? Do they have a form that you do not? Why are they asking about your small business profits? Are they thinking your business is a hobby?   See the Audit the way the IRS auditor is trained to see it. The IRS has certain areas in which they focus training for their auditors. These are published in Audit Technique Guides (ATGs) and are available for review on their web site at www.irs.gov. They are invaluable in identifying areas for potential audits AND can help you understand what the IRS likes to question. While most of the ATGs are in the business area, reviewing the topics can be useful in understanding where audit risks are and what you can do to prepare yourself in case of an audit.   Common ATGs Architects Business Consultants Child Care Provider Farmers Ministers Veterinary Medicine Art Galleries Capitalization versus Repairs Construction Hobbies (activity not engaged for profit) Partnerships Winery/Vineyards Attorneys Cash Based Business Research Credits Lawsuit Awards/Settlement Retail   If you have activity in one of these areas, it may make sense to understand what the IRS auditor is trained to look for prior getting too far into the audit process. By reviewing the specific ATG you will know the process of the IRS audit and understand how the auditor will proceed. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Audit-proof your shareholder loan

Posted on Jul 6, 2018

If you’re a business owner and your company lends you money, you’ll enter it in the books as a shareholder loan. However, if your return is audited, the IRS will scrutinize the loan to see whether it is really disguised wages or a dividend taxable to you as income. Knowing what the IRS might look at may be useful when you structure the arrangement. Here are some items that will be considered if you’re audited: Your relationship with the business. First, the IRS will look at your relationship to the company. If you’re the sole shareholder with full control over earnings, that may weaken your case that the loan is genuine. On the other hand, if you’re one of several shareholders and none of the others received similar payments, that suggests it may be a genuine loan. Loan details. The IRS will want to know all the details related to your loan. This may include whether or not you signed a formal promissory note, if you pledge any security against the loan and if the loan has a specific maturity date or a repayment schedule. Other questions may come up about the rate of interest you’re paying and if you missed any payments. The more businesslike the terms of the loan, the more it will appear to be a genuine debt. Other financial details. In addition to loan specifics, the IRS may ask you if your company is paying you a salary that’s in line with the work you perform, and if the company pays dividends. Whether the IRS taxes you on the loan will depend on all these factors. If you’ve paid attention to the details, the loan should withstand IRS scrutiny. Contact us if you’d like more information about getting a loan from your business. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Don’t let scant tax records be your downfall

Posted on May 21, 2018

Tax records should be kept year-round, not hastily assembled just for your annual tax appointment. Without tax records, you can lose valuable deductions or have unsubstantiated items disallowed if you’re audited. Generally, returns can be audited up to three years after filing. However, if income is underreported by more than 25 percent, the IRS can collect underpaid taxes up to six years later. In other words, you need good records to verify what you report on your tax return, and you should hang on to those records for seven years. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Additional refunds result from fiscal year 2017 audits

Posted on May 7, 2018

Even though your chance to be audited may be slim, there’s still a bright side if you do. You could get an additional refund. Of the approximately 1.1 million audits performed in fiscal year (FY) 2017, nearly 34,000 resulted in extra refunds for taxpayers. Those additional refunds totaled more than $6 billion. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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The best way to avoid an audit: Preparation

Posted on Jan 24, 2018

Getting audited by the IRS is no fun. Some taxpayers are selected for random audits every year, but the chances of that happening to you are very small. You are much more likely to fall under the IRS’s gaze if you make one of several common mistakes. That means your best chance of avoiding an audit is by doing things right before you file your return this year. Here are some suggestions: Don’t leave anything out. Missing or incomplete information on your return will trigger an audit letter automatically, since the IRS gets copies of the same tax forms (such as W-2s and 1099s) that you do. Double-check your numbers. Bad math will get you audited. People often make calculation errors when they do their returns, especially if they do them without assistance. In 2016, the IRS sent out more than 1.6 million examination letters correcting math errors. The most frequent errors occurred in people’s calculation of their amount of tax due, as well as the number of exemptions and deductions they claimed. Don’t stand out. The IRS takes a closer look at business expenses, charitable donations and high-value itemized deductions. IRS computers reference statistical data on which amounts of these items are typical for various professions and income levels. If what you are claiming is significantly different from what is typical, it may be flagged for review. Have your documentation in order. Keep your records in order by being meticulous about your recordkeeping. Items that will support the tax breaks you take include: cancelled checks, receipts, credit card and investment statements, logs for mileage and business meals, and proof of charitable donations. With proper documentation, a correspondence letter from the IRS inquiring about a particular deduction can be quickly resolved before it turns into a full-blown audit. Remember, the average person has a less than 1 percent chance of being audited. If you prepare now, you can narrow your audit chances even further and rest easy after you’ve filed. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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