Posts by Clay Rose, CPA:
- Take a deep breath
- Call your financial advisor
Tax season can be rough for any business. Just about the time you allow yourself to move on to something else and breathe a sigh of relief … it happens. You sift through your mail and find yourself staring face-to-face with a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In a matter of seconds your adrenaline levels are through the roof. You know that what’s inside the envelope isn’t a simple thank-you note for filing your taxes on time. You carefully tear it open.
Nobody likes to hear that they have to pay more to the IRS than they originally thought. But, before you jump to conclusions and quickly write out a check for the amount the letter says you owe:
4 Tips For Resolving Your Tax Dispute
Believe it or not, the IRS does make mistakes. Agents can accidentally input incorrect information, computers can misread data and tax codes can be inadvertently overlooked or misinterpreted. It happens. If you believe that the IRS was wrong in a decision it made about your business’s tax returns, follow these four steps to reach a resolution.
- Follow Instructions. Sometimes the easiest way to resolve the issue is to follow the instructions. Sounds easy enough, but not everybody gets this part right. If the IRS sent you a notice, look for the section that explains what to do if you disagree with their decision and follow directions. Additionally, be sure to attach any supporting documentation and mail it back to the address given by the deadline requested. After the IRS has made its decision, you will be notified via U.S. Mail. When in doubt, opt to send inquiries to the IRS via certified mail and request a receipt.
- Make The Call. If your initial challenge was rejected, your next step is to follow up with a phone call. The rejection notice you received should have included another important piece of information: the contact name and number of the IRS employee who rejected your challenge. When you call, in a polite and professional manner, ask to speak to the employee’s manager. Even though you are passing over the employee on the chain of command, take care not to say anything about why you are asking to speak with their supervisor. The last thing you need is to create animosity. When you finally have the opportunity to speak with a supervisor, your case should be laid out in much the same way as your original challenge. You should be clear and concise in your explanation while taking care to address any concerns that were noted by the original employee in their rejection letter. If your letter didn’t include an employee’s name and phone number, send another certified letter to a general supervisor with the agency and request that they reconsider your case.
- Appealing To A Higher Office. If you still haven’t convinced the IRS to change its mind, don’t give up – even if you have already mailed several letters and racked up a lot of call time with the agency. Further up the chain of command is the Office of Appeals, an independent office within the IRS. This is just one more step you have to take on your journey to find an IRS employee who agrees with your. To get your case to the Office of Appeals, follow the instructions that were found in the earlier notices. If you are unable to locate these instructions, you can find them on the IRS website.
- Welcome to U.S. Tax Court. Sometimes a resolution can’t be achieved in the first three steps of the appeal process. If you find yourself in this situation your final option is to take the case to the U.S. Tax Court. At this point you may be discouraged and may even question whether you should continue on with the fight, but if you still believe that the IRS is wrong it is probably in your best interest to see it out to the end.
If your dispute is less than $50,000 you will have the option to represent yourself. Similar to how a small-claims court operates, there is no jury and the judge will not hold your inexperience against you. Once court is in session you will state your case again, provide evidence and answer any questions a judge may ask about the claim. Be advised, however, that once a decision is made at this phase it is final and cannot be appealed.
Sometimes, even though you have decided that you want to move forward, an IRS attorney may offer to settle out of court for a figure less than what the IRS says you owe. If this happens, you need to decide whether you will accept the settlement or if you will move forward with presenting your case to the judge. The choice is yours.
If you find yourself at odds with the IRS over a tax issue and are not sure how to proceed, email Rea & Associates for more information.
Author: Clayton W. Rose, III, CPA
As a business owner, you have a lot to think about. Your investors, managers, employees and clients depend on you to deliver top notch products and services while keeping overhead costs low in favor of increased revenue. In fact, your business’s success can probably be attributed to your leadership skills and your knack for being able to see the big picture while bringing together all the other elements to reach a profitable conclusion. So why are you still in charge of handling your business’s accounting and bookkeeping needs when you could be so much more effective guiding your business toward further growth? Outsourcing may provide you and your business with the relief you need to get back on track.
Maybe you think your business is just too small to hire an accountant or bookkeeper or that you’re saving money by doing these jobs yourself. Perhaps you just aren’t aware of what options are available to you and your business. When you consider that the most effective solution is the one that effectively addresses your unique needs and budget, it should be no surprise that an outside accounting firm may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Know Your Strengths And Weaknesses
The cost of hiring a full-time accountant or bookkeeper is a huge concern for many small business owners. To avoid a large expense, many owners or managers will purchase a copy of QuickBooks and try to work through their accounts themselves. Unfortunately, even if they have basic accounting skills, they may not have the patience, expertise and experience to handle the work. If done incorrectly, accounting flaws can be very costly, and could result in catastrophic consequences for your business.
Proper accounting and bookkeeping is essential to the short- and long-term success of your business. Outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping work can help ensure accuracy and will free you up to focus on future growth, higher efficiency and increased sales. Below are a few examples of how outsourcing can solve your small business challenges.
Issue: Your business is relatively small (with a similar budget), and you can’t justify bringing on a full-time accountant.
Solution: Hiring an in-house accountant could turn out to be a hefty expense, especially if the quantity of work is relatively minimal throughout most of the year. Not only do you have to pay the new employee a living wage and benefits, you must be prepared to invest in the software and/or training a new accountant needs. By filtering work to an outsourced controller, you will have access to affordable, ongoing or as needed reporting. As a result, your management team will become more flexible and will have more data – and thus more authority – when making decisions that directly affect the business.
Issue: You’ve already invested in QuickBooks to manage your business’s finances. It seems to be working well so far, but you haven’t been formally trained on the software.
Solution: While QuickBooks is easy to use, sufficient supervision by someone who is proficient with accounting skills is essential. Without a QuickBooks expert on hand, you will have no clue as to what is going on “behind the numbers.” A trained and certified accountant can tap into the various capabilities of the software, which include the reconciliation process, accounts receivable tracking and accounts payable, etc. When your bottom line is at stake, you owe it to yourself and to your business to minimize problems that may occur. You can avoid any hiccups with the help of a CPA.
Issue: You don’t need all the capabilities an accounting firm offers and you don’t want to pay for a service you may never use.
Solution: Your CPA will work with you to make sure all of your accounting needs are met and that the services that are provided only address the needs of your business. Services that can be outsourced include full accounting services, oversight work and everything in between. You also have the option of expanding services if and when you need them. Outsourcing options available to you include:
- Working with an accountant several times throughout the year to clean up your accounting and ensure a smoother year-end tax process.
- Tasking an accountant with filing certain commercial activities and taxes on time to insure accuracy and to avoid overpaying.
- Hiring an accountant to provide periodic financial statements to banks.
- Utilizing an accountant as an extra set of eyes on all manner of documents. This provides you with a great system of control when ensuring the accuracy of your books.
Speak to a Rea & Associates CPA to find out how an accounting firm can address your unique accounting and bookkeeping challenges while allowing you to make the best use of your time. Learn more about the services our business accounting professionals offers.
Article: Clayton W. Rose III, CPA (Dublin office)
As a business owner, you may prefer to maintain your own accounting records, and you either use or have investigated using the accounting software product called QuickBooks®. The program is an easy-to-use, affordable accounting software package. Read the rest of this entry “
Intuit recently released the 2013 version of QuickBooks. If you are a registered user of QuickBooks, you will certainly have received notice of this release, and have been encouraged by them to consider upgrading. But, do you need to?
For those of you who don’t know, QuickBooks is an accounting software package that was designed for smaller businesses. It is a very good package, is simple to use, and is very affordable.
The newer versions of QuickBooks certainly contain some nice enhancements, and those enhancements are helpful, not only to you the user, but also to your accountant. Read the rest of this entry “
It’s mid-January. Statistically, most Americans have already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions – those promises you make to yourself to hit the gym, get more sleep and read your favorite accounting blog every day (hey, it was worth a shot). But if you resolved to be more organized in 2013, don’t give up on it just yet – at least not until April 15.
This tax filing season carries extra challenges, thanks to the late passage of the “Fiscal Cliff” tax laws. The IRS isn’t going to be able to process tax returns until around February 1, which gives us a much smaller window of opportunity.
Follow these tips to stay organized this tax season and hopefully experience a few fewer headaches with Uncle Sam’s name on them. Read the rest of this entry “
Cash flow management is a struggle for many small businesses. Unlike revenue, cash flow isn’t easy to quantify or pin down. It’s up and down and moves around. But, most small businesses that fail do so because of a lack of cash flow… not revenue or profits. Read the rest of this entry “
Now that you have filed for use tax amnesty and are all set up with an account, how are you going to track it daily going forward? If you use QuickBooks, the answer is as simple as 1-2-3. Read the rest of this entry “
One day, I received a call from a client whose husband had been hospitalized for a couple of weeks. He had mentioned that he thought a tax payment was due that day. She did not know how to make that payment, or if it needed to be paid. We worked things through, but learned a valuable lesson: she realized she doesn’t know much about the family finances. Read the rest of this entry “
So it’s tax time. While that thought might conjure up images of lots of receipts in a shoe box, you don’t want to be that person. With a little preparation, you can help make your visit to your accounting professional less expensive and more enjoyable. Here are a few tips to help you prepare. Read the rest of this entry “
This past New Year’s Eve, I received a call from a client whose husband had been hospitalized for a couple of weeks. He had mentioned to her that he thought a tax payment was due that day. She did not know how to make that payment, or if it needed to be paid that day. We worked things through, but a valuable lesson was learned that day that we are now following up on. She realized she doesn’t know much about the family finances. Read the rest of this entry “