Don’t Let A Simpler Form 1040 Fool You – Be Prepared For An IRS Audit.
The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Of 2017 (“TCJA”) was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. It has been a good 30 years since the last time the Internal Revenue Code received such a major update but for taxpayers.
Major Changes From The TCJA Include:
- Lower Income Tax Rates For Individuals.
- Increased Standard Deduction For Individuals
- Elimination Of Personal Exemptions
- Limitations of Deductibility Of Itemized Deductions including Mortgage Interest and State & Local Taxes.
- Lower Corporation Tax Rates.
A Simpler Form 1040
There are major changes to the Form 1040 that started with 2018. The 2019 Form 1040 continues with the same format but with even more changes compared to previous years.
While it has not come down to being a postcard, the new Form 1040 does streamline the reporting process as follows:
- The 2019 Form 1040 replaces Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ with one Form 1040 that all taxpayers will file.
- Forms 1040A and 1040EZ continue to be unavailable. Taxpayers who used one of these forms sometime in the past will now have to file Form 1040.
- The 2019 Form 1040 continues to use a “building block” approach and allows taxpayers to add only the schedules they need to their 2019 tax return.
- The most commonly used lines on the prior year form are still on the form. Other lines are moved to new schedules and are organized by category. These categories include income, adjustments to income, nonrefundable credits, taxes, payments, and refundable credits.
Many taxpayers will only need to file Form 1040 and no schedules. Those with more complicated tax returns will need to complete one or more of the 2019 Form 1040 Schedules along with their Form 1040. These taxpayers include people claiming certain deductions or credits, or owing additional taxes.
The 2019 Form 1040 Makes It Harder For U.S. Taxpayers To Avoid Non-compliance Or Claim Ignorance.
Starting with the 2019 Form 1040, Schedule 1, Additional Income And Adjustments To Income, includes the following checkbox question:
At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?
◊ Yes ◊ No
Taxpayers who file Schedule 1 to report income or adjustments to income that can’t be entered directly on Form 1040 will now be required to check the appropriate box to answer the virtual currency question. Taxpayers do not need to file Schedule 1 if their answer to this question is NO and they do not have to file Schedule 1 for any other purpose. This requirement is similar to how the IRS includes questions on Schedule B inquiring whether a taxpayer has foreign bank accounts.
Taxpayers who answer “no” and for who the IRS later determines should have answered “yes” could face civil or criminal penalties and it could affect their success in having penalties abated for reasonable cause.
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 activities.
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.