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Why small businesses are likely to attract audits

For help with accounting and bookkeeping needs, contact Prescott Tax & Paralegal in PrescottThose dreaded audits! Why do small businesses seem to attract audits by the IRS? Prescott’s accounting experts at Prescott Tax and Paralegal, understand why small businesses are likely to attract audits and what you can do to help prevent them.

Fear not
There should be no unreasonable fear. In reality, an audit is simply a “second look” by the IRS on a business’ tax return. In an audit, the auditor compares the return to the business’ books, ensuring there are no errors or discrepancies. Many audits are completely random. As a compliance check, the IRS selects a certain number of returns every year.

Missteps to avoid
While most audits are completely random, there are some things you can do that increase the chances the IRS will pull your return aside for a closer look. Here are some missteps you can readily avoid:

  • High meals and entertainment expenses. Here is where it can get kind of tricky. Meal expenses are legitimate business deductions, but you need to be able to prove that the expenses are ordinary and necessary. Don’t let fear of an audit stop you from deducting these expenses, but make sure you keep good records. detailing every expense: include the names of the people or group in attendance and the business relevance of the meal, or travel expense. Entertainment expenses are no longer deductible.
  • Home office deductions. Home office deductions are legitimate tax deductions, but your home office must be used “exclusively and regularly” for business. Your home office needs to be a designated area in your home for your work, not just a kitchen counter or table in the bedroom. Also, be honest about the square footage when you do your calculations for your tax return.
  • Vehicle expenses. Unless your vehicle is owned by your business, don’t claim that 100% of your automobile expenses are for business use. In most cases, you are better off recording and claiming your mileage at the standard mileage rate the IRS publishes each year instead of claiming your actual automobile expenses. It is important to keep detailed mileage records as required by the IRS.
  • Not keeping receipts. If you do not have the receipt to prove the expense, the expense will be disallowed by the IRS.

Your accounting experts at Prescott Tax and Paralegal understand why small businesses are likely to attract audits and what you can do to help prevent them. Prescott Tax & Paralegal is here to help. To set up an appointment, give us a call at 928-778-3113.



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Please Note: We are NOT attorneys and do NOT provide legal advice. Your information is confidential, but we do not have attorney-client privilege. If you need legal advice, you will be referred to an attorney.

Arlene Rheinfelder, EA, CP AZCLDP

"I help solve people's problems. There is nothing more rewarding than helping someone through a difficult situation, and helping them to find a good resolution." 


Melissa Hill, AZCLDP

I love the challenge of finding a way to help each person's unique situation. It is never the same because each person is different with their own needs and wants.

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