On November 2, 2015, the Bipartisan Budget Act (“Act”) was signed into law by President Barack Obama. One of the many provisions of the Act significantly impacted: (i) the manner in which entities taxed as partnerships are audited by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”); and (ii) who is required to pay the tax resulting from any corresponding audit adjustments. The new rules sprung into life for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.
On January 27, 2014, Judge Haines of the United States Tax Court issued a decision in Ydney Jay Hall v. Commissioner, TC Memo 2014-6. This case illustrates that a taxpayer’s failure to retain adequate business records to substantiate income and expenses will lead to disastrous results.
The taxpayer, Ydney Jay Hall, is a practicing attorney admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court. His law practice income was reported on Schedule C of his Individual Income Tax Return. Upon examination of Mr. Hall’s 2008 return, the Service asked to review his books and records relating to the law practice. The Service, believing Mr. Hall did not fully respond to its request for information, summoned bank records. With that information, it reconstructed his business income for the tax year. The results of the audit reconstruction were not pretty.
The IRS issued a deficiency notice to the taxpayer, asserting he had underreported his income by $76,681 for the tax year. In addition, the Service disallowed deductions for travel and other expenses listed on Schedule C totaling $63,542 as the taxpayer did not maintain any books or records for his business activities and failed to provide proof he actually paid the expenses (e.g., receipts, invoices, cancelled checks or other evidence of payment). To put salt on the wound, the Service assessed an accuracy related penalty against the taxpayer.
Mr. Hall filed a petition in the United States Tax Court challenging the notice of deficiency and the assessment of taxes and penalty. He represented himself in the case.
Larry J. Brant
Larry J. Brant is a Shareholder in Foster Garvey, a law firm based out of the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; New York, New York, Spokane, Washington; and Beijing, China. Mr. Brant practices in the Portland office. His practice focuses on tax, tax controversy and transactions. Mr. Brant is a past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Taxation Section. He was the long-term Chair of the Oregon Tax Institute, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Tax Forum. Mr. Brant has served as an adjunct professor, teaching corporate taxation, at Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. He is an Expert Contributor to Thomson Reuters Checkpoint Catalyst. Mr. Brant is a Fellow in the American College of Tax Counsel. He publishes articles on numerous income tax issues, including Taxation of S Corporations, Reasonable Compensation, Circular 230, Worker Classification, IRC § 1031 Exchanges, Choice of Entity, Entity Tax Classification, and State and Local Taxation. Mr. Brant is a frequent lecturer at local, regional and national tax and business conferences for CPAs and attorneys. He was the 2015 Recipient of the Oregon State Bar Tax Section Award of Merit.