Filing taxes is punishment enough without the vague threat of an IRS audit looming over our heads. For understandable reasons, the IRS insists on keeping the ins and outs of its auditing process on the murky side. How will you catch the bad guys if you give them the rule book first? But because of the sense of mystery around the process, it’s an area of regulation often misunderstood by taxpayers.

Here are a few common myths about the dreaded tax audit:

Myth #1: Only the wealthy get audited.

While it’s true that big businesses and the uber-rich are often targets of IRS tax probes, that doesn’t necessarily mean low- and middle-income workers are free and clear. The Read More

Article Highlights:

• Reasons to Keep Records
• Statute of Limitations
• Maintaining Record of Asset Basis

Now that your taxes have been completed for 2014, you are probably wondering what old records can be discarded. If you are like most taxpayers, you have records from years ago that you are afraid to throw away. It would be helpful to understand why the records must be kept in the first place.

Generally, we keep tax records for two basic reasons: (1) in case the IRS or a state agency Read More

The Statute of Limitations on an IRS Audit

Generally, the IRS can include returns filed within the last three years in an audit.  According to information contained on the IRS website, the IRS tries to audit tax returns as soon as possible after they are filed. This means that most IRS audits will be of returns filed within the last two years.

The IRS can choose to add additional years to an audit if a substantial error is identified.  In those cases, the IRS will not go back more than the last six years.

How Long Do I Have to Claim a Refund?

Just as the IRS must audit a tax return within a certain period of time, taxpayers also have Read More

A few years ago, a client came to me almost at the point of a nervous breakdown. He had been recently audited by the IRS and subsequently received a tax bill in the mail for over $180,000! After briefly perusing the documents he brought in, I quickly realized that something was significantly amiss with this tax bill. So I advised him not to panic, but to leave his documents with me. After comparing the audit adjustments with his documents, I decided that we had to go and pay the IRS a visit.

A couple weeks later, we were sitting down with the officer who had conducted the audit and his manager, and after reviewing the audit adjustments together, the amount originally assessed was eventually cut in half. The audit officer, who appeared to be a rookie, had apparently done a very poor job. Read More

A thick white envelope with a logo that looks like a yeti is scratching the top of a scale while a leaf floats through the scene arrives in your mailbox and frankly, you’re scared. That logo only means one thing: a letter from the IRS. And once you open the letter, you’re even more freaked out, because it’s an audit letter from the IRS that frankly, you don’t quite understand. Yikes So what do you do?

Here’s a quick checklist of how to survive your IRS audit letter:

First: Don’t Panic

Take a deep breath. Getting hysterical and angry is a rational response to upsetting news, but an audit doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. It simply means the IRS wants to Read More

A Lowell chiropractor was recently sentenced in federal court in the District of Massachusetts for bribing an IRS agent.

Stephen Jacobs, age 56, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to nine months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $ 10,000.

In October 2014, Mr. Jacobs pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official. According to the indictment, Mr. Jacobs met with an IRS auditor back in August of 2013 to answer questions pertaining to his 2011 federal income tax returns.

During the interview, the examiner asked Mr. Jacobs about two deductions that he had claimed for tax year 2011 – each in the amount of $ 5,000. Mr. Jacobs admitted to paying Read More

When we last left our anthropomorphic friends (see video below), Rigby was in a serious coma due to an allergic reaction from the eggs in the Eggscelent omelet, and doctors were not optimistic about his chances. Meanwhile, Mordecai discovered a long-lost journal from a former park employee that may hold the key to winning the challenge and the coveted trucker’s hat.

More to the point, when we last left our anonymous CFO and the company’s intrepid legal team, they were preparing for an “eggshell audit” from a government investigator. A Kovel Agreement can encourage open dialogue between professionals by expanding the attorney-client privilege, and there are certain things that government auditors can and cannot do. But what exactly are they looking for when they arrive? And how can you be ready? Read More

In Part one of this series, we examined the basics of the Church Audit Procedures Act.  In this Part, we are taking a look at what measures a church can take to be prepared in the event of an IRS examination.  These steps are not just to ward off the IRS, but are just good, basic business practices.

First, understand that there is not a high risk of your church being the subject of an IRS examination.  Although the IRS does not disclose such data, it is estimated that fewer than 100 churches per year are examined.  Those subject to such audits are those examining the most conspicuously bad behavior.  There is a higher chance that the Department of Labor would examine a church for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, but that is a topic for another time.

Read More

An IRS tax audit brings in its wake discontent and anger into the lives of taxpayers. The amount auditors impose may always seem wrongful or excessive. But believe me, there is a way out – appealing the IRS tax audit. For appealing, all you need is to approach the IRS Office of Appeals that has been created just for this purpose.

Take my word for it; most employees at the appeals office are former auditors with a good deal of either accounting or legal experience. They review the completed examination reports and then provide the opportunity for taxpayers to plead for a more favorable deal. They appeal to a power with greater authority in the IRS. The Office of Appeals avoids litigation since it resolves the tax disputes internally, which encourages taxpayers to stay compliant with the tax laws in the future. Read More

Vincent Burroughs who lives in Oregon was selected by the IRS for an audit of his tax returns. Little did he know that the IRS was going to clean him out in more ways than just his bank account.

Let me explain – maintaining a friendly but professional demeanor can be important to an audit or tax dispute. But having sex with a government agent for a better audit result – well not such a good idea. Yet a lawsuit involving an allegedly alluring—and demanding—female IRS agent suggests that sometimes facts and figures can become overwhelming. If you believe the plaintiff, Mr. Burroughs, passion it seems can overtake a tax audit. Read More

Your business is growing and you are prospering. Business is good. Life is good. Then the unbelievable happens, which turns your world upside down and pushes you into pure panic.

This panic mode is instantly brought on by receipt of an IRS audit letter.

Most of us don’t fear something exploding or catching on fire as much as we fear an IRS audit. Of course, the best way to survive a tax audit and even to come out of it successfully is not to panic, but to prepare.

Take it seriously.

Even though IRS audits are fairly routine events, they should be taken with the utmost Read More

Posted in sections, this is my Doctoral Thesis on taxpayers rights when audited by the tax authorities in South Africa – equally applicable to many English-based law systems in Africa and abroad (eg. India). This will be of particular use to any tax practitioners doing work in Africa and in other English-based legal systems around the world.

Analysis of Challenging The Commissioner’s Discretionary Powers In Auditing Taxpayers under The Constitution of The Republic of South Africa