Unemployment is at an all time high and at the same time we are seeing a number of work from home schemes out there. Posted on telephone poles, bulletin boards, and on the internet.I implore all of you to stay away from these tempting offers of an excellent business opportunity, earn thousands of dollars per month or day, and enjoy making money from the comfort of your home. Just some of the
These may be days of tight budgets and watching what you spend, but business continues and every company needs effective financial management.I am working with non profits and charities now. Two business types who need the right person to keep them informed on where donations and grants are being spent. Making sure they meet their very small budget constraints.There is no one as versatile and

Equine Accounting: Audit Red Flags

No one wants to see the IRS knocking at their door, requesting an audit of a prior year tax return. Sometimes, it's just the luck of the draw. But there are things that you can do (and NOT DO!!!) to decrease your chances of being audited.

Who is audited? Estimates vary but approximately 1 to 1.5 percent of all taxpayers are audited. Most tax returns singled out by the IRS for audit contain either tax deductions that appear to be too high in relationship to the person's income, or tax items that are erroneous, tax items that require proof or an explanation, or are on the IRS' list of hot tax issues. About 16 million tax returns each year are tagged as having a potential discrepancy -- out of 140 million returns filed in 2008. Of those approximately one third are actually reviewed by an auditor.
What happens with pulled returns varies from taxpayer to taxpayer based on your individual circumstances. You may simply receive a notice that your taxes have been recalculated with a request for more money. If there is a question about a specific deduction or expense, you may receive a request for more information. In some cases, you will be asked to sit down with an IRS examiner and answer questions and provide more information in person.
Why Me? Contrary to popular belief, the method used to submit your return is not a factor in the audit selection process. The selection is done after the data is entered, whether via e-filed return or the return being input by an employee. The IRS selects returns for examination based on a weighted analysis of the data provided on your return. For example, if your Adjusted Gross Income is $200,000 and your charitable contributions are $10,000, you would receive a low "weight" to your data. However, if your Adjusted Gross Income is $50,000 with the same $10,000 amount of charitable contributions, a "heavy" weight is assigned. The IRS selection process will give a higher score to the person with the lower income, even though the amount of the deduction is the same. Every line on the return is "scored" on a weighted scale and the weight varies based on the other factors on your return, like AGI or filing status. The weighted values are added together and a number is generated. Larger numbers have a great chance of an audit.
The High-Risk Audit Areas:
1. High Wages
IRS Audit Statistics
Income for Tax Returns
Tax Returns Filed
Tax Returns Examined
Percent Examined
Less Than $25,000
$25,000 to $50,000
$50,000 to $100,000
Greater Than 100,000

As for the higher earners, returns showing income of $200,000 and above have a nearly 3 percent audit chance. The percentage jumps to more than 6 percent for returns with earnings of $1 million or more.
2. High Itemized Personal Deductions
You have large amounts of itemized deductions on your tax return that exceed IRS targets.

If your itemized tax deductions on your tax return exceed a target range as set by the IRS, the chances of being audited by the IRS increase. This is especially true if you claim large cash contributions to charities in relation to your income on your tax return. This does not mean that you should not take tax deductions on your tax return that you are entitled to, but you should realize that your chances for an audit increase if your tax deductions exceed the averages for your income level.

3. Tax Shelter Losses
You claim tax shelter investment losses on your tax return particularly if one or both taxpayers have high income from other sources. The IRS will question whether there is an attempt to use the horse business as a tax shelter.

4. Complex Expenses/Transactions
You have complex investment or business expenses or other transactions on your tax return.

5. Cash used routinely in your business

You own or work in a business which receives cash and/or tips in the ordinary course of business. Lesson income is definitely an example of a cash business so be sure that your day sheets include a list of checks received and those checks tie into your bank deposits.

6. High Business Expenses
Your business expenses are large in relation to your income on your tax return or show losses continually, year after year.

7. Rental Property
You have rental expenses on your tax return.

8. Prior/Related audit
A prior IRS audit resulted in a tax deficiency or you are a shareholder or partner in an audited partnership or corporation.

9. Unreported Taxable IncomeThe IRS discovers unreported taxable income when its computers match the taxable income you reported on your tax return with information gathered from banks, brokerages and customers of independent contractors. The most common example of this is unreported bank interest. To help avoid omitting income on your return, review last year's tax return to make sure you have the necessary 1099's, etc. from mutual funds, banks and other sources . Report income exactly as it appears on the 1099 Form.

10. Self Employment
The IRS believes most under-reporting of taxable income and abuse of tax deductions occurs among those who are self employed so they are audited by the IRS more frequently than employees. The temptation with some who are self employed is to deduct personal as well as business expenses on their tax return. Be sure there is a true business purposes for each expense.
The audit rate for self employed entities is greatest among sole proprietors. In 2008, a sole proprietor with gross receipts of between $100,000 and $200,000 had an audit rate of 3.9%. To minimize your risk of audit, consider changing your entity. You can, for example, incorporate and use S corporation status. The audit rates on S corporations, even if they are one-owner entities, are dramatically lower than the rates on sole proprietorships (S Corp audit rate was only 0.4% in 2008).

11. High Auto MileageOne of the most commonly audited items for self employeds and employees of companies who use their car in business is the deduction for business transportation. You need to keep good records of all tax deductible automobile expenses and a mileage log showing business miles driven. Try to keep the mileage log on a daily basis including the date, beginning and ending odometer readings, the location, the business purpose, and the client. At a minimum, record the automobile's odometer reading at the beginning and end of the tax year and have a calendar that you could use to reconstruct your deduction.

The IRS reviews your return to determine its accuracy. As a taxpayer, you have the burden of proof that your return is accurate. However an audit can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. Here are some steps you can take to avoid an audit:

Document All Income and Deductions-You can verify income, profits and earnings with supporting documentation. Large tax deductions are audit red flags, so make sure all are well-documented. If you think that there is anything on your tax return that may cause the IRS to take second look, attach a copy of the invoice or paid bill in question. Check the Numbers-You are ultimately responsible for what is on your returnso be sure to check that you or the preparer have entered the numbers correctly. I've seen $1,700 entered as $17,000 for farrier expense. The tax preparer reviewing the return didn't know what a farrier was and so the expense didn't look out of line to him. It definitely caught the attention of the IRS and an audit followed.

Use Your Common Sense- File your taxes on time and answer all of the questions asked. The cleaner the return, the less likely you are to attract the attention of the IRS.

Best Practices-Keep good records of your business activities: locations, times and dates, expenses, a description of what took place, along with accompanying receipts and cancelled checks. If you are audited, you have most of the work already done.

Report all your income-You are required to report all business income unless a special tax rule on tax-free treatment applies. So:
· Report "invisible" income- If you barter for goods and services, you are taxed on the value of what you received in the trade.
· Report cash-Tips and other cash payments are something that the IRS is focusing on. Based on your lifestyle and expenses, they can determine if you have been receiving additional income in the form of cash. This is particularly true in industries where payment in cash is common.

Keep the paperwork-Your records are the key to proving your right to deductions and credits. You may not be able to prevent a random audit but you will be able to survive it if paperwork is on your side. Types of records:
Receipts, invoices, and canceled checks for expenses paid.
Expense account worksheets, diaries and log books for travel and entertainment costs, including car usage.

Financial experts expect to see an increase in audits and assessments in the coming years because tax audits provide a revenue stream that the IRS currently is missing out on. The IRS estimates that it fails to collect about $345 billion in taxes each year. So it's even more important now that you keep clean, accurate records and understand what factors can cause your return to be audited.
When you first learned to ride, you learned how to do an emergency dismount and use a pulley rein to stop a runaway horse. Hopefully, you'll never have to use that knowledge but you are prepared - just in case. Think of this information as your audit "pulley rein".

Equine Accounting: Tax Return Review

When there are SO many more interesting subjects, WHY AM I WRITING ABOUT TAX RETURNS IN THE SUMMER? Some time ago, I had written an article on reviewing your tax return - intending to include it in a newsletter in March or April of next year. But based on several tax returns that I have reviewed recently upon taking on new clients, I've decided to publish the article ASAP. Lately, I've seen some returns that are just plain wrong. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to review their tax return. Some of the consequences of errors on a return can be overpayment of tax or interest and penalty upon audit.
So please, dig out your 2009 tax return and run an eye over it after having read this month's newsletter. Anything really out of line will jump right off the page at you. It's worth the effort.

Your tax return -most of us have to submit one each year. You either do it yourself or you pay someone to do it for you. For some people, it may be the only form of financial statements that are prepared for their business each year. You want to be sure that it's been prepared correctly BEFORE you get a notice from the IRS that they "are proposing changes to your tax return". Ultimately, YOU are responsible for what is on that return. So take some time and look it over before giving the OK for it to be sent off to the IRS. I know this sounds painful but read this article (average reading time 4 minutes), print this page and set it aside until your tax return is ready. Better be safe than sorry.

Here is a brief guide to what should be entered where.

There are basically four sections where financial information is entered into your Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The 1040 Form itself is just one page, front and back. All the other schedules and forms provide information which is entered (directly or indirectly) onto the 1040. On the front of the 1040, after the spaces for your name, etc., filing status and exemptions is the Income section of the form. You have 17 lines to enter every type of income you received for the tax year: wages, interest, dividends, business income, Social Security benefits, capital gains and the catch-all "Other Income".
If your business is a sole proprietorship, Schedule F (Farm Income) will be completed, or in some cases Schedule C. The "bottom line" from those schedules will be entered either on Line 18 for Schedule F or Line 12 for Schedule C. If your business is a partnership or S corporation, Schedule E will be completed and that result will be entered on Line 17.
You may feel a little unsure about reviewing other parts of your tax return but no one knows your business better than you. If the schedule doesn't look right to you, it probably isn't. No matter how fancy the tax software program, returns are ultimately prepared by people and people make mistakes.
Reviewing the return also might give you information about some aspect of your business of which you weren't really aware. (Did we really spend $10,000 on farrier bills this year?)
The bottom half of the front page addresses Adjustments to Income. There are only a few lines that are generally of interest to owners of horse-related businesses. Lines 27 through 29 are related to self-employment tax, retirement plans and health insurance and Line 35 would be of interest to breeders.
The top two sections of Page 2 cover Taxes and Credits. On Line 40a, either the Standard deduction or an itemized deduction is entered. The itemized deduction is calculated on Schedule A and consists of personal expenses such as medical, real estate tax, charitable contributions, interest, casualty and theft losses and other miscellaneous deductions. Once the itemized deduction is calculated, subject to certain limits, it is compared to the standard deduction and generally the larger of the two is entered onto the 1040 Form. Your exemptions are also deducted (generally $3650 for 2009/person for you, your spouse and each of your dependents).
Your preliminary tax is then calculated but you may be eligible for certain tax credits - which are deducted from your tax, rather than deductions, which are deducted from your taxable income. Two credits which may affect many owners of horse businesses are the Credit for Child Care Expenses on Line 48 and the Child Tax Credit (for dependent children under the age of 17) on Line 51.
You may also be subject to other taxes such as Self Employment Tax (Line 56). Finally, all of your taxes are totaled on Line 60.
Finally, the lower section of Page 2 calculates the Payments that you have made toward your tax liability in the form of estimated taxes, taxes withheld from your paycheck and/or checks from customers. Several other credits are thrown in for good measure and a final calculation is made of what you owe (final tax liability) or what is owed to you (refund).

The good news is this only happens once a year.
This may be a little obvious to say but there's some people who don't know the simplest business facts. You want to maximize expense write off when your income is high in order to lower your taxes. Don't believe what banks or the government says. Especially nowadays the government is looking for as much money as can trick and mislead out of you.The government has instructed banks to request tax
How lazy are they at banks and government offices. What do they reallydo there all day. They take a few minutes to tell someone you have tofigure it out on own then they go back to playing online games. Whathappen to showing value in hard work.Lately I had to take personal empowerment to new level. Pushing formore satisfactory answers to questions I need answers. No more of thisnonsense from lazy