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IRS makes fast-track audit settlements available

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Beware: The IRS has targeted small business owners and self-employeds for audits over the next few years. In fact, the effort is already under way, and you may be one of those singled out for the sting of an investigation.

Strategy: If you are audited, sign up for the new fast-track settlement (FTS) program. The pilot program enables you to expedite matters within the IRS’ Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) division.

Here’s the scoop: The FTS initiative is designed to address unresolved matters in at least one open year under examination. The IRS will use it to resolve factual and legal issues under the SB/SE’s review. You can trigger the FTS any time you need to.

The IRS will make the FTS available to taxpayers during a two-year test period. During that time, the IRS will conduct focused testing on taxpayers under exam in Chicago, Houston and St. Paul, Minn. At the end of that six-month test period, the IRS will consider any necessary adjustments to the program.

The FTS program is available for any case under the SB/SE division’s jurisdiction if all of the following apply:

• A limited number of unsettled issues exist.

• The issues are fully developed.

• The taxpayer has stated a position in writing (or filed a small-case request for those cases in which the total amount for any tax period is less than $25,000).

If an issue is deemed ineligible for the FTS program, all issues in the case will be deemed ineligible.

Tip: Visit IRB/ar18.html (click on IRS Announcement 2006-61) for more detail and for information on how to apply for the FTS program.

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