Posts by Chad Bice, CPA:
Only .84 percent of the 146.9 million individual tax returns filed in 2015 were audited by the IRS. The last time the audit rate was that low it was 2004 and most of us were walking around in Uggs. And even though the IRS says it expects to see even fewer audits in 2016, your chance of being audited tends to increase when:
You fail to report all taxable income
You will be notified if the IRS notices any inconsistencies between the taxable income reported on your tax return and the combined amount reported on your 1099s and W2s. Be sure to make the issuer of your 1099 aware of any mistakes, including incorrect income reported or receiving a form that is not yours.
You own a cash-intensive business
If you operate a taxi, car wash, bar, hair salon, restaurant or any other cash-intensive business, the IRS will be watching your tax return closely. Historically, cash-intensive businesses have been less accurate in reporting all taxable income. In response, agents are using special techniques to interview business owners and audit for unreported income.
Read Also: What’s Worse: An IRS Audit Or A Root Canal?
You claim large charitable deductions
IRS agents don’t have a problem with you philanthropic behavior, it’s the people abuse this tax deduction they have a problem with. This is another area the agency has had problems with in the past, which is why agents pay special attention to these types of deductions – especially if the deduction is disproportionately large in relation to your taxable income. So, if you are going to make a gift to a nonprofit organization, make sure to do it the right way. Keep your receipts, document everything and obtain an appraisal if the donation is for property worth more than $500 (and be sure to file Form 8283 with your return). It’s also important to note that donated cars, boats and planes continue to draw special attention.
You claim home office deductions
If you can claim the home office deduction – great! However, many are often unsuccessful because they ultimately realize that they don’t meet the strict requirements. Or, if they do successfully claim it, they overstate the deduction. For this reason, this is another area the IRS tends to scrutinize. Remember, if home office space must be used exclusively and on a regular basis as your primary place of business in order to claim a percentage of the rent, real estate taxes, utilities, phone bills, insurance and other costs.
Your claim for meals, travel and entertainment is disproportionately high
This is another area where taxpayers have made excessive claims in the past, causing the IRS to look closely at meal, travel and entertainment deductions for self-employed taxpayers. When the deduction appears too large for the business, agents look for detailed documentation including the amount, place, persons attending, business purpose and nature of the discussion or meeting.
You claimed 100% business use of a vehicle
It’s very rare that a taxpayer actually uses vehicle exclusively for business, especially if no other vehicle is available for personal use. If an IRS agent sees this type of claim, they won’t just see red flags, they will hear sirens. If you are planning to claim a percentage of your vehicle usage on your tax return, be sure to keep detailed mileage logs and precise calendar entries for the purpose of every road trip.
The best way to guard against an IRS audit is to have your business and personal tax returns prepared correctly every year by a team of tax specialists. Email Rea & Associates to learn what other red flags the IRS is looking for.
By Chad Bice, CPA (Zanesville office)
Check out these articles for even more popular tax tips:
In an effort to become more taxpayer-friendly and reduce the effective tax rate, Ohio enacted the Small Business Investor Income Tax Deduction effective for tax year 2013. This tax deduction benefits many of Ohio’s individual income taxpayers. So how exactly does this deduction work? Read the rest of this entry “
How could vacant facilities be so lucrative? You can thank the state of Ohio for making that possible. In an effort to encourage the revitalization of vacant business property, Ohio enacted a bill that created the Ohio Vacant Facilities Fund, a program that essentially pays businesses to purchase or lease vacant property. So by now you’re probably wondering how your business can get a piece of this action. Read the rest of this entry “
What if someone told you that you had an opportunity to claim thousands of dollars? You’d jump on it, right? Well, guess what? If you’re a business owner, you do have this opportunity!
Did you know there are an estimated 3,000 federal, state and local credits and incentives valued at more than $50 billion available to your business? These opportunities are both statutory and negotiated and include hiring credits, investment credits, real and personal property incentives, utility rate reductions, and infrastructure grants – just to name a few. Unfortunately, only a relatively small number of companies are taking advantage of these credits and incentives to which they are entitled.
Read the rest of this entry “
Don’t Give Up Yet!
Applications for Ohio’s Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program were accepted on Monday, January 7, 2013. By the end of the day, Ohio officials said they received applications with requests exceeding the $20 million allotted for fiscal 2013. Funds were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you weren’t one of the first, you might have missed out on this opportunity for your company. But don’t give up yet…
There will be another opportunity for you to secure your piece of the pie as a second round of applications, for fiscal 2014, will be accepted after June 30 for an additional $30 million. While the exact date that applications will be accepted are not yet known, we do know what the applications will look like, how the application process will work and what information you will need to have ready to submit your application.
Why wait? Begin pulling your information together now so that you will be ready the second time around. Read the rest of this entry “
2012 Year-End Tax Tips
2012 is almost over and 2013 tax policy hasn’t yet been set. With so much media coverage about expiring tax cuts, increasing tax rates, and the looming fiscal cliff, CPAs and business owners alike are worried about what the New Year will bring. All we want for Christmas is sound 2013 tax policy!
Currently, President Obama is struggling to rally a squabbling Congress; without agreement, big tax hikes are coming. Unfortunately, this might not happen until the New Year – after the higher rates have kicked in. So, what’s a taxpayer to do? You can write a letter to Santa asking him to make Congress come to an agreement or you can act now to help save money and insulate your business from expected tax hikes. Here’s what you might want to consider with the help of your CPA: Read the rest of this entry “
Recently we’ve been hearing calls for everyone to pay their fair share of taxes. One regular target: online retailers, who are being criticized for failing to collect and remit sales tax. But, like many questions of tax policy, this one is more complicated than headlines might lead you to believe. Read the rest of this entry “
Don’t Leave Money on the Table
If your business is thinking of hiring or training employees or investing in fixed assets, you might qualify for a tax credit. But, tax credits need to be considered up front. Once you miss the boat on applying for them, it’s too late, even if you would have been a perfect candidate.
Securing these types of credits and incentives can dramatically improve your return on investment. Read the rest of this entry “
The State of Ohio is looking for additional tax dollars, and they’re not going to give you the benefit of the doubt if your business is audited for use tax. But you may be able to avoid a use tax audit if you qualify for a one-time opportunity to enter into the State of Ohio’s amnesty program. Read the rest of this entry “
Memorial Day is a great time to think about our veterans and what we can do to show our thanks for all that they’ve done for our country. One way to show your thanks: hire a veteran. All too often, our men and women returning from active duty come home to a weak economy and limited job prospects. But, as an employer, you have the unique ability to help ease their transition to civilian life – by giving them a job and a chance.
Hiring a veteran can be good for the veteran, the community and your business. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 provides work opportunity tax credits to businesses that hire certain veterans. Read the rest of this entry “