Tax Advice from a Former IRS Auditor

Everyone wants to maximize their tax deductions and reduce what they owe the government. But remember: If you report income as a small business owner, you face a higher risk of getting audited than individuals with just payroll or investment income. That's because it's much easier for small business owners to understate their income or overstate their write-offs than it is for individual employees, who have their wages reported by their employer. Indeed, the IRS devotes the greatest share of its enforcement budget—41 percent in 2006—toward small businesses. The agency in recent years has tried to increase compliance through education and enforcement. The Schedule C, which sole proprietors use to report income, is the single most audited business form, says Jeff Collins, a tax attorney and former IRS auditor in Schaumburg, Ill.

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