The IRS takes aim at high net worth individuals
ARTICLE | August 16, 2021
Authored by RSM US LLP
For the past decade, the IRS has become increasingly concerned with the upward trend in both the quantity of taxpayers who do not file required tax returns (non-filers) and the amount of tax that is foregone because of noncompliance. These issues create a significant difference between what taxpayers should pay and what they actually pay on time, commonly referred to as the “Tax Gap.” After study and review, the IRS determined that high-income taxpayers comprise a large percentage of the amount of the tax gap, even though they represent a small fraction of the taxpayer population.
In an effort to close the tax gap, the IRS announced a compliance initiative that targets high net worth taxpayers with interests in foundations, partnerships and other pass-through entities. Executed through a series of IRS audits, the initiative will be ongoing and does not have an expiration date. The IRS’s Large Business and International Division formed the Global High Net Worth Group (“GHW”), commonly referred to as the “Wealth Squad.” to conduct these audits. The Wealth Squad takes a holistic approach to examinations, which may involve examining entities controlled by the high net worth taxpayer.
The American Families Plan, proposed by the Biden Administration, calls for an additional $80 billion in funding for IRS enforcement activities. There does not currently appear to be broad Congressional support for this level of funding however a significant increase in funding is expected.
High net worth individuals of interest to the Wealth Squad are those with one or more of the following characteristics:
- Majority ownership or significant influence over an entity or entities
- Control or substantial influence over a private foundation
- Substantial charitable contribution deductions
- International tax filings or international transactions
- Family offices
- Self-employment income or employment tax issues
- Information return filing requirements
- Expense deductions for the use of yachts and airplanes
- Uses complex tax planning to significantly reduce taxable income
What can be done to mitigate the risk of an examination in the current or future years?
- Maintain good records and be able to substantiate the business purpose of every deduction and tax basis in property
- Satisfy all formal requirements relating to entity formation and registration
- Keep separate ledgers to easily segregate business activities
- Compile a complete list of commonly targeted assets such as foreign bank accounts, foreign trusts, and foreign business interests and ensure proper reporting has been prepared and filed
- Understand gifting practices and have records available of gifts reported on gift tax returns and those not reported
- Use business credit cards for business purposes only
- Do not try to move expenses around and play the audit game
- Be wary of tax promoters who promise large tax deductions
- Be honest and open regarding the extent and location of your assets and accounts– understand that the IRS can summon records from third parties and can share information with other countries
- Determine issues that could trigger an examination of the tax return and consider filing an amended return, if necessary
- Ensure there is a business purpose for transactions with related private foundations
- Conduct proper due diligence on any transaction with a related tax benefit, including documenting any legal or accounting opinion
Reach out to your RSM tax advisor for additional detailed information and guidance.
This article was written by Carol Warley, Alina Solodchikova, Cindy Hull, Michael Reeves and originally appeared on Aug 16, 2021.
2022 RSM US LLP. All rights reserved.
RSM US Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each are separate and independent from RSM US LLP. RSM US LLP is the U.S. member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax, and consulting firms. Members of RSM US Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM US LLP but are not member firms of RSM International. Visit rsmus.com/aboutus for more information regarding RSM US LLP and RSM International. The RSM(tm) brandmark is used under license by RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance products and services are proprietary to RSM US LLP.
Daniells Phillips Vaughan & Bock is a proud member of RSM US Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms in the United States. RSM US Alliance provides our firm with access to resources of RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. RSM US LLP is a licensed CPA firm and the U.S. member of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms with more than 43,000 people in over 120 countries.
Our membership in RSM US Alliance has elevated our capabilities in the marketplace, helping to differentiate our firm from the competition while allowing us to maintain our independence and entrepreneurial culture. We have access to a valuable peer network of like-sized firms as well as a broad range of tools, expertise and technical resources.
For more information on how Daniells Phillips Vaughan & Bock can assist you, please call (661) 834-7411.
Comments are closed.