The IRS announced on September 8, 2023 that under the Inflation Reduction Act where the IRS is receiving $80 billion in new funding, the IRS is shifting more attention onto high-income earners, partnerships, large corporations and promoters abusing the nation’s tax laws while using Artificial Intelligence and improved technology to identify sophisticated schemes to avoid taxes.
As part of the effort, the IRS will also ensure audit rates do not increase for those earning less than $400,000 a year as well as adding new fairness safeguards for those claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC was designed to help workers with modest incomes. The IRS reports that audit rates of those receiving the EITC remain at high levels in recent years while rates dropped precipitously for those with higher income, partnerships and others with more complex tax situations. The IRS will also be working to ensure unscrupulous tax preparers do not exploit people claiming these important tax credits.
How IRS Is Using Artificial Intelligence To Expand Its High-income/high wealth And Partnership Compliance Work –
Prioritization of high-income cases. In the High Wealth, High Balance Due Taxpayer Field Initiative, the IRS is intensifying work on taxpayers with total positive income above $1 million that have more than $250,000 in recognized tax debt. The IRS announced it will have more Revenue Officers focusing on these high-end collection cases.
Expansion of pilot focused on largest partnerships leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2021, the IRS launched the first stage of its Large Partnership Compliance (LPC) program with examinations of some of the largest and most complex partnership returns in the filing population. The IRS is now expanding the LPC program to additional large partnerships. With the help of AI, the selection of these returns by IRS is the result of its collaboration among experts in data science and tax enforcement, who have been working side-by-side to apply cutting-edge machine learning technology to identify potential compliance risk in the areas of partnership tax, general income tax and accounting, and international tax in a taxpayer segment that historically has been subject to limited examination coverage. By the end of September 2023, the IRS expects to open examinations of 75 of the largest partnerships in the U.S. that represent a cross section of industries including hedge funds, real estate investment partnerships, publicly traded partnerships, large law firms and other industries.
Expanded work on digital assets. The IRS continues to expand efforts involving digital assets, including work through the John Doe summons effort and the August 2023 release of proposed regulations of broker reporting. The IRS Virtual Currency Compliance Campaign will continue after an initial review by IRS showed the potential for a 75% non-compliance rate among taxpayers identified through record production from digital currency exchanges.
More scrutiny on FBAR violations. The IRS believes that there are high-income taxpayers utilizing Foreign Bank accounts to avoid disclosure and related taxes. A U.S. person with a financial interest over a foreign financial account is required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) if the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts is more than $10,000 at any time. The IRS announced that its analysis of multi-year filing patterns has identified hundreds of possible FBAR non-filers with account balances that average over $1.4 million.
Labor brokers. The IRS has reported that it has seen instances where construction contractors are making Form 1099-MISC/1099-NEC payments to an apparent subcontractor, but the subcontractor is a “shell” company that has no legitimate business relationship with the contractor. Monies paid to shell companies are exchanged at Money Service Businesses or flowed through accounts in the name of the shell company and returned to the original contractor. Based on the foregoing the IRS will be looking to expand attention in this area with both civil audits and criminal investigations. The scheme has already been seen in Texas and Florida.
Importance To Preserve Records
Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. For California taxpayers, the Franchise Tax Board has up to four years to select a California State Income Tax Return for audit. In some cases these 3 and 4 year periods are extended to six years. When a taxpayer is selected for audit, the taxpayer has the burden of proof to show that expenses claimed are properly deductible. Having the evidence handy and organized makes meeting this burden of proof much easier.
Essential Records to Have for a Tax Audit
If you are getting ready for a tax audit, one of the most important things to do is gather and organize your tax records and receipts. There’s a good chance that you have a large amount of documents and receipts in your possession. No matter how organized you are, it can be a daunting task to collect the right pieces and make sure that you have them organized and handy for the audit conference.
We have seen many tax audits that hinge on whether or not the taxpayer can provide proper documentation for their previous tax filings. A tax lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere can make sure that the documentation is complete and proper. By submitting this to your tax attorney in advance of the audit, your tax attorney can review your documentation and determine if there are any gaps that need to be addressed before starting the dialogue with the IRS agent.
So what are the most essential tax records to have ahead of your audit? Here are a few must-have items:
- Any W-2 forms from the previous year. This can include documents from full-time and part-time work, large casino and lottery winnings and more.
- Form 1098 records from your bank or lender on mortgage interest paid from the previous year.
- Records of any miscellaneous money you earned and reported to the IRS including work done as an independent contractor or freelancer, interest from savings accounts and stock dividends.
- Written letters from charities confirming your monetary donations from the previous year.
- Receipts for business expenses you claimed.
- Mileage Logs for business use of vehicle.
- Entertainment and Travel Logs for business
Appealing Results Of An IRS Tax Audit
Now if your IRS tax audit is not resolved, the results may be challenged. After the Revenue Agent has concluded the tax examination, the agent will issue a copy of the examination report explaining the agent’s proposed changes along with notice of your appeals rights. Pay attention to the type of letter that is included as it will dictate the appeals process available to you.
The “30-day letter”
The “30-day letter” gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the IRS Office Of Appeals. To do this, you need to file a Tax Protest within 30 days of the date of the notice. The Appeals Office is the only level of appeal within the IRS and is separate from and independent of the IRS office taking the action you disagree with. Conferences with Appeals Office personnel are held in an informal manner by correspondence, by telephone, or at a personal conference.
The “Notice Of Deficiency”
If the IRS does not adopt your position, it will send a notice proposing a tax adjustment (known as a statutory notice of deficiency). The statutory notice of deficiency gives you the right to challenge the proposed adjustment in the United States Tax Court before paying it. To do this, you need to file a petition within 90 days of the date of the notice (150 days if the notice is addressed to you outside the United States). If you filed your petition on time, the court will eventually schedule your case for trial at the designation place of trial you set forth in your petition. Prior to trial you should have the opportunity to seek a settlement with IRS Area Counsel and in certain cases, such settlement negotiations could be delegated to the IRS Office Of Appeals. If there is still disagreement and the case does go to trial, you will have the opportunity to present your case before a Tax Court judge. The judge after hearing your case and reviewing the record and any post-trial briefs will render a decision in the form of an Opinion. It could take as much as two years after trial before an Opinion issued. If the Opinion is not appealed to a Circuit Court Of Appeals, then the proposed deficiency under the Opinion is final and your account will be sent to IRS Collections.
IRS Area Counsel are experienced trial attorneys working for the IRS whose job is to litigate cases in the U.S. Tax Court and look out for the best interests of the Federal government. So to level the playing field, it would be prudent for a taxpayer to hire qualified tax counsel as soon as possible to seek a mutually acceptable resolution without the need for trial, and if that does not happen, to already have the legal expertise in place to vigorously defend you at trial.
What Should You Do?
You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you and if you are involved in crypto-currency, check out what a Bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.