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Prepare Your Taxes Today

It’s officially tax season! May not be as exciting as it sounds to some people as they find tax time to be very stressful and overwhelming. Instead of avoiding your responsibilities, get them out of the way ASAP. That way you can sit back and wait for your refund, like many of our clients.

 

It is especially helpful to have a tax expert by your side so they can communicate with the IRS when necessary. At IRS Audit Group, we offer taxpayers a long list of services to guide them through the tax filing process. We promise every client the quality service and great value they deserve.

 

As a company that specializes in IRS Audit representation, our skilled, experienced and intelligent lawyers, EAs and CPAs will help you file your tax returns and make sure you will not be audited. When you call or visit IRS Audit Group for a free consultation, you are welcomed by real tax professionals instead of robots attempting to assist you online or by phone.

 

Once you receive all the necessary information (W-2 forms, receipts, etc.), make sure to sort and organize them so it is easier to handle once you’re ready to file. Then put your trust on our team to submit everything on your behalf! Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in California.

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I Got an Audit – What’s Next?

While you’re more concerned about avoiding an audit altogether, you should still be prepared in the event that you are faced with an investigation. Overall, your chances are slim, but there is still a possibility of being randomly selected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

 

If you receive a letter from the IRS, be sure to follow the specific steps listed. Be aware that audits do not begin with an email or phone call – they choose to conduct the audit by mail or in person.

 

Many business owners simply aren’t aware of what the IRS is looking for and that’s when you can ask “why am I being audited?” That way you can provide them with necessary information that will simplify the process in the long run – especially if they are questioning a small section of your tax return.

 

They may just need confirmation in which case you’ll need to be prepared to show documentation that supports your claims, including: receipts, bills, canceled checks, legal papers, loan agreements, logs and employment documents.

 

It helps to have these documents sorted by year or type of expense to expedite the process. Maintaining records can give you the confidence to face the IRS as well. While there is no deadline for completing an audit, accuracy plays a huge factor in speeding – or delaying – the process.

 

Always remember that you have the following rights:

  • The Right to Be Informed
  • The Right to Quality Service
  • The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
  • The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard
  • The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
  • The Right to Finality
  • The Right to Privacy
  • The Right to Confidentiality
  • The Right to Retain Representation
  • The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

It helps to have an expert by your side during this time and during most of your tax-related procedures. The team at IRS Audit Group is familiar with a variety of cases and can help you through the toughest scenarios. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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Are You Ready For Tax Season?

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the tax season will begin Monday, January 29, 2018 and informed taxpayers claiming some tax credits that reimbursements will not be possible before late February.

They will start accepting tax returns on January 29, with approximately 155 million individual tax returns likely to be filed in 2018. The tax deadline will be April 17, 2018 so taxpayers will have two more days to file after April 15, 2018.

Many tax professionals and software companies can accept tax returns before January 29, 2018 and then submit the returns when IRS systems open. Though they accept both electronic and paper tax returns January 29, 2018, paper returns can be processed later in mid of February as system updates continue. The IRS firmly encourages individuals to file their tax returns electronically for faster refunds.

They have set the January 29, 2018 as an opening date to safeguard the security and readiness of key tax processing systems in advance of the opening and to measure the potential impact of tax legislation on 2017 tax returns.

According to law, the IRS is not allowed to issue refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. While the IRS can process the returns when received, it may not issue associated refunds before mid-February. They believe the earliest ACTC/EITC associated refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards started on February 27, 2018, if they can choose direct deposit and there is not any concern with the tax returns.

Taxpayers must keep copies of last year’s tax returns for at least 3 years. Those who are utilizing a tax software product for the first time will certainly need their adjusted gross income from their 2016 tax return to file electronically. Taxpayers who are utilizing the same tax software they used last year do not need to enter last year’s data to electronically sign their 2017 tax return. Utilizing an electronic filing PIN is not an option anymore.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Audit Process

An IRS (or State) tax audit may be conducted by mail or through an in-person interview and review of the taxpayer’s records. The interview may be at an IRS office (office audit) or at the taxpayer’s home, place of business, or accountant’s office (field audit).

 

The IRS will ask you to provide them with a copy of your tax return and additional documentation in order to determine your income and expenses. They typically request bank statements, receipts, general ledger, etc.

 

The next step may be a request for an interview and a tour of your business which can be stressful for many people. After that, the IRS will issue an audit report explaining which changes they decided to make and what will be the tax and penalties. They will allow you 30 days to respond to this report, if you don’t respond or you disagree they will issue a Final Notice of Deficiency (NOD) that will allow you to file a petition with the tax court.

 

You can hire the team at IRS Audit Group anytime during this process (it is highly recommended that you call us as soon as you get the first letter). If you miss the deadline and don’t contest the liability, the assessment will become final and the IRS will send you collections letters. Even at this point – years after the audit – the IRS will allow you to prove that the assessment was incorrect.

 

We will have to file an Audit Reconsideration and ask the IRS to put a hold on all collection while your case in under review. Remember, when filling an Audit Reconsideration you will have to provide the IRS all the documentation to prove that their assessment was incorrect.

 

We offer a free consultation and will investigate your case free of charge. After reviewing your documentations, we will be able to know what issues you are facing and how much time we will have to devote to your case.

 

Once we get your power of attorney, we will communicate with the taxing authorities.

We just need your cooperation: We will ask you to provide us with supporting documents (bank statements, invoices etc) which will be organized and sent to the IRS on your behalf.

 

After getting the final report, we will settle your case (with your written approval). If there is additional tax liability, we will help you with a payment plan. Call or visit us today!

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What You Need Before Starting Your 2017 Taxes

Take advantage of the holiday break to get your paperwork in order before tax season is among us. While we always recommended keeping everything sorted throughout the year, now is the best time to categorize receipts, invoices and all relevant tax forms once again to ensure they are safely stored and organized for when you file.

 

Keep in mind that the sooner you have everything ready, the quicker the process will be and you can hand it over to our team of professionals to process so you can look forward to your refund. Here are some important things to have handy:

 

  • Personal information, including social security number and bank account information.
  • Income history and appropriate forms
  • Records of income adjustments
  • Tax deduction and payment records
  • Updated credit information

 

As tax preparers, we may or may not have access to certain information and rely on our clients to provide personal data. Once we have all necessary information, it’s easier to process the paperwork and make sure everything is accurate and on time on your behalf. Put your trust in IRS Audit Group to file your 2017 taxes quickly and accurately. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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Online Security: Seven Steps for Safety

*Originally published on irs.gov as part of their National Tax Security Awareness Week.

During the online holiday shopping season, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry remind people to be vigilant with their personal information. While shopping for gifts, criminals are shopping for credit card numbers, financial account information, Social Security numbers and other sensitive data that could help them file a fraudulent tax return.

 

Anyone who has an online presence should take a few simple steps that could go a long way to protecting their identity and personal information.

 

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax community, partners in the Security Summit, are marking “National Tax Security Awareness Week”, Nov. 27-Dec. 1, with a series of reminders to taxpayers and tax professionals. In part one, the topic is online security.

 

Cybercriminals seek to turn stolen data into quick cash, either by draining financial accounts, charging credit cards, creating new credit accounts or even using stolen identities to file a fraudulent tax return for a refund.

 

Here are seven steps to help with online safety and protecting tax returns and refunds in 2018:

  • Shop at familiar online retailers. Generally, sites using the “s” designation in “https” at the start of the URL are secure. Look for the “lock” icon in the browser’s URL bar. But remember, even bad actors may obtain a security certificate so the “s” may not vouch for the site’s legitimacy.
  • Avoid unprotected Wi-Fi. Beware purchases at unfamiliar sites or clicks on links from pop-up ads. Unprotected public Wi-Fi hotspots also may allow thieves to view transactions. Do not engage in online financial transactions if using unprotected public Wi-Fi.
  • Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails that pose as a trusted source such as those from financial institutions or the IRS. These emails may suggest a password is expiring or an account update is needed. The criminal’s goal is to entice users to open a link or attachment. The link may take users to a fake website that will steal usernames and passwords. An attachment may download malware that tracks keystrokes.
  • Keep a clean machine. This applies to all devices – computers, phones and tablets. Use security software to protect against malware that may steal data and viruses that may damage files. Set it to update automatically so that it always has the latest security defenses. Make sure firewalls and browser defenses are always active. Avoid “free” security scans or pop-up advertisements for security software.
  • Use passwords that are strong, long and unique. Experts suggest a minimum of 10 characters but longer is better. Avoid using a specific word; longer phrases are better. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Use a different password for each account. Use a password manager, if necessary.
  • Use multi-factor authentication. Some financial institutions, email providers and social media sites allow users to set accounts for multi-factor authentication, meaning users may need a security code, usually sent as a text to a mobile phone, in addition to usernames and passwords. For added protection, some financial institutions also will send email or text alerts when there is a withdrawal or change to the account. Generally, users can check account profiles at these locations to see what added protections may be available.
  • Encrypt and password-protect sensitive data. If keeping financial records, tax returns or any personally identifiable information on computers, this data should be encrypted and protected by a strong password. Also, back-up important data to an external source such as an external hard drive. And, when disposing of computers, mobile phones or tablets, make sure to wipe the hard drive of all information before trashing.

 

There are also a few additional steps people can take a few times a year to make sure they have not become an identity theft victim.

 

Receive a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. Check it to make sure there are no unfamiliar credit changes. Create a “My Social Security” account online with the Social Security Administration. There users can see how much income is attributed to their SSN. This can help determine if someone else is using the SSN for employment purposes.

 

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry are committed to working together to fight against tax-related identity theft and to protect taxpayers. But the Security Summit needs help. People can take steps to protect themselves online. Visit the “Taxes. Security. Together.” awareness campaign or review IRS Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers, to see what can be done.

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Get Tax Help Today!

Dear taxpayers,

Are you stressed, confused or frustrated with the IRS?

During each phone call with an IRS representative you probably think you can handle it on your own, but a few hours go by and you still can’t find a solution.

With every letter you get more and more overwhelmed.

You are not alone. Thousands of Americans face this issue.

We’re here to tell you that there is a way out.

Get help … from a professional! Stop asking friends and family for advice. What worked for them may not work for you.

We highly encourage investing in your financial security. How? By hiring a tax lawyer.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. IRS Audit Group offers free consultations for struggling taxpayers.

After one meeting, we will learn about your tax situation, develop a plan and begin communicating with the IRS for you.

Trust us and our countless clients who are now debt, stress and worry-free.

Your tax problems won’t go away on their own. Quite the opposite, they will get worse the more you try ignore them.

Like we always say: Don’t panic, but don’t delay!

Browse our website to see our services

irs-audit-group.com

Then give us a call to get started!

1(888) 300-6670

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How IRS Audit Group 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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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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