Eight small business IRS audit areas to watch through 2013
The IRS continually analyzes compliance levels for entities, issues and industries by conducting hundreds of compliance projects and initiatives each year. Leading up to the start of the government’s fiscal year on Oct. 1, the IRS has announced emerging or significant areas that it will prioritize for the coming year. When it comes to compliance, the IRS has increasingly focused on small business under reporting, which is responsible for 84% of the $450 billion tax gap. At national and regional tax forums held this summer, the IRS projected small business areas where it will focus through 2013. Here are the highlights:
1. Fringe benefits, especially personal use of company cars. The IRS is completing its third and final year of a National Research Project on employment tax compliance. Early findings from these audits indicate that employers are not reporting employees’ personal use of company vehicles on Forms 1099 or W-2. Look for the IRS to investigate the use of all company cars, especially luxury autos, in its audits.
2. High income/high wealth taxpayers. The IRS defines high income/high wealth taxpayers as those who bring in a total positive income of more than $200,000 a year. Total positive income includes all gross receipts and sources of income before expenses and deductions. Through 2013, the IRS will focus on taxpayers with a total positive income of more than $1 million who file a Schedule C business return. Last year, the IRS audited 12.5% of all individuals with incomes of more than $1 million – a significant increase from 2010, when the IRS audited 8.4% of these taxpayers.
3. Form 1099-K matching. The IRS announced that it will start Form 1099-K matching in late 2013. The IRS provided a reprieve from merchant card reporting on business returns for 2011 Schedule C and Forms 1065, 1120S and 1120; however, the IRS plans to change its approach after 2012 returns are filed. The IRS has indicated that it plans to pilot a business-matching program that can address a large amount of small business noncompliance.
4. Credit for small business employee health insurance, under Section 45R. This credit, first available on 2010 returns, is now coming under IRS scrutiny. The IRS will examine small business employers and tax exempts for compliance with Section 45R eligibility requirements.