Ohio taxpayers impacted by March 2024 tornados qualify for tax relief

On May 16, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by tornadoes that began on March 14, 2024 in Ohio. These taxpayers now have until September 3, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The September 3, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension beyond September 3 for their 2023 federal income tax return if you have not already filed an extension, should request it by filing a paper copy by September 3. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on September 3, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on April 15, 2024 and June 17, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on April 30, 2024 and July 31, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after March 14, 2024, and before March 29, 2024, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by March 29, 2024.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 28, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on March 25, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, landslides and mudslides that began on November 20, 2023 in parts of Alaska now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Ohio – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Auglaize, Crawford, Darke, Delaware, Hancock, Licking, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Richland and Union counties.

For Alaska – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in the Wrangell Cooperative Association of Alaska Tribal Nation.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State or “4763-DR” for Alaska or “4777-DR” for Ohio.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is 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

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

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 cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

IRS further extends tax relief for Hawaii 2023 wildfire victims

On March 27, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced further postponement until August 7, 2024, various tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for individuals and businesses affected by the August 8, 2023, wildfires in Hawaii. Previously, the deadline was February 15, 2024.

The August 7, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on September 15, 2023, January 16, 2024, April 15, 2024 and June 17, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2023, January 31, 2024, April 30, 2024 and July 31, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, individuals, businesses and tax-exempt organizations who had valid extensions to file their 2022 returns will now have until August 7, 2024, to file them. However, payments on these returns are not eligible for relief because they were originally due before the wildfires occurred.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 28, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on March 25, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, landslides and mudslides that began on November 20, 2023 in parts of Alaska now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Hawaii – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Maui and Hawaii counties.

For Alaska – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in the Wrangell Cooperative Association of Alaska Tribal Nation.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State or “4763-DR” for Alaska or “4724-DR” for Hawaii.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is 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

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

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 cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

IRS Using Inflation Reduction Act Funding To Ramp Up Audits Of High-income Non-filers

IRS has identified 125,000 persons who failed to file tax returns with financial activity topping $100 billion.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act the IRS is receiving $80 billion in new funding over nine years. The $80 billion price tag is more than six times the current annual IRS budget of $12.6 billion. The money will be distributed to IRS over nine years and comes with few strings attached.

IRS Claims Of Collection Enforcement And Examinations

On February 29, 2024 the IRS announced continued progress to expand enforcement efforts and increase scrutiny related to high-income individuals, large corporations, complex partnerships who do not pay overdue tax bills as a result of the additional funding it is receiving under the Inflation Reduction Act.

In its enforcement efforts and increasing scrutiny, the IRS is focusing on high-income taxpayers who have failed to file federal income tax returns in more than 125,000 instances since 2017.

The new initiative begins with IRS CP59 compliance letters going out in March 2024 on more than 125,000 cases where tax returns haven’t been filed since 2017. The mailings include more than 25,000 to those with more than $1 million in income, and over 100,000 to people with incomes between $400,000 and $1 million between tax years 2017 and 2021.  These are all cases where IRS has received third party information—such as through Forms W-2 and 1099s—indicating these people received income in these ranges but failed to file a tax return.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel noted Inflation Reduction Act resources allows the IRS “to increase scrutiny on high-income taxpayers as we work to reverse the historic low audit rates and limited focus that the wealthiest individuals and organizations faced in the years that predated the Inflation Reduction Act. At this time of year when millions of hard-working people are doing the right thing paying their taxes, we cannot tolerate those with higher incomes failing to do a basic civic duty of filing a tax return.”

IRS Actions Escalate If Tax Returns Are Not Filed

People who don’t respond to the non-filer letter will receive additional notices and other enforcement actions. Ultimately, this can lead to a variety of IRS compliance activity, including collection and audit action as well as potential criminal prosecution. As part of this, the IRS can also take steps to file what’s known as a Substitute for Return (SFR).

If a person repeatedly fails to respond and does not file, the IRS may create a substitute tax return for the taxpayer. The IRS calculates this substitute tax return based on wages and other income reported to the agency by employers, financial institutions and others. The return factors in the tax, penalty and interest owed by the taxpayer.

This tax return might not give the person credit for deductions and exemptions they may be entitled to receive because the IRS does not know each taxpayer’s situation. In this scenario, the IRS will send a notice of deficiency CP3219N (a 90-day letter) proposing a tax assessment. The taxpayer will have 90 days to file the past due tax return or file a petition in Tax Court. If the person does neither, the IRS will proceed with the proposed assessment.

If the IRS files a substitute return, it is still in the person’s best interest to file their own tax return to take advantage of any exemptions, credits and deductions they are entitled to receive. The IRS will generally adjust the account to reflect the correct figures.

The tax return the IRS prepares for these taxpayers will likely lead to a tax bill, which, if unpaid, will trigger the collection process. This can include such actions as a levy on wages or a bank account or the filing of a notice of federal tax lien. If a taxpayer repeatedly does not file, they could be subject to additional enforcement measures, such as additional penalties and/or criminal prosecution.

New examples of cases closed since the Inflation Reduction Act passed

  • In January 2024, two individuals were sentenced to 25 years and 23 years respectively in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns and money laundering for their role in promoting a fraudulent tax shelter scheme involving syndicated conservation easements.
  • In December 2023, a Swiss Bank entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and agreed to pay approximately $122.9 million to the U.S. Treasury for their role in assisting U.S. taxpayer-clients with evading their U.S. taxes by opening and maintaining undeclared accounts. The bank also maintained accounts of certain U.S. taxpayer-clients in a manner that allowed them to further conceal their undeclared accounts from the IRS. In total, from 2008 through 2014, the bank held 1,637 U.S. Penalty Accounts, with aggregate maximum assets under management of approximately $5.6 billion in January 2008, on behalf of clients who collectively evaded approximately $50.6 million in U.S. taxes.
  • In December 2023, an individual was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months and ordered to pay more than $130,000 in restitution, another was sentenced to 102 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5M in restitution and a third individual was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5M in restitution for their involvement in a RICO Conspiracy for cyber intrusion and tax fraud. These individuals used the dark web to purchase server credentials for the computer servers of Certified Public Accounting and tax preparation firms across the country.
  • In December 2023, an individual was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison and ordered to pay over $470,000 in restitution to the IRS for filing a false tax return while working as a money mule for romance scams. The individual opened and maintained bank accounts to collect proceeds from the schemes and to send the money to himself and others overseas.
  • An individual was sentenced to 57 months in prison for their failure to pay more than $1.35 million of taxes arising from their operation of several restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. The individual evaded taxes by concealing assets and obscuring the large sums of money they took from the businesses by purchasing property in the name of a nominee entity and causing false entries in the businesses’ books and records to hide personal purchases using business bank accounts.

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?

Protect yourself and contact a trusted tax professional to quickly prepare and file your late tax returns to prevent or mitigate adverse tax consequences that could involve imposition of penalties and even criminal prosecution.  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), the San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose and Walnut Creek) 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.

Alaska taxpayers impacted by November 2023 severe storms qualify for tax relief

On March 25, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, landslides and mudslides that began on November 20, 2023 in parts of Alaska. These taxpayers now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The June 17, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on January 16, 2024, April 15, 2024 and June 17, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2023, January 31, 2024 and April 30, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after November 20, 2023, and before December 5, 2023, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by December 5, 2023.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 28, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Alaska – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in the Wrangell Cooperative Association of Alaska Tribal Nation.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State or “4763-DR” for Alaska.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is 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

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

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 cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

Spokane area taxpayers impacted by August 2023 wildfires qualify for tax relief

On February 28, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by wildfires that began on August 18, 2023 in parts of Washington State. These taxpayers now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The June 17, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on September 15, 2023, January 16, 2024 and April 15, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2023, January 31, 2024 and April 30, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after August 18, 2023, and before September 5, 2023, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by September 5, 2023.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced and the FTB announced on February 27, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Washington State – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Spokane County.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California or “4759-DR” for Washington State.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is 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

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

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 cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

San Diego area taxpayers impacted by January 2024 severe storms and flooding qualify for tax relief

On February 27, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024 in parts of California. These taxpayers now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

Additionally, on February 27, 2024, the California Franchise Tax Board announced tax relief for San Diego County taxpayers impacted by severe storms and flooding that began on January 21, 2024. Individuals and businesses with their principal residence or place of business in San Diego County will have until June 17, 2024, to file certain California individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The June 17, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on January 31, 2024 and April 30, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after January 21, 2024, and before February 5, 2024, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by February 5, 2024.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 15, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For California – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in San Diego County.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: 4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine or “4758-DR” for California.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is 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

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

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 cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

Did You Receive Funds From The Employee Retention Credit Program That You Were Not Eligible To Receive?

Time is running out to participate in the Employee Retention Credit Voluntary Disclosure Program, which ends on March 22, 2024.

If you claimed and received funds from the Employee Retention Credit (“ERC”) Program and now realize that you were not entitled to receive those funds, you should consider entering into the Employee Retention Credit Voluntary Disclosure Program (“ERC-VDP”). The IRS believes that there are taxpayers who were lured by promoters to apply to the IRS to get funds from the ERC Program even though the promoters knew that the taxpayer did not qualify to get funds from the ERC Program.  If such a taxpayer is selected for examination by the IRS and the IRS determines that the ERC claim is erroneous, such taxpayer will be required to repay the ERC funds with penalties and interest.  Criminal prosecution is also possible where egregious circumstances and willful intent are present.

Criminal exposure and a reduced amount of payback is available by entering into ERC-VDP.  The ERC-VDP allows filers of erroneous ERC claims to voluntarily disclose ERC claims made in error and pay only 80% of the amount received without any worry of criminal exposure.  But the deadline to apply for ERC-VDP is quickly approaching – you only have through March 22, 2024 to apply.

Details Of ERC-VDP.

The program requires you to:

  • Voluntarily pay back the ERC funds received, minus 20%,
  • Cooperate with any requests from the IRS for more information, and
  • Sign a closing agreement.

Benefits Of ERC-VDP.

There are several benefits to using the ERC-VDP if you received the ERC funds but were not entitled to them.

  • You need to repay only 80% of the ERC funds you received as a credit on your return or as a refund.
  • You do not need to repay any interest you received on your ERC refund.
  • You do not have to amend income tax returns to reduce wage expense.
  • The 20% retention of ERC funds is not taxable as income.
  • The IRS will not charge penalties or interest on the claimed ERC amount if you pay it in full (claimed ERC minus 20%) by the time you return your signed closing agreement to IRS.
  • The IRS will not examine ERC on your employment tax return for tax period(s) resolved within the terms of ERC-VDP.

Who can apply to the ERC-VDP.

Businesses, tax-exempt organizations, and government entities are eligible to apply for the ERC-VDP for each tax period that meets all the following requirements:

  • Your ERC claimed on an employment tax return has been processed and paid as a refund, which you have cashed or deposited, or paid in the form of a credit applied to the tax period or another tax period.
  • You now think that you were entitled to $0 ERC.
  • You are not under employment tax examination (audit) by the IRS.
  • You are not under criminal investigation by the IRS.
  • The IRS has not reversed or notified you of intent to reverse your ERC to $0. For example, you received a letter or notice from the IRS disallowing your ERC.

If you used a third-party payer to file your employment tax returns or claim your ERC, you cannot apply to the ERC-VDP yourself. You must contact the third-party payer to apply.  Also, if you have applied for ERC and have yet to receive the ERC funds, you cannot participate in ERC-VDP.  Instead you would need to pursue the ERC claim withdrawal process.

How to apply to ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program.

The submission of Form 15434, Application for Employee Retention Credit Voluntary Disclosure Program, will start the process which must be filed no later than March 22, 2024.  Additionally, if your application includes tax periods ending in 2020, you must include ERC-VDP Form SS-10. By utilizing qualified tax counsel, you should have the greatest likelihood of meeting the ERC-VDP requirements and thus securing all the program’s benefits.

What Should You Do?

We encourage taxpayers who are concerned about their ERC funding awards to come in voluntarily before the IRS commences any examination or investigation.  By then, it will be too late to avoid the risk of returning all ERC funds awarded plus interest and penalties.

Let the tax attorneys of the  Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), San Diego County (Carlsbad) and elsewhere in California can help you with your ERC-VDP application, give advice about this process, or advice on the ERC. 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. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it is important to that you have hired the best lawyer for your situation. We are experts 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.

Michigan taxpayers impacted by August 2023 flooding and severe storms qualify for tax relief

On February 15, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on August 24, 2023 in parts of Michigan. These taxpayers now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The June 17, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on September 15, 2023, January 16, 2024 and April 15, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2023, January 31, 2024 and April 30, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, individuals and businesses that had an extension to file their 2022 returns will also have until June 17, 2024, to file them. However, tax-year 2022 tax payments are not eligible for this relief because they were originally due last spring, before the disaster occurred.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after August 24, 2023, and before September 8, 2023, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by September 8, 2023.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For Michigan – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: “4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is 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

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

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 cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.

IRS ramps up new initiatives using Inflation Reduction Act funding

More than $482 million recovered from 1,600 millionaires who have not paid tax debts.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act the IRS is receiving $80 billion in new funding over nine years. The $80 billion price tag is more than six times the current annual IRS budget of $12.6 billion. The money will be distributed to IRS over nine years and comes with few strings attached.

IRS Claims Of Collection Enforcement And Examinations

On January 12, 2024 the IRS announced continued progress to expand enforcement efforts and increase scrutiny related to high-income individuals, large corporations, complex partnerships who do not pay overdue tax bills as a result of the additional funding it is receiving under the Inflation Reduction Act.

In its enforcement efforts and increasing scrutiny, the IRS is focusing on people using partnerships to avoid paying self-employment taxes. The IRS is also continuing to pursue millionaires that have not paid hundreds of millions of dollars in tax debt, with an additional $360 million collected on top of the $122 million reported in late October 2023. The IRS has now collected $482 million in ongoing efforts to recoup taxes owed by 1,600 millionaires with work continuing in this area.

The various and specific ways the IRS is pursuing higher scrutiny and expanding their enforcement efforts include, prioritization of high-income collection cases, pursuing multi-million-dollar partnership balance sheet discrepancies, ramp of audits of 76 largest partnerships leveraging artificial intelligence, compliance alerts for large foreign-owned corporations who use transfer pricing rules year after year to report losses and avoid reporting an appropriate amount of U.S. profits, expansion of large corporate compliance program, and IRS has been increasing compliance to ensure that Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) taxes are being properly reported and paid by wealthy individual partners who provide services and have inappropriately claimed to qualify as “limited partners” in state law limited partnerships (such as investment partnerships) not subject to SECA tax.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel noted Inflation Reduction Act resources allows the IRS “to increase scrutiny on high-income taxpayers as we work to reverse the historic low audit rates and limited focus that the wealthiest individuals and organizations faced in the years that predated the Inflation Reduction Act. We are adding staff and technology to ensure that the taxpayers with the highest income, including partnerships, large corporations and millionaires and billionaires, pay what is legally owed under federal law. At the same time, we are focused on improving our taxpayer service for hard-working taxpayers, offering them more in-person and online resources as part of our effort to deliver another successful tax season in 2024. The additional resources the IRS has received is making a difference for taxpayers, and we plan to build on these improvements in the months ahead.”

New examples of cases closed since the Inflation Reduction Act passed

  • In January 2024, two individuals were sentenced to 25 years and 23 years respectively in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns and money laundering for their role in promoting a fraudulent tax shelter scheme involving syndicated conservation easements.
  • In December 2023, a Swiss Bank entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and agreed to pay approximately $122.9 million to the U.S. Treasury for their role in assisting U.S. taxpayer-clients with evading their U.S. taxes by opening and maintaining undeclared accounts. The bank also maintained accounts of certain U.S. taxpayer-clients in a manner that allowed them to further conceal their undeclared accounts from the IRS. In total, from 2008 through 2014, the bank held 1,637 U.S. Penalty Accounts, with aggregate maximum assets under management of approximately $5.6 billion in January 2008, on behalf of clients who collectively evaded approximately $50.6 million in U.S. taxes.
  • In December 2023, an individual was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months and ordered to pay more than $130,000 in restitution, another was sentenced to 102 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5M in restitution and a third individual was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5M in restitution for their involvement in a RICO Conspiracy for cyber intrusion and tax fraud. These individuals used the dark web to purchase server credentials for the computer servers of Certified Public Accounting and tax preparation firms across the country.
  • In December 2023, an individual was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison and ordered to pay over $470,000 in restitution to the IRS for filing a false tax return while working as a money mule for romance scams. The individual opened and maintained bank accounts to collect proceeds from the schemes and to send the money to himself and others overseas.
  • An individual was sentenced to 57 months in prison for their failure to pay more than $1.35 million of taxes arising from their operation of several restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. The individual evaded taxes by concealing assets and obscuring the large sums of money they took from the businesses by purchasing property in the name of a nominee entity and causing false entries in the businesses’ books and records to hide personal purchases using business bank accounts.

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), the San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose and Walnut Creek) 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.

West Virginia taxpayers impacted by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides qualify for tax relief

On February 7, 2024 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax relief for individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that began on August 28, 2023 in parts of West Virginia. These taxpayers now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The June 17, 2024, deadline will now apply to:

  • Individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024. Anyone who needs an additional tax-filing extension, beyond June 17, for their 2023 federal income tax return should request it electronically by April 15. Though a disaster-area taxpayer qualifies to request an extension between April 15 and June 17, a request filed during this period can only be submitted on paper. Whether requested electronically or on paper, you will then have until October 15, 2024, to file, though payments are still due on June 17, 2024.
  • 2023 contributions to IRAs and health savings accounts for eligible taxpayers.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on September 15, 2023, January 16, 2024 and April 15, 2024.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2023, January 31, 2024 and April 30, 2024.
  • Calendar-year partnership and S corporation returns normally due on March 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year corporation and fiduciary returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2024.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organization returns normally due on May 15, 2024.

In addition, penalties for failing to make payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after August 28, 2023, and before September 12, 2023, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by September 12, 2023.

Other Areas Having Extended Deadlines:

The IRS announced on August 18, 2023 that Hawaii wildfire victims in Maui and Hawaii counties have until February 15, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on August 30, 2023 that Idalia storm victims in various Florida counties have until February 15, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on September 13, 2023 that Idalia storm victims in Georgia have until February 15, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on September 25, 2023 that Hurricane Lee victims anywhere in Maine and Massachusetts have until February 15, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on September 29, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by seawater intrusion in parts of Louisiana have until February 15, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on December 22, 2023 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms and tornadoes that began on December 9 in parts of Tennessee now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 22, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and a potential dam breach that began on January 10, 2024 in parts of Connecticut now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on January 30, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on September 10, 2023 in parts of Rhode Island now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS announced on February 5, 2024 that individuals and businesses affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began on December 17, 2023 in parts of Maine now have until June 17, 2024, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

IRS Tax Relief Details

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance.

For West Virginia – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison and Kanawha counties.

For Maine – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Androscoggin, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington Counties.

For Rhode Island – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Providence County.

For Connecticut – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in New London County, including the Mohegan Tribal Nation and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

For Tennessee – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Sumner counties.

For Louisiana – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.

For Maine and Massachusetts – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business anywhere in Maine or Massachusetts.

For Georgia – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business anywhere in Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Bulloch, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Echols, Emanuel, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Jenkins, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Thomas, Tift, Ware and Wayne counties.

For Florida – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business anywhere in Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia and Wakulla counties

For Hawaii – Currently, relief is available to affected taxpayers who live or have a business anywhere in Maui and Hawaii counties.

The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.  The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.

Tax Planning Tip

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2024 return normally filed next year), or the return for the current year (2023).

Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss.  That number being: “DR-4724-HI” for Hawaii or “DR-3596-EM” for Florida or “4738-DR” for Georgia or “3598-EM” for Maine or “3599-EM” for Massachusetts or “3600-EM” for Louisiana or “4751-DR” for Tennessee or “3604-EM’ for Connecticut or “4753-DR” for Rhode Island or “4754-DR” for Maine (note the second listing of Main relates to the December 2023 disaster declaration) or “4756-DR” for West Virginia.

Qualified disaster relief payments are generally excluded from gross income. In general, this means that affected taxpayers can exclude from their gross income amounts received from a government agency for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses, as well as for the repair or rehabilitation of their home, or for the repair or replacement of its contents.

Additional relief may be available to affected taxpayers who participate in a retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA). For example, a taxpayer may be eligible to take a special disaster distribution that would not be subject to the additional 10% early distribution tax and allows the taxpayer to spread the income over three years. Taxpayers may also be eligible to make a hardship withdrawal. Each plan or IRA has specific rules and guidance for their participants to follow.

Importance To Preserve Records

Keep in mind that the IRS has up to three years to select a tax return for audit. The FTB has up to four years to select a tax return for audit. In some cases this period is 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

Tips On Reconstructing Records

Reconstructing records after a disaster is important for several reasons including insurance reimbursement and taxes. Most importantly, records can help people prove their disaster-related losses. More accurately estimated losses can help people get more recovery assistance like loans or grants.

Whether it’s personal or business property that has been lost or destroyed, here are some steps that can help people reconstruct important records.

Tax records

Get free tax return transcripts immediately using the Get Transcript on IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go app.  Tax return transcripts show line-by-line the entries made on your Federal income tax returns.  The most three recent tax years are available.

Financial statements

People can gather past statements from their credit card company or bank. These records may be available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of these statements.

Property records

  • To get documents related to property, homeowners can contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • When no other records are available, people should check the county assessor’s office for old records that might address the value of the property.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value for most vehicles. Resources are available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

Develop And Implement Your Backup Plan

Do not wait for the next disaster to come for then it may be too late to retrieve your important records for a tax audit or for that matter any legal or business matter. And if you do get selected for audit and do not have all the records to support what was claimed on your tax returns, you should contact an experienced tax attorney who can argue the application of your facts and circumstances to pursue the least possible changes in an audit.

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 cryptocurrency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.