Magazine article USA TODAY

IRS Should "Stimulate" Small Businesses

Magazine article USA TODAY

IRS Should "Stimulate" Small Businesses

Article excerpt

Lawmakers are questioning the nation's top tax man about why small business audits are on the rise as corporate audits fall, saying the IRS must do more to help overwhelmed entrepreneurs struggling to comply with the complex tax system. Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman testified before the House Small Business Committee, detailing the agency's plans to help entrepreneurs take advantage of tax relief in the stimulus bill and describing the IRS's plan to conduct outreach and education for small firms.

"Ask any entrepreneur what time of year they most dread and they will tell you it is tax season;' contends Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D.-N.Y.), chair of the committee. "Small businesses struggling to keep their doors open find themselves spending valuable time and resources just to make sure they follow the rules and pay their taxes on time."

While IRS audits of large businesses are at an all-time low, entrepreneurs are being audited at nearly twice their rate. In fact, the IRS audits smaller companies 41% more often than it did a few years ago, and companies with $10,000,000 to $50,000,000 in assets are 29% more likely to be investigated than two years previously, according to a study from the Transactional Records Access Clearing House at Syracuse (N.Y.) University. Meanwhile, companies with more than $250,000,000 in assets are nearly 40% less likely to be audited than in previous years.

"I find the IRS's recent shift in auditing attention from large companies to small businesses troubling," Velazquez indicates. "Our nation's entrepreneurs are having a hard enough time without the IRS stacking the deck against them. …

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