Everyone hates an audit and one of the only things that makes us feel better about being audited is knowing that the auditor has to look through tons of boring, number-filled receipts to try and squeeze more money out of us.
But now the IRS has just gotten lazier. Much, much lazier.
Thanks to new rules that are currently being explored and discussed, businesses that file taxes will need to list the areas where the IRS might disagree, and those businesses will also need to write in the amount that the IRS will need to be paid if it turns out that the IRS is correct in their assessment.
In short, if these new rules go through, the IRS will basically be asking businesses to do the work for them by requiring them to do a preliminary “self-audit” that will raise red flags for the IRS. That’s like walking up to a thug and saying: “If you hit me here and here, you’ll easily be able to take the $10 I have in my wallet.”
BusinessWeek.com brought this to our attention and they quote one tax lawyer who correctly calls this what it is: a revenue-grab for the IRS. They want to increase their auditor’s efficiencies (who currently spend 25% of their time looking through documentation) and they want to find new opportunities to make money. Instead of using auditors to do the heavy lifting, they are requiring businesses to announce what they could owe if the IRS pressed the issue.
This is terrible news for taxpayers. While it is still currently in discussion and will initially only affect businesses, I can foresee this becoming a widely used tool by the IRS to have taxpayers announce to the IRS: “This is the upper ceiling of what you can audit me for, and here are several ways that you can audit me.”
If this rule goes through, it will be a sad day for American business… And some day it will be a sad day for individual taxpayers, too.
(Image source: John-Morgan)