Dean Clayton T. Woo, C.P.A., Inc.
Newsletters

What Entities Will the IRS Target for 2014 and 2015 Audits?  
The GAO says that since FY 2010, the IRS has lost 10,000 employees and had its budget cut by $900 million. More cuts are proposed for the 2015 IRS budget. Identity theft issues, foreign asset reporting, and Affordable Care Act (ACA) responsibilities will continue to absorb personnel and resources. This budget reality will hamper IRS audit goals, but there are still many audit targets that you will want to discuss with your business clients in the next few months.
 
The rich and their entities. High-income taxpayers will continue to receive audit attention (at about a 9% rate for those reporting income of $1 million to $5 million). Since these taxpayers often have complex tax returns with income and losses from many flow-through entities, the audit of the owner will often lead to an expansion of the IRS examination into the various entities.
 
Partnership returns. Partnerships are the fastest-growing segment of all tax returns filed. The IRS hopes to expand its audits of partnership and LLC returns. Flow-through losses from developers and real estate investors will get special attention. The audit rate of partnerships and LLCs was a dismal .42% for FY 2013. The IRS did special training this year to increase the number of auditors with a specialized knowledge in partnership law.
 
Employment taxes. Employment taxes are a focus this year, and this includes a continuing look by the IRS at:

  1. Employee versus independent contractor,
  2. Form 1099 compliance, and
  3. S corporation reasonable compensation issues.

Remember that when the ACA’s employer mandate takes effect in 2015 and 2016, the employee versus independent contractor determination will become more important. Employer ACA penalties can be up to $3,000 for each misclassified employee.
 
Cash businesses. The tax gap remains a hot item, so cash-intensive businesses will receive a little more attention from the IRS. The IRS is using Form 1099-K to help it select some of these businesses for audit.
 
One more item of news on business audits. Ninety-four percent of small businesses use QuickBooks software for their accounting records, but the IRS does not have the budget to update its QuickBooks software yearly. Thus, it is unable to accept electronic records from many of the small businesses it is auditing. Without access to electronic records, the audit will be less efficient. Is that good or bad news for the taxpayer and/or the tax practitioner? We will talk about this at our fall Federal & California Tax Update classes.

Tax Alerts
Tax Briefing(s)

Final regulations relating to the low-income housing tax credit revise and clarify requirements that low-income housing agencies must follow when conducting physical inspections of low-income units and reviewing low-income certifications and other documentation. The regulations finalize previously issued temporary regulations (T.D. 9753, February 25, 2016).


The Senate’s top Democratic tax writer is calling on the IRS and Treasury to further waive underpayment penalties for the 2018 tax year. Nearly 30 million taxpayers are expected to have underpaid taxes last year, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).


Senators have introduced a bipartisan bill specifically tailored to reduce excise taxes and regulations for the U.S. craft beverage industry. The bill aims to promote job creation and permanently reduce certain taxes and compliance burdens.


The IRS’s proposed 50-percent gross income locational rule on the active conduct of Opportunity Zone businesses is garnering criticism from stakeholders and lawmakers alike. The IRS released proposed regulations, NPRM REG-115420-18, for tax reform’s Opportunity Zone program last October.


The IRS has said that it is postponing its plan to discontinue faxing taxpayer transcripts. The IRS statement came on the heels of a letter sent earlier this week from bipartisan leaders of the Senate Finance Committee urging such a delay.