Audit Feed

Uncle Sam and we taxpayers all have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. From the government's point of view, Treasury took in almost $3.25 trillion in taxes for the 2015 fiscal year that ended back on Sept. 30. And from taxpayers' perspective, that record amount or tax dollars was achieved without most of us having to endure a tax audit. Based on tax data from fiscal 2014, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that the Internal Revenue Service's examination function -- that's tax-speak for auditing of returns -- dropped by 11 percent from the fiscal... Read more →

Computers and taxes are inseparable. Most of us use our computers to file our taxes every year. The Internal Revenue Service relies on its computers, which it keeps telling Congress it needs money to upgrade, to process those millions of electronically completed and filed returns. Now some computer scientists are working on an algorithm that could help catch some tax cheats. Partnership tax shelter troubles: Specifically, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the nonprofit technology research and development organization Mitre Corporation, are focusing on a certain type of tax shelter used by partnerships. "We see the tax code... Read more →

The highway funding bill that President Obama signed today may be short-term (money runs out again on Oct. 29) when it comes to providing money for roads and infrastructure, but it will have some lasting tax effects. Here are some of the tax highlights from the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. More mortgage reporting: Mortgage lenders already issue annual statements, either the official Form 1098 or an approved substitute document, to borrowers and the Internal Revenue Service. This form goes to homeowners who paid at least $600 loan interest during the tax year and... Read more →

Jeb Bush really did have 33 years of tax returns on hand and he opened them up for public inspection yesterday. When the former Florida governor announced that as part of his campaign to be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee that he was going to go to the extreme on personal tax transparency, I immediately wondered why he selected that particular number of years. I also wondered how come he had that many years of tax records on hand. I was not alone. CPA and Twitter pal Deanna Richardson also was intrigued by the massive amount of tax records. Most... Read more →

You filed your tax return. Now the Internal Revenue Service has questions about your Form 1040. While hearing from the tax collector about your return is always a little unnerving, it doesn't necessarily have to be a big deal. A notice does not mean you are under audit. Neither does it mean that your return was incorrectly filed. And in many cases, any issues the IRS has with your 1040 can be quickly resolved. Here are 10 tips to help you deal efficiently and effectively with an IRS notice or letter. 1. Don't panic. You are not alone. The IRS... Read more →

I been on a tidying up kick of late. As the before and after photos below show, I finally found my office's floor. The old material at left was filed or tossed. Mostly filed. I also sorted through my grocery coupon collection. Fighting all my hoarder instincts, I threw out old ones, some I've had for decades, finally admitting I'd never use them. I know the employees at my local grocery store will be happy that I won't be tempted by these old savings slips. When I did use a "no expiration date" coupon a couple of years ago, the... Read more →

I was a relative latecomer to smartphones, but once I got one, I was hooked. I'm not so addicted that I spent days in line to get an iPhone 6 (no 6 Plus for me; I like putting my phone in a pocket, not a purse). But the hubby and I probably will trade in our older versions sometime next year. The blessing of today's mobile technology is that the phones are much more than just devices on which to call your mom every weekend. That's also the wireless curse. We use them a lot for a lot of different... Read more →

I filed our 2013 federal tax return yesterday, a whole eight days before it was absolutely, positively due. But some of the 3 million or so filers (out of 13 million who filed for an extension back in April) will wait until Oct. 15 to send their 1040s to the Internal Revenue Service. Most of them already paid their tax bills, or close to what they owe Uncle Sam, when they submitted Form 4868 to get six more months to finishes their paperwork. So those filers don't have to worry about coming up with more, or at least a lot... Read more →

It was another bad week for the Internal Revenue Service. First, it was revealed that one of the tax agency's workers faced disciplinary action for improper political activities while on the job. Then judges in two lawsuits against the IRS have demanded that the agency provide official explanations of missing emails that might be tied to the continuing nonprofit tax status problems. First the politicking worker. Out-of-line Obama phone chant: It's not the political involvement that Republican members of Congress have been searching for, but one Internal Revenue Service employee did use his official position to push for the president's... Read more →

How's your Friday the 13th going? I hope you're not too friggatriskaidekaphobic because today actually is pretty cool. Black cat, Groucho Marx quote poster courtesy Just Cats Today's Friday the 13th coincides with a full moon. It's the first time in nearly a century that this has happened. The moon actually was at its peak at 12:11 a.m. Eastern Time. The last time these two events fell on the same day was Oct. 13, 2000. The next time will be Aug. 13, 2049. Here, courtesy, are the past and future Friday the 13ths and full moon days: I admit... Read more →

Are we just a bit too paranoid in the wake of the Edward Snowden National Security Agency revelations? Maybe. Maybe not. Take taxes. (Please! Rimshot.) Social media tax cheating clues: As almost 132 million of us were sending in our federal tax returns on April 15, reports resurfaced about the Internal Revenue Service using online activity trackers to sift through the mass amounts of data available on the Internet. This Web-based information, according to Marketplace, supplements what the tax collector already knows about us, including our Social Security numbers, health records, banking statements and property. "It appears from its public... Read more →

It's one day until the tax filing deadline. Are you panicking yet? Don't. You've got time. Technically, we have a day and a half (sorry for not posting sooner; one of those crazy days) to get our returns done -- and by "we," I mean all y'all planning to send in a 1040 because I've already filed an extension. The Internal Revenue Service accepts as timely filed returns that are postmarked or e-filed by midnight April 15 local time, so that gives you today and tomorrow. To help you cope with any still pending tax issues (remember, tomorrow is the... Read more →

Despite shutting down its system completely for most of last week after the Heartbleed bug was revealed, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) says that the ID numbers of around 900 people were stolen. The national tax agency reopened its computer systems Sunday, April 13, after applying a patch for Heartbleed. But before that was accomplished, the breach allowed the unauthorized access to the 900 CRA accounts. CRA Commissioner Andrew Treusch today released a statement regarding the unauthorized access to the tax system: "Regrettably, the CRA has been notified by the Government of Canada's lead security agencies of a malicious breach... Read more →

Every tax filing season we hear the stories. Folks claim, often successfully, a variety of wacky tax deductions. There's the bodybuilder (No, not Arnold, but c'mon, what a great poster shot! I had to use it!) who was allowed to write off body oil as a business expense. The exotic dancer whose breast implants were deemed deductible stage props for her job. (Did you really think I'd go there with the image choice for this post?) The gas station owner who gave his customers free beer and then legally deducted the brewski promotion as a business expense. As all my... Read more →

We're a week away from Tax Day 2014. Some folks, however, are dreading the months, and possibly years, after the annual April deadline. That's when they will get to know the Internal Revenue Service better as it audits their returns. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted the always-present possibility of tax audits when he spoke last week at a National Press Club luncheon: "[T]axpayers need to be confident that the IRS will treat them fairly. It doesn't make any difference who they are, what organizations they belong to, or whom they voted for in the last election. None of that matters... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service and state tax offices have for years accepted digital documentation when it comes to tax claims. Now a Philadelphia man's selfies are getting attention as yet another way to make a tax-saving point. Architect Andrew Jarvis calls Philadelphia home, but spends time in both his firm's New York City and Philly offices. After commuting between the two cities one too many times, he decided to rent an apartment in the Big Apple for those visits when meetings ran late. Then he learned of New York City's tax residency rules. If the New York State Department of... Read more →

Here it is, almost time for me to post over at at Bankrate Taxes Blog and I've yet to note here on the ol' blog what topics I recently covered over there. I'm blaming my delay on a persistent Daylight Saving Time hangover. Or the Polar Vortex. Or ... Whatever the excuse reason, I'm finally getting to it. So without any special lead-in or futher ado, here's what I wrote about last week at my other tax blog. First there was my look at the Internal Revenue Service's audit of three college bowls. Apparently, tax examiner interest was piqued by... Read more →

Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency (NSA) hacker and data leaker, appeared via video at the South by Southwest Interactive conference this week. From presumably his Moscow digs, the fugitive and Vladimir Putin BFF, urged the Austin crowd to fight what he called the fire that government spying has ignited on the Internet. Click image for full KVUE report on Edward Snowden video appearance at SXSW. Cynics among us rolled our eyes and noted that there aren't enough digital fire trucks to take care of official peeks into our lives. Just ask state tax departments. Tax publisher Bloomberg BNA recently... Read more →

The U.S. economy is getting better. Except in sectors where it isn't. About the only thing economists, politicians and consumers can agree on is that we have no good idea yet of the country's real economic direction. And that means lots of folks are still looking for work. Tax season can be an added hassle for the unemployed. But it also can provide some folks a shot at a job, at least for a little while., the website that focuses on positions that offer worker flexibility, such as telecommuting, part-time, freelance or flextime posts, has come up with some... Read more →

Well, that tax audit didn't go as the Internal Revenue Service had planned. William Berroyer was in the IRS' Hauppauge, Long Island, office in 2008 working out a deal on $60,000 in taxes the agency said he owed. Instead, four years later Berroyer is $862,000 richer. But it has nothing to do with what was on his 1040. The six-figure addition to Berroyer's bank account is from a physical injury that Berroyer sustained during the return examination. In a suit filed in federal court, Berroyer said during that fateful audit he tripped over a phone cord and fell against a... Read more →