Audit Feed

If you must have follow-up discussions with the Internal Revenue Service, one of the rights guaranteed under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is the option to hire an authorized representative. That can be anyone, from a relative to a paid tax professional. However, in some cases, your representative must be authorized to practice before the IRS. You also need to make sure to officially designate your chosen tax representative, or as it's known in tax-speak, third-party authorization. That's done by filing a written declaration with the IRS — Form 2848 (more on this later) can be used here — stating... Read more →


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash One of the outcomes of an audit is that the Internal Revenue Service finds no reason to demand changes to a return. That's obviously a welcome result. None of us want to end up paying Uncle Sam more taxes, plus penalty and interest charges. But there's still is a cost. We've likely paid a tax professional to help us through the process. And as the old credit card ad says, our time is priceless. Some audits end up OK for filers: The generally good news, according to the Aug. 4 Kiplinger Tax Letter, is... Read more →


Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash Are you freaking out about the possibility that one of the new Internal Revenue Service enforcement agents will be coming for you? Most of us don't have to worry. The prime targets are the very wealthy. Why has the IRS been instructed to go after this filing demographic? One reason is because the richest taxpayers who try to hide taxable assets offer the biggest return when they are caught. Another reason is that they've been flying under the IRS audit radar for way too long. Dramatic drop in high wealth audits: A Government Accountability Office... Read more →


Tax legislation is much more than just changes to the Internal Revenue Code. It's also a political statement. In an election year, which is essentially every year nowadays, it's also a political weapon. Republicans, who currently are slightly outnumbered on Capitol Hill by Democrats, didn't waste any time latching on to the Senate's passage on Aug. 7 of the Inflation Reduction Act. Notably, they cited potential added Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of taxpayers, thanks to part of the bill. Well aware that every federal return filer, even the most honest among us, worries about the IRS taking a closer look... Read more →


Photo by David Boeke via Flickr Democratic leaders in the Senate are still aiming to vote next week on the Build Back Better bill rewrite by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York and his intraparty frenemy Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. UPDATE, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022: The Senate approved the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 today along a 50-51 party-line vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote. The House is expected to consider the measure on Friday, Aug. 12. The 725 revised pages of H.R. 5376, now dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,... Read more →


A fully functioning Internal Revenue Service is critical to the success of the United States. That assessment comes from IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. It's not just a personal view, but part of Rettig's official opening message in the agency's just-released Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2022-2026. To get to that point, the report says the IRS' goal must be "putting the interests of our taxpayers first in everything we do." I know. Cynics are clicking away right now. The IRS hasn't had the best record here. To be the agency's devil's advocate — or, as a reader once described me,... Read more →


Charles Rettig was sworn in on Oct. 1, 2018, as IRS commissioner by then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He's now facing questions about audits of two former top FBI officials. The Internal Revenue Service has asked the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to look into what appear to be unusually timed audits of two former top FBI agents. Now the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee wants TIGTA to also look into the possible involvement of the IRS commissioner in the reportedly random, but intensive, National Research Program (NRP) audits of former FBI director James B. Comey and... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service is under scrutiny again, this time for conducting unusual and intensive audits of two top FBI officials who were critical of Donald J. Trump. The IRS has asked the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to investigate how former FBI director James B. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe, both were subjected to a rare, compliance research audit that is supposed to random. Congress also will get involved. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey) already, and repeatedly, has taken IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to task for IRS shortfalls and missteps. In May, during a hearing... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service's Whistleblower Office marked its 15th anniversary in fiscal year 2021 by making 179 awards to whistleblowers totaling more than $36 million. "Whistleblower claim numbers assigned in FY 2021 grew by 55% year over year, the second highest level of new claim numbers in the history of the program and claim closures also increased by 13%," wrote John Hinman, director of the IRS Whistleblower Office, in the introduction to the office's 2021 Annual Report to Congress, released on June 10. Those tips led to the IRS collecting in fiscal 2021 more than $245 million, which includes almost... Read more →


The 16-year tax fight between a former pizza franchise mogul and the state of Kansas is over. The Sunflower State owes Gene Bicknell $63 million. At least that's the amount that Bicknell, who at one time owned the most Pizza Huts in the world, says he's due from the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) after it erroneously taxed him as a Kansas resident when he lived in Florida. Kansas vs. Florida tax residence status: Bicknell's legal tax residency was at the heart of the multimillion-dollar tax matter. The KDOR said Bicknell was a Kansas resident. Bicknell, however, argued that his... Read more →


Here are this weekend's full Flower Moon eclipse stages. The moon moves right to left, passing through the penumbra and umbra, leaving in its wake an eclipse diagram with the times (Eastern time zone) at various stages of the eclipse. Visualizations by Ernie Wright, NASA Scientific Visualization Studio. Click here for the video version. And if it's cloudy where you live, you can livestream the eclipse. It's Friday the 13th, the only one in 2022. A total lunar eclipse will turn the full Flower Moon red Sunday night. The only thing that could amp up our combined superstitions and natural... Read more →


Don't be an April Fool, or gullible person who's an easily caught fish when it comes to fakes floating around today. And never get caught in a tax myth net, on April 1 or any day. How's your April Fools' Day going? I hope you haven't been tricked into believing some outrageous claims. There even are a few April 1 tax pranks out there on social media. Don't fall for them. If you read or hear something tax-related that sounds a bit sketchy, take the time to check it out with reputable tax sources. To help in this area, here... Read more →


And while the new $600 trigger for Venmo, PayPal, and other such electronic transfer options does apply to this year's transactions, you won't get the associated 1099-K forms until next (2023) filing season. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay You and your pals regularly meet for lunch or happy hour and split the costs. You also send your baby sister some cash when she runs low. And, of course, you do all this via a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app that lets you transfer money quickly to your friends and family members' mobile devices. Now you're freaking out because you heard... Read more →


You checked out my post on who has to file a tax return (thank you!) and confirmed that you're one of the select lucky few who doesn't have to file a 1040. But you still might want to send the Internal Revenue Service a tax return. Here are 10 such should-file situations, starting with the ones that could get you a tax refund. 1. Too much tax was withheld. Most of us have income tax amounts taken from our regular paychecks. Other sources of income also sometimes take some tax amounts off the top. When too much is withheld, you're... Read more →


Technology, not heavy equipment, can close the Tax Gap, according to two former IRS commissioners. The Tax Gap has always been a concern of the Internal Revenue Service, Congress, and taxpayers who pay their taxes. Basically, it's the amount of money the IRS figures it is due from filers, but which it's been unable to collect. Two former IRS execs say they know a way the agency can collect more unpaid taxes. Even better, write former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti (he was head honcho from 1997 to 2001) and Fred Forman, former associate commissioner for modernization from 2000 to 2004,... Read more →


When is a tax whistleblower not a whistleblower, at least as far as getting rewarded for certain information? When the Internal Revenue Service determines that added taxes didn't directly come from the whistleblower's, well, whistle blowing. That's what recently happened to a man who altered the IRS to what he thought was unreported, and therefore untaxed, income. The IRS, acting on the tip, reviewed the reported individual's apparently questionable filing. However, the IRS found that the suspect funds were indeed non-taxable. But then the IRS took a longer look at the taxpayer's filing, and found what it determined were improper... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service and those who want Uncle Sam to go after tax evaders were elated when a bipartisan infrastructure bill included money for enhanced tax collection efforts. Proponents said the beefed-up proposal to close the Tax Gap could bring in an additional $100 billion over the next 10 years in owed but unpaid taxes. However, that funding option has been scuttled. "Well, one reason it's not part of the [infrastructure] proposal is that we did have [Republican] pushback," said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) during an appearance today on CNN's "State of the Union" program. But there's still hope... Read more →


We regular folks tend to have a complicated relationship with the wealthy. And by complicated, I mean one-sided, unrealistic, and too often reverential. Being aspirational, we love to gawk at what they can get away with because of their money, and dream of one day being in their Manolos and mansions. That's fueled way too many not-really reality shows. Such hopes also are a big reason scammers can convince wealthy wannabes to fall for schemes that peddle false hopes of large tax deductions. In real-life tax reality, these dodges simply are a way to push hopeful taxpayers further away from... Read more →


Here's some good news to kick off you weekend. Most U.S. taxpayers say cheating on taxes is wrong. Of the taxpayers who participated in the Internal Revenue Service's 2020 Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey (CTAS), 87 percent said it is not at all acceptable to cheat on their income taxes. Even more, 94 percent, believe it is a civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes. Another 91 percent said everyone who cheats on their taxes should be held accountable. The combination online-telephone survey was conducted from Aug. 24, 2020, through Sept. 24, 2020, by Pacific Consulting Group (PCG). PCG... Read more →


Photo of John McAfee shared by his wife earlier this year as part of a Twitter post arguing for his release from a Spanish prison. Last week, millionaire software developer John McAfee was in a Spanish court arguing that he shouldn't be extradited to the United States to face tax evasion charges. Today, MacAfee was found dead in his cell at a Barcelona-area jail. There's no official word on the cause of death. News reports, however, say a preliminary investigation found no signs of foul play. Early indications are that McAfee hanged himself. Hours before the discovery, Spain's National Court... Read more →