All the IRS has to do to catch your unreported 1099 income is realize that they have records from a client saying they paid you a certain amount. If that income doesn't show up on your tax return, the IRS can spot the difference.
In fact, you're almost guaranteed an audit or at least a tax notice if you fail to report a Form 1099. Even if an issuer has your old address, the information will be reported to the IRS (and your state tax authority) based on your Social Security number. Make sure payers have your correct address so you get a copy.
If the 1099 income you forget to include on your return results in a substantial understatement of your tax bill, the penalty increases to 20 percent, which accrues immediately.
Report Every 1099
The key to Form 1099 is IRS computerized matching. Every Form 1099 includes the payer's employer identification number (EIN) and the payee's Social Security (or taxpayer-identification) number. The IRS matches nearly every 1099 form with the payee's tax return.
The agency loves them because they allow its computers to keep tabs on ordinary taxpayers, even while it audits less than 1% of all individual tax returns. The IRS matches nearly all 1099s and W-2s (those are the wage report forms from your employer) against your 1040.
Audit trends vary by taxpayer income. In recent years, IRS audited taxpayers with incomes below $25,000 and those with incomes of $500,000 or more at higher-than-average rates. But, audit rates have dropped for all income levels—with audit rates decreasing the most for taxpayers with incomes of $200,000 or more.
Chances are high that the IRS will catch a missing 1099 form. Using their matching system, the IRS can easily detect any errors in your returns. After all, they also receive a copy of your 1099 form, so they know exactly how much you need to pay in taxes.
Does the IRS Catch All Mistakes? No, the IRS probably won't catch all mistakes. But it does run tax returns through a number of processes to catch math errors and odd income and expense reporting.
The IRS receives information from third parties, such as employers and financial institutions. Using an automated system, the Automated Underreporter (AUR) function compares the information reported by third parties to the information reported on your return to identify potential discrepancies.
In the simplest terms, a statute of limitations is the maximum time allowed to initiate legal proceedings. If the IRS finds anything incorrect about a 1099, or if you neglect to file one, the agency has three years to take action. In most cases, the IRS will notice a 1099 discrepancy prior to that deadline.
Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process and up to three weeks from the date of mailing to show up in the system. Before that time, there's no need to call the IRS unless the tool specifically tells the taxpayer to do so.
If the IRS has shortlisted you for an audit, then you will be informed of this through a written notification that will be sent to your last recorded address. The IRS usually doesn't notify you of an audit via phone or email, so be wary of any email that claims to be about an IRS audit.
If the IRS seeks proof of your business expenses and you don't have receipts, you can create a report on your expenses. As a result of the Cohan Rule, business owners can claim expenses without receipts, provided the expenses are reasonable for that business.
Generally, the IRS can include returns filed within the last three years in an audit. If we identify a substantial error, we may add additional years. We usually don't go back more than the last six years. The IRS tries to audit tax returns as soon as possible after they are filed.
The IRS conducts tax audits to minimize the “tax gap,” or the difference between what the IRS is owed and what the IRS actually receives. Sometimes an IRS audit is random, but the IRS often selects taxpayers based on suspicious activity. We're against subterfuge. But we're also against paying more than you owe.
As a contractor with a 1099-MISC, however, you're responsible for the full 15.3% of the “ self-employment tax ”, and you can deduct the one half of the self-employment tax on your personal tax return (Form 1040).
Typically, the IRS audits less than 1% of all tax returns filed in a fiscal year. For example, the IRS audited 0.6% of all individual tax returns filed in 2017 and 0.9% of corporate income tax returns, excluding returns from S corporations, or S-corps.
Remember that the IRS will catch many errors itself
For example, if the mistake you realize you've made has to do with math, it's no big deal: The IRS will catch and automatically fix simple addition or subtraction errors. And if you forgot to send in a document, the IRS will usually reach out in writing to request it.
The Failure to File Penalty is 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. The penalty won't exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes.
And lately, the IRS has expanded its monitoring to include social media. The agency now keeps an eye out for online discussions about nonpayment or underpayment of taxes, and even sale prices of goods on sites like eBay that don't match what taxpayers report.
IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer's home or business unannounced during an investigation. However, they will not demand any sort of payment.