One of our team members sat in on the Michigan Department of Treasury’s MI sales & use tax audit webinar to provide this short summary for your reference. Here are some tips to make your audit process easier and less painful!
Understand Your Basic Responsibilities
If you’ve already been selected for an audit and are familiar with your tax-collection responsibilities, skip ahead. For everyone else, it is important to know that sales & use tax collection is your obligation. When you don’t collect sales & use tax the liability falls on you. Even though customers commonly pay sales taxes, the selling business is the one responsible for adequately collecting and remitting sales taxes. (If you need help with sales tax compliance, reach out to one of our tax experts here.)
Fortunately, MI is an easier state to deal with sales and use tax. They only have the 6% rate for the entire state with no local rates, and their online platform MTO (Michigan Tax Online) is helpful and can make the process much easier! (Read about the benefits of MTO and refresh on general MI sales and use tax tips here.)
Why Did I Get Picked For An Audit?
If you receive an IRS Notice of Intent to Offset, your tax refund is going to be seized and put towards debt you owe to the IRS or another government agency. As part of the Treasury Offset Program (TOP), your tax refund checks are matched against any outstanding debts you owe a federal or state government agency. When you have an outstanding debt, your refund can be seized up to the amount of debt you owe.
Treasury Offset Program Debts
The TOP can be used to offset your refund when you owe any of the following debts:
- Unpaid child support
- Federal tax debt
- State tax debt
- Federal non-tax debt, such as federal student loans
- Some unemployment compensation debts
Your debt can generally be sent to TOP once it is 90 days past due. Your debt won’t go to the IRS—it goes to the agency you owe.
As defined within the 26 United States Code section 7201 by the Internal Revenue Code, failure to report taxes accurately, failure to report taxes and failure to pay taxes are all forms of tax evasion. In order to establish a case of tax evasion against you the government is tasked with the duty of proving beyond reasonable doubt that you the taxpayer attempted to evade a tax or the payment of a tax; an additional tax due and owing and that you as the taxpayer acted willfully. If the IRS proves your guilt then the repercussions to you will range from monetary fines to jail time.
Filing taxes can be a cumbersome and complex affair especially when it is done for a self-operated business or over a substantial amount of assets. Even the most innocent of mistakes may be interpreted as tax evasion thus making the line between a law-abiding tax-payer and a tax evader quite thin. Which is why you should know what the tax evasion statute is all about because in a case like this, ignorance can be quite expensive.
Do You Have Foreign Income?
In case you have foreign income or assets, you might be under an obligation to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) disclosing your assets and income to the IRS. The FBAR filing requirements specifically apply to US taxpayers with financial interest in, or signature authority over a financial account or foreign bank with a value of at least $10,000 at any point.
These FBAR requirements extend to U.S. residents, U.S. citizens and various kinds of business entities, such as limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations and partnerships. Keep in mind that FBAR violations, which usually involve failure to maintain relevant financial records or failure to file an FBAR, could result in severe penalties, especially if these violations are “willful.”
Failure To File
Since 2017, any failure to file can lead to harsh sentencing; this depends on how much you or your business has in foreign financial institutions or offshore accounts. A failure to disclose and furnish the information is usually an intentional act to deceive the IRS. You have to file the FBAR paperwork, as long as your accounts have over $10,000.
Tax evasion penalties in Michigan are no laughing matter. It’s easier than you might expect to get yourself into trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The main thing is not to be negligent, because legally speaking, it’s no excuse. Stay on top of your taxes.
Don’t procrastinate and don’t avoid opening the mail for fear of what you might find. If you live in Michigan and find yourself in tax trouble, call Ayar Law today at (248) 262-3400 for a free and confidential consultation.
In Michigan sales and use tax law determining whether an item of tangible personal property remains tangible personal property or becomes a fixture affixed to real estate can significantly affect the taxability of the item in question. This determination may impact whether the taxpayer is considered a retailer or a contractor.
There are also several exemptions in Michigan sales and use tax law for purchases of tangible personal property that do not apply if the item is instead a fixture. The Michigan sales and use tax exemptions for both the agricultural industry and the industrial processing or manufacturing industry include such language.
At TaxConnections, we are building a panel of experts that will answer your tax questions when you need. TaxConnections tax and financial experts are available to help you! In order to find the right expert to answer your inquiry, we need to shine the spotlight on our experts. We interviewed Ken May out of Michigan.
Ken has over 30 years of experience overseeing all aspects of a tax and accounting firm, leading a team in preparing personal and business tax returns with a proven hands-on financial manager who has demonstrated improvements in operational profit through effective financial controls, cost and general accounting, reporting and analysis.