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Posts by G Deitsch

Getting Ready for Tax Season

Below are steps taxpayers can take now to ensure smooth processing of their 2017 tax return and avoid a delay in getting their refund next year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) advises taxpayers to get ready for the upcoming tax filing season by gathering documents, renewing expiring ITINs, and get prepared for refunds.

 

For additional help, hire a tax expert, like our team at IRS Audit Group to guide you through the process. It is better to get a head start to prevent missteps later. As we enter the tax season, contact us to book an appointment and we can review everything together so you don’t deal with another year of tax stresses on your own.

 

Start by gathering documents. File a complete and accurate tax return by making sure the IRS has all the documents before filing your return, including 2016. This includes Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and Forms 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the Premium Tax Credit. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return later. Confirm that each employer, bank or other payer has a current mailing address.

 

Renew Expiring ITINs before the end of the year. Doing so promptly will avoid a refund delay and possible loss of key tax benefits. Any ITIN not used on a tax return in the past three years will expire on Dec. 31, 2017. Similarly, any ITIN with middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80 will also expire at the end of the year. Anyone with an expiring ITIN who plans to file a return in 2018 will need to renew it using Form W-7.

 

Refunds Held for Those Claiming EITC or ACTC Until Mid-Feb: By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC.

 

The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or debit cards starting on Feb. 27, 2018, if direct deposit was used and there are no other issues with the tax return.

 

For a faster refund you can choose to e-file or use direct deposit. Electronically filing a tax return is the most accurate way to prepare and file. Errors delay refunds and the easiest way to avoid them is to e-file. Nearly 90 percent of all returns are electronically filed. There are several e-file options:

 

Combining direct deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their refund. With direct deposit, a refund goes directly into a taxpayer’s bank account. There’s no reason to worry about a lost, stolen or undeliverable refund check.

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What to Expect During the 2018 Tax Season

The best reason to hire a tax expert is because the regulations are constantly changing and you can’t be expected to know and remember all of them. The U.S. Treasury Department is currently working on their plan to pull “burdensome tax rules” in hopes of simplifying the tax filing process. At IRS Audit Group, we make sure to follow along with the latest edits to any and all of the requirements so we can best serve you during tax season.

 

One thing to remember is that the official filing deadline is April 17, 2018 (as the 15th is a Sunday and the 16th is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C.) While many people don’t look forward to the process, countless others – who earn wages and get taxed on them – are excited for a generous tax return.

 

The IRS starts processing tax returns for income earned in 2017 on January 22, 2018. Returns with refunds are typically processed and payments issued within 21 days. For paper filers, this can take much longer.

 

Taxpayers can use “Where’s My Refund?”  to check the status of their return within 24 hours after IRS has received an e-filed return or four weeks after receipt of a mailed paper return. “Where’s My Refund?” has a tracker that displays progress through three stages.

  1. Return Received
  2. Refund Approved
  3. Refund Sent

 

How quickly a taxpayer receives a refund also depends on when they file and whether they have requested a direct deposit of their refund, or a paper check. The sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your return. The week before the deadline is usually the busiest so it’s good to plan ahead. Contact us today to begin planning!

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Key Tax Tips for Small Business Owners

Although JPMorgan Chase does not provide tax services, they do offer great insight on how small business owners can maintain taxes. Contact IRS Audit Group with questions and we’d be glad to help!

Small businesses are often so focused on generating revenue and keeping operations running smoothly throughout the year that tax-related concerns are procrastinated until tax day comes. Tax mistakes carry some pretty costly expenses, including penalties, a hefty tax bill, or even leaving money on the table in the form of untaken tax deductions.

Here are key tips from business tax experts:

1. Pay the correct amount of estimated taxes

Especially true for new solopreneurs and independent contractors in gig economy positions, just underestimating taxes and creating tax debt can cause significant issues later.

Justine Lackey, founder of Good Cents Bookkeeping Inc. says, “When people make their first foray into entrepreneurship, they do so rather blindly, and they fail to discuss the tax implications with their CPAs or bookkeepers. If it’s someone first rodeo, they may not pay estimated taxes at all, and they end up with a huge, and often unmanageable tax bill when they file their return.”

“A great way to make sure you can pay your taxes, is to squirrel away money,” Lackey advises. “A good ballpark is to save 25 percent all money earned in a separate tax account. Then, once each quarter, remit the money to federal and local tax agencies.”

2. Stay ahead of retirement account contributions

Crystal Stranger, EA, President of 1st Tax and the author of “The Small Business Tax Guide,” says that the limit to contributions in a Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP), is generally 25 percent of net income or up to $53,000 for the 2015 tax year, depending on your plan. She cautions that not being mindful of this and not staying on top of net income tallies “can easily lead to making excess contributions, subjecting the taxpayer to an excess contribution penalty in addition to the amounts not being deductible.” Furthermore, “if that excess contribution is not removed, you can be penalized for this every year until the amount is withdrawn.”

3. Document amounts paid to independent contractors

Businesses that outsource specific jobs to contractors are required to file 1099-MISC form with the IRS when payments of $600 or more have been made to the contractor throughout the year. Dave Du Val, VP of Customer Advocacy at TaxAudit.com warns that “without proof of payment these amounts are unlikely to be allowed in an audit.” In addition, “if the required 1099-MISC forms are not issued, penalties are likely.”

The flipside to this is worker misclassification. While classifying an employee as 1099 can have advantages to the business owner, they should be classified as a W-2 employee if the worker is an actual employee with set hours. Failure to classify workers correctly can leave the business liable for past taxes and penalties.

4. Keep great documentation

“Many small businesses, particularly small sole proprietors, keep poor records that end up costing them money in the long run. If good records aren’t kept, the IRS may disallow some deductions and credits, or worse, decide that the company isn’t a business, but actually a hobby. In that case, you end up with all of the tax with none of the deductions!” says Christopher Jarvis of Lone Wolf Financial Services.

Part of poor recordkeeping is often a result of commingling personal and business bank accounts. Jarvis advises, “The IRS is going to want to know how you differentiate between personal funds and business funds, and how you can separate business and personal expenses when it is all in the same account. Ideally, the company should have its own bank account, and all income resulting from work that business does gets deposited into the business bank account. Then the company writes a paycheck to the owner, who deposits it into his personal account.”

His suggestion to small businesses? “Invest in some inexpensive software or apps to help track your records, or pay a professional. And look to get items like bank statements sent to you or access them online instead of relying on a paper statement. The cost of a professional bookkeeper or accountant is often the best investment a company can make.”

Originally published here.

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How to Settle Your IRS Tax Debt

Do you have tax debt, but don’t know what to do about it? You definitely shouldn’t let the letters and notices pile up – especially if they’re coming from collection agencies who are after money owed to the Internal Revenue Service. You also don’t have to face the IRS alone. When it comes to settling tax debt, it helps to have someone by your side.

 

According to Publication 594 of the IRS, “The collection process is a series of actions that the IRS can take to collect the taxes you owe if you don’t voluntarily pay them. The collection process will begin if you don’t make your required payments in full and on time, after receiving your bill.”

 

Sometimes it’s not as easy as paying off what you owe. In most cases, you’ll need the help of a tax professional to negotiate with the IRS. Our enrolled agents have seen countless cases, varying in amount owed and levels of difficulty, but each time they have been successful in relieving taxpayers of monetary burdens.

 

Learn about the several ways to pay or reduce costs and let us know how we can help:

  • Installment Agreement/Payment Plan – Similar to a monthly credit card payment. The IRS payment plan would allow you to pay off your unpaid back taxes in installments instead of all at once.
  • Offer in Compromise – Settle your tax debts for less than what you owe. This could save you thousands of dollars in taxes, penalties and interest if you are given the opportunity to pay that small amount as a full and final payment.
  • Not Currently Collectible – This means that a taxpayer has no ability to pay their debts. The IRS can declares them “currently not collectible” only after the receiving evidence that there is no ability to pay.
  • Bankruptcy – You should consider bankruptcy only if you meet the requirements for discharging your taxes. Income tax debts may be eligible for discharge under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.
  • Fresh Start Initiative – Under the new and more flexible rules issued by the IRS, taxpayers do not have to disclose extensive financial details to the IRS to judge their paying ability. This initiative offers several advantages.

 

If you are familiar with our services then you know IRS Audit Group can help you with any of the options listed above. With our advice, you’ll be one step closer to achieving financial stability and getting back on your feet. We are experts in tax debt resolution and are ready to work on your case. Call us today to get started!

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Beware of IRS Scammers

As always, scammers who impersonate Internal Revenue Service officers are still a threat to taxpayers. They have been tricking innocent people and robbing them of money and peace of mind. We’ve compiled a list to help you determine real IRS representatives from fake ones so you can protect yourself:

 

  • The IRS is NOT aggressive in their approach. Scammers are typically rude over the phone and easily agitated.
  • The IRS does NOT initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels.
  • The IRS does NOT mention law enforcement efforts such as: local police or immigration officers.
  • The IRS mails notification letters to taxpayers if they owe any taxes and do NOT request immediate payment via wire transfers. (Payments must only be sent to United States Treasury)
  • Taxpayers can request credentials for the representative to prove they are there for an IRS visit.

 

Following these tips will keep you safe, but if you find yourself in a sticky situation you can always give IRS Audit Group a call. We’ll help you avoid this in the future and verify that your information is in good hands. Also, share this blog so your family and friends can steer clear of scammers as well.

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How We Can Resolve Your Tax Issues

You may feel stuck and overwhelmed when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, but it doesn’t have to be so hard. With a tax professional, like those at IRS Audit Group, you can put your trust in their hands to represent you.

 

Our CPAs and enrolled agents specialize in tax audit representation, but our services don’t stop there … If you have questions about the process or would like to obtain an IRS payment plan, we’re here to help!

 

It’s time to take care of IRS debt, tax liens, wage garnishment and offer in compromise. IRS Audit Group has over 15 years of experience and we continue to provide high quality service at a great value. We offer 100% customer satisfaction and a money back guarantee.

 

Still debating on taking the plunge and hiring a pro? Financial Buzz knows how you feel. Their advice: “As life gets more complicated, so do taxes. Marriage, kids, mortgages and assets make each tax return more and more involved … Hiring an experienced professional to do your taxes is the best decision in the long run. Even though they come at a cost, you may find yourself saving thousands of dollars over time.”

 

Regardless of the type of tax help you need, IRS Audit Group has the answers to all of your questions. Avoid future complications and get help from REAL people, not robots or someone behind a screen. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Upcoming Tax Deadline

If you’ve requested a six-month extension to submit your taxes then your deadline is coming up quick! October 16, 2017 is the last day to file your individual or corporation return. This includes the 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ or 1120 tax forms. Beware of penalties for late payments or filing.

Don’t let this extra time go to waste. Be sure that you file your return immediately and see if you qualify for common credits and deductions. Low and moderate income families may be eligible for special tax benefits as well.

According to the IRS, you could also receive credit if you’ve paid college tuition or fees in the last year. Same goes for those that have made their homes energy efficient.

E-filing will reveal guides and tips to help you complete your return, but you can also call us for a one-on-one consultation with a tax professional. If you’ve missed important deadlines in the past or fear you won’t get the paperwork done in time for the upcoming deadline please give IRS Audit Group a call to learn how we can help resolve your tax issues ASAP.

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Business Tax Deadline is Almost Here!

If you got an extension on your taxes earlier this year, the time has now come to submit your returns. The business tax deadline is approaching on September 15 and you don’t want to miss it!

If you want to be sure everything is done quickly and accurately, then contact us today! IRS Audit Group is ready to help and we are just a call or click away. Don’t waste another second wondering how you will complete all the paperwork in time – we got you covered.

For those of you that have yet to file, remember that the Personal Tax Extension Deadline is coming up as well on October 15.

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Tax Limits: Be Cautious Of Advertisements

Year-end tax planning is approaching, which means thousands of ads are going to flood your computer while browsing the web with suggestions on what to do in order to help you prepare.

 

The fact of the matter is that somehow and somewhere; you’re going to collect information and put it to use. However, we want to make sure you’re choosing the right sources to consume information from.

 

Being a business owner, you understand that taxes are a mandatory and vital component of operating a business. One small mistake can cost you a nice chunk of money. And proper preparation can save you tons of money as well.

 

Your tax money is used for mostly government functions. But, that’s beside the point. The point is that you need to be more involved and educated in order to make sure you consume the right information and make the right decisions when preparing for tax season. The good thing is that this can be accomplished by becoming active in credible organizations such as; The National Small Business Association, or the local state and National Chamber of Commerce.

 

When it comes to consuming information, you only need to trust reliable sources like the ones mentioned above. Just because a person is a; friend, neighbor, or relative doesn’t mean they’re educated in taxes and finances. Sorry to burst your bubble. They could be consuming the wrong information as well, since there’s so much false information circulating around in society anyway.

 

So, if you can’t rely on people close to you such as relatives or friends, who do you go to? The simple answer is to hire a CPA. Although, there are definitely untrustworthy and inexperienced CPA’s, this is your best bet. But, figuring out who to trust all comes down to your best judgement.

 

Owning a business and dealing with highly complex tax returns will require education and experience in an accountant. We understand the importance of hiring an advisor or accountant to handle your financial affairs. However, the dilemma that most business owners face is choosing whether or not to hire an individual accountant, or a firm.

 

This decision will all come down to how much fire power will be needed for the job. For example, paying $400/hr to a tax analyst for a simple 1040EZ is wasteful. That’s a simple job that shouldn’t require you to pay an arm and a leg. Therefore, it all comes down to how complex your situation is.

 

Another good rule of thumb is making sure your tax advisors main focus is tax pro. We’ve have seen many individuals try to have a tax auditor prepare their taxes, and it just doesn’t work out the way they want it to all the time. This is due to many advisors having different primary practices. Even if you’re paying top dollar, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get the best results if their primary practice is different than what you require.

 

Besides being wary of the advisor you hire, be careful of ads on the radio and TV as well. There are many companies who spend tons of money on advertising, using the money they made from previous clients they charged. Simply put, you want to hire people with experience and not because they engaged in a marketing blitz to make themselves seem credible.

 

Your chances of getting positive results this tax year will drastically increase when hiring the appropriate person, and being cautious of who and where you consume information from. Consider all of these options, and you will have much success this filing season.

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Haven’t Filed Taxes For Years? The IRS May File On Your Behalf.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you didn’t file your tax return? Well … You basically lose your refund (if you pass the three year tax deadline date) which for some people can be a significant loss. Also, you put yourself at risk of having the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) file for you.

Don’t wait on the IRS to file your taxes on your behalf. Let IRS Audit Group file your taxes in full compliance with the IRS. We will collect all the information from tax authorities, review it with you and file your tax return.

According to the IRS, substitute for return (SFR) and delinquent return procedures were developed to deal with taxpayers who do not file required tax returns. They use this to assess the correct tax liability by either:

  1. Securing a valid voluntary tax return from the taxpayer (delinquent return), or
  2. If securing a return is not possible, computing tax, interest, and penalties based upon information submitted by payers, or based on other available information (SFR).

If the IRS files a return, it will be based on the information they have available through existing records and it is usually done automatically. The downfall to this is that whether you were married filing jointly, had dependents you could claim for that year or whether you had any deductions are not taken into consideration. You’d sacrifice any of the credits that could lower your taxes and may end up owing substantially more taxes based on the SFR than if you filed your own tax return.

This triggers the snowball effect: If you fail to pay the taxes the IRS has assessed against you, the IRS will begin collection proceedings to collect the taxes. Which could include issuing levies against your bank account or wages and filing liens against your property.

Don’t face the risk of increasing your tax liability – contact IRS Audit Group today to file your returns or for help on other tax issues. You still have options in cases like this and our team of tax professionals would be happy to guide you through them!

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