Lowrance Law, LLC

The IRS will audit 6,000 U.S. companies to determine whether they pay all their required employment taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare benefits.  See Bloomberg News

The IRS said the audits will provide data for its first statistical analysis since 1984 of how often companies misclassify workers to duck tax obligations, fail to pay taxes on fringe benefits such as personal use of company cars, and improperly pay taxes for company executives. The audits will begin in February, and the companies will be randomly chosen.

IRS will be looking at employee classificaitons, meaning “Independent Contractor or Employee.” It is simple. Companies owe taxes for an employee–state and federal withholding, FICA, FUTA, Medicare etc. Many companies will carry workers as independent contractors in order to save money and not withhold taxes. Many independent contractors should really be classified as “employees” because they meet the working conditions tests used by IRS to determine a workers status.

If a company is audited and workers are found to be employees instead of independent contractors, past taxes will be owed by the company and the worker.

It is best to get legal counsel as soon as you get notice of an IRS audit.

Bill Lowrance

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WASHINGTON ─ The Internal Revenue Service today announced a one-time extension of the deadline for special voluntary disclosures by taxpayers with unreported income from hidden offshore accounts. These taxpayers now have until Oct. 15, 2009.   See http://tinyurl.com/mv9oub and NY Times http://tinyurl.com/nleozr 

Under special provisions issued in March, taxpayers with these hidden accounts originally had until Sept. 23, 2009 to come forward. Those taxpayers who do not voluntarily disclose their hidden accounts by the new deadline face much harsher civil penalties, where applicable, and possible criminal prosecution.

IRS officials decided to extend this deadline after receiving repeated requests from tax practitioners and attorneys around the country following an influx of taxpayer requests. By extending the deadline for a short period of time, the IRS is providing relief for those taxpayers who had intended to come forward prior to the deadline, but faced logistical and administrative challenges in meeting it. The extension will allow tax preparers and attorneys the necessary time to interview and advise their backlog of taxpayers with these hidden accounts, and prepare the necessary paperwork to qualify for the special penalty provisions.

The IRS also announced that there will be no further extensions.

No legal opinion here.

Bill Lowrance

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