A Break Or Two From The Irs

On July 22, President Clinton signed the IRS Restructuring and Reform Bill. While there's lots for small business to celebrate--faster audits and fairer rules on seizing assets, for example--it's not an unalloyed victory. Some conversations with CPAs are now privileged, for instance, but not all, so expect litigation on the issue. The burden of proof shifts to the IRS when proposed levies involve companies worth less than $7 million; use of third-party evidence is also restricted. But these curbs on IRS power may lead investigators to demand more company documents. Finally, auditors will be assigned to specific taxpayer groups, so it's likely there will be small-business specialists, who will be savvier about business operations but also about tax evasion. For details, go to www.smbiz.com and click on "Back Issue--July 15."

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