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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 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 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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Best Payment Option for Taxpayers

Do you have a problem with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Specifically when it comes to your payment options? You should opt for a payment plan! This way, you don’t need to wait until you can pay off the total amount which can easily add up due to penalties.


This is the ideal option for those looking to save their money and are trying spend wisely while on a budget. The best part? You can apply for individuals and businesses. This provides the opportunity to pay in installments or online.


We understand that taxpayers have plenty of costs to cover which is why we want to help you get set up with affordable payments. This process is quicker and much simpler; rather than dealing with larger amounts, you’ll owe what you can pay within a certain time frame.


The IRS states that individuals must owe $50,000 or less in combined individual income tax, penalties and interest to be eligible and businesses must owe $25,000 or less in payroll taxes. Both must have filed all required returns as well.


Call IRS Audit Group at (888)330-6670 and we can set up a payment plan for you to immediately break down your costs. We know exactly what to do! As experts in negotiation, we can and will communicate with the IRS on your behalf.


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Benefits of IRS Payment Plan

If you’re worried about how to pay your dues to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you’ll want to review all your options. A good choice would be to make monthly payments through an installment agreement. This would help reduce or eliminate penalties and interest fees and your wallet won’t take such a big blow.


In order to qualify, the IRS requires that you file all required tax returns prior to applying. You may be eligible for an online payment plan if you owe $50,000 or less in combined individual income tax, penalties and interest or if your business owes $25,000 or less in payroll taxes.


The trickiest part of this agreement is getting approved – IRS Audit Group can help you understand the process and will stay on top of deadlines. Negotiating with the IRS is easier with the help of a tax professional who will represent you and is willing to speak effectively on your behalf.

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IRS Guidlines To Audit Small Businesses

IRS agents are trained on specific audit techniques for different industries. The guides that these agents are trained to use are referred to as Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs), and they focus on providing guidance for examiners in different market segments. These guides are so crucial to the IRS because they create consistency in their audits, since everyone is using the same guidelines.


The ATGs usually consist of; common and rare industry issues, techniques for examinations, jargon for that particular industry, business practices, and any other information that can assist them in the examination process.


Once you receive a notice of an audit, it would be wise to review the ATG for your industry in depth with your representative. The reason any business owner can find value in these guides is due to the abundance of information you can find. The audit target will give you an advanced view of what to expect in the exam, that way you can prepare a strong defense instead of walking into the exam blind. These documents even give the revenue agent resources within the IRS database to find out; credit scores, currency transaction reports, and information returns that were provided to the taxpayer by third parties.


And if you’re thinking about trying to hide sources of income, think again. These reports are so in depth, that they provide methodologies for finding any cash income that went unreported. So, to ensure the best possible outcome in the case of an audit, it’s essential for the taxpayer to perform a thorough review of the appropriate ATG.


The guides below can be viewed at the IRS website address: Remember to find the most appropriate guideline for your business.


NOTE: The dates that these guides were issued are shown next to them. These guides are up to date as of October, 2016.


1. Aerospace Industry; 01/05
2. Air Transportation; 04/08
3. Architects and Landscape Architects; 08/2011
4. Art Galleries – Audit Technique Guide; 01/2012
5. Attorneys Audit Technique Guide; 03/2011
6. Business Consultants; 07/2011
7. Capitalization v Repairs; 11/2010
8. Cash Intensive Businesses; 04/2010
9. Child Care Provider; 03/09
10. Coal Excise Tax; 05/05
11. Commercial Banking; 5/01
12. Conservation Easement; 11/2011
13. Continuation of Employee Healthcare Coverage; 03/2012
14. Construction Industry; 05/09
15. Cost Segregation; 01/14/05
16. Credit for Increasing Research Activities (i.e. Research Tax Credit) IRC§41; 06/05
17. Entertainment Audit Technique Guide; 10/2015
18. Equity (Stock) – Based Compensation Audit Techniques Guide; 08/2015
19. Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning; 7/2012
20. Executive Compensation – Fringe Benefits; 02/04/05
21. Factoring of Receivables; 06/06
22. Farmers; 07/06
23. Fishing Audit Technique Guide; 08/2011
24. Foreign Insurance Excise Tax; 04/08
25. Golden Parachutes; 02/04/05
26. Hardwood Timber Industry; 12/2012
27. IC-DISC Audit Guide: 03/2012
28. Inland Waterways: 12/08
29. IRC 162(m) Salary Deduction Limitation: 02/04/05
30. IRC § 183: Activities Not Engaged in For Profit: 06/19/09
31. The Laundromat Industry: 6/00
32. Lawsuit Awards and Settlements: 01/11
33. Low-Income Housing Credit – Guide for Completing Form 8823: 08/2015
34. Ministers: 04/23/09
35. New Markets Tax Credit: 05/2010
36. New Vehicle Dealership Audit Technique: 1/05
37. Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation: 06/15
38. Obligations Not in Registered Form: 6/06
39. Obligations Not in Registered Form D: 06/2006
40. Oil and Gas Industry: 5/96
41. Ozone Depleting Chemicals (ODC) Excise Tax: 9/07
42. Partnerships: 3/08
43. Passive Activity: 02/05
44. Placer Mining: 7/99
45. The Port Project: 8/95
46. Real Estate Property Foreclosure and Cancellation of Debt: 2/15
47. Reforestation: 8/95
48. Rehabilitation Tax Credit: 12/02
49. Research Credit Claims: Credit for Increasing Research Activities §41: 5/08
50. Retail Industry: 2/09
51. Sections 48A and 48B – Advanced Coal and Gasification Project Credits: 5/09
52. Split Dollar Life Insurance: 3/05
53. Wine Industry: 05/2011


Simply put, it will be in the taxpayers’ best interest to thoroughly review these ATGs with their representative when the IRS decides to open an audit.

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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Letters from the IRS

The consequences of ignoring any sort of communication from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be severe. The notices typically require more information on your end and will specifically explain the issue and exactly what you need to do – don’t let them scare you out of responding.


You must first determine whether or not the notice is legitimate. IRS scammers are on the rise and you’ll want to identify them sooner rather than later. That being said, you don’t have to respond to everything! Some letters are sent to simply notify you of changes on your account or updates to your file. If you notice something wrong, then you should respond with information that the IRS can use to adjust the discrepancies. Otherwise, there is no need to send a response.


Letters from the IRS will have a number in the upper right hand corner for you to call if you have any questions or concerns. They provide a list of sample letter that are usually sent out and why they are sent – see here.


When there is a serious issue that the IRS is trying to inform you about, they will take more serious actions and you may end up owing money or spending time in jail if you are completely unresponsive. There may be a delay while you gather and sort the required information, but try to get everything out within 3-5 business days.


If you do respond and send additional information, be sure to note that correspondence in your records and store copies of everything. While you may be quick to reply, the IRS could take up to 30 days to get back to you … Be patient.


So what’s really going to happen if you keep shredding letters from the IRS instead of cooperating with their requests?

  • They may end up calculating your tax return for you and determining how much you owe and what you’ll get in return.
  • A tax revenue officer might pay you a visit to question your financial situation and understand if and when you’ll be able to pay them.
  • You can face criminal charge for tax evasion, which can lead to arrest or jail time if left unresolved.
  • Your wages could be garnished and money will be deducted from your paycheck before you get it just to pay off debt.
  • The IRS also has the power to seize your assets in order to repay the tax bill.


You’re better safe than sorry, so follow these tips and avoid any trouble with the IRS. As always you can contact IRS Audit Group if you have any questions!

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Rushing Through Your Taxes Increases Risk Of An IRS Audit

We get it, filing taxes is not something everyone loves to spend their time on. However, it is crucial to read and understand what is being asked of you, especially if you’re submitting your taxes electronically on your own time. It’s easy to fall into the trap of rushing just to get it done.


What if you work with a tax preparer? Well, the IRS can still audit you if you; fail to disclose all sources of income you may have, give the tax preparer insufficient information to complete your tax return to the fullest, or giving incomplete tax documents to the preparer. The IRS could care less if this was done accidentally or purposeful, which is why rushing will get you nowhere.


What are some reasons for a tax audit?


You leave out sources of income
This is the easiest way individuals can face a tax audit. This is very common in sole proprietors and independent contractors who also receive a 1099 form instead of a W-2. Many may not fully understand how much of a tax burden a 1099 form can cause. So, when a tax bill arrives that doesn’t look very appealing, it’s common to not disclose that information in order to keep 100% of your income tax free. That isn’t a smart move in this scenario. The IRS has systems that are created to catch these errors when the numbers don’t quite add up.


You use whole or rounded numbers
Rounding your numbers may seem ideal and makes the calculations a whole lot easier and less time consuming, but it also raises a red flag in the IRS system. Why? Seriously, what are the odds of having an even number on your net earnings, or deductions? Slim to none. While it usually never gets this far, you can possibly face criminal and civil charges providing inaccurate information. So it’s best to do the math right to avoid any consequences.


You file many deductions
Tax deductions are a good thing for many. It keeps you from paying taxes on certain expenses. However, deductions such as “home office deduction” raises a red flag due it being commonly misused by individuals. How will the IRS know if the deductions are legitimate? Well, they usually have a general idea due to your income level and other quantitative data they have gathered from similar filers. So, do not fall into the trap of thinking you can outsmart the IRS 100% of the time. It doesn’t happen that way for everyone.


How likely is that you’re going to get audited?
Lucky for you, while there’s still a chance of an audit, the chances are slim to none. Actually, 99% of the common persons’ taxes glides through the IRS system without being audited. As for the other 1%, of course they’re being audited. If you’re a millionaire, your chances of being audited are 1 in 10. And if you’re a white house official, your chances are 100%. It may not be every year like Donald Trump’s situation the past 12 years, but it will happen eventually to them.


As mentioned before, even though chances of an audit are slim for the average person, anything is possible. $1 spent on a tax audit, brings in $4. Do the math. Do you think the IRS is going to let everyone continue to slide by without an audit? Not for long because it makes them more money. And let’s face it, all the IRS wants is your tax payers’ dollars.


When filing your tax returns, make sure to take your time. The consequences outweigh the cost of telling the truth.

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