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Free federal & state e-file 5. Free federal & state e-file   Recordkeeping Table of Contents How To Prove ExpensesWhat Are Adequate Records? What If I Have Incomplete Records? Separating and Combining Expenses How Long To Keep Records and Receipts Examples of Records If you deduct travel, entertainment, gift, or transportation expenses, you must be able to prove (substantiate) certain elements of expense. Free federal & state e-file This chapter discusses the records you need to keep to prove these expenses. Free federal & state e-file If you keep timely and accurate records, you will have support to show the IRS if your tax return is ever examined. Free federal & state e-file You will also have proof of expenses that your employer may require if you are reimbursed under an accountable plan. Free federal & state e-file These plans are discussed in chapter 6 under Reimbursements . Free federal & state e-file How To Prove Expenses Table 5-1 is a summary of records you need to prove each expense discussed in this publication. Free federal & state e-file You must be able to prove the elements listed across the top portion of the chart. Free federal & state e-file You prove them by having the information and receipts (where needed) for the expenses listed in the first column. Free federal & state e-file You cannot deduct amounts that you approximate or estimate. Free federal & state e-file You should keep adequate records to prove your expenses or have sufficient evidence that will support your own statement. Free federal & state e-file You must generally prepare a written record for it to be considered adequate. Free federal & state e-file This is because written evidence is more reliable than oral evidence alone. Free federal & state e-file However, if you prepare a record on a computer, it is considered an adequate record. Free federal & state e-file What Are Adequate Records? You should keep the proof you need in an account book, diary, log, statement of expense, trip sheets, or similar record. Free federal & state e-file You should also keep documentary evidence that, together with your record, will support each element of an expense. Free federal & state e-file Documentary evidence. Free federal & state e-file   You generally must have documentary evidence, such as receipts, canceled checks, or bills, to support your expenses. Free federal & state e-file Exception. Free federal & state e-file   Documentary evidence is not needed if any of the following conditions apply. Free federal & state e-file You have meals or lodging expenses while traveling away from home for which you account to your employer under an accountable plan, and you use a per diem allowance method that includes meals and/or lodging. Free federal & state e-file ( Accountable plans and per diem allowances are discussed in chapter 6. Free federal & state e-file ) Your expense, other than lodging, is less than $75. Free federal & state e-file You have a transportation expense for which a receipt is not readily available. Free federal & state e-file Adequate evidence. Free federal & state e-file   Documentary evidence ordinarily will be considered adequate if it shows the amount, date, place, and essential character of the expense. Free federal & state e-file   For example, a hotel receipt is enough to support expenses for business travel if it has all of the following information. Free federal & state e-file The name and location of the hotel. Free federal & state e-file The dates you stayed there. Free federal & state e-file Separate amounts for charges such as lodging, meals, and telephone calls. Free federal & state e-file   A restaurant receipt is enough to prove an expense for a business meal if it has all of the following information. Free federal & state e-file The name and location of the restaurant. Free federal & state e-file The number of people served. Free federal & state e-file The date and amount of the expense. Free federal & state e-file If a charge is made for items other than food and beverages, the receipt must show that this is the case. Free federal & state e-file Canceled check. Free federal & state e-file   A canceled check, together with a bill from the payee, ordinarily establishes the cost. Free federal & state e-file However, a canceled check by itself does not prove a business expense without other evidence to show that it was for a business purpose. Free federal & state e-file Duplicate information. Free federal & state e-file   You do not have to record information in your account book or other record that duplicates information shown on a receipt as long as your records and receipts complement each other in an orderly manner. Free federal & state e-file   You do not have to record amounts your employer pays directly for any ticket or other travel item. Free federal & state e-file However, if you charge these items to your employer, through a credit card or otherwise, you must keep a record of the amounts you spend. Free federal & state e-file Timely-kept records. Free federal & state e-file   You should record the elements of an expense or of a business use at or near the time of the expense or use and support it with sufficient documentary evidence. Free federal & state e-file A timely-kept record has more value than a statement prepared later when generally there is a lack of accurate recall. Free federal & state e-file   You do not need to write down the elements of every expense on the day of the expense. Free federal & state e-file If you maintain a log on a weekly basis that accounts for use during the week, the log is considered a timely-kept record. Free federal & state e-file   If you give your employer, client, or customer an expense account statement, it can also be considered a timely-kept record. Free federal & state e-file This is true if you copy it from your account book, diary, log, statement of expense, trip sheets, or similar record. Free federal & state e-file Proving business purpose. Free federal & state e-file   You must generally provide a written statement of the business purpose of an expense. Free federal & state e-file However, the degree of proof varies according to the circumstances in each case. Free federal & state e-file If the business purpose of an expense is clear from the surrounding circumstances, then you do not need to give a written explanation. Free federal & state e-file Example. Free federal & state e-file If you are a sales representative who calls on customers on an established sales route, you do not have to give a written explanation of the business purpose for traveling that route. Free federal & state e-file You can satisfy the requirements by recording the length of the delivery route once, the date of each trip at or near the time of the trips, and the total miles you drove the car during the tax year. Free federal & state e-file You could also establish the date of each trip with a receipt, record of delivery, or other documentary evidence. Free federal & state e-file Confidential information. Free federal & state e-file   You do not need to put confidential information relating to an element of a deductible expense (such as the place, business purpose, or business relationship) in your account book, diary, or other record. Free federal & state e-file However, you do have to record the information elsewhere at or near the time of the expense and have it available to fully prove that element of the expense. Free federal & state e-file What If I Have Incomplete Records? If you do not have complete records to prove an element of an expense, then you must prove the element with: Your own written or oral statement containing specific information about the element, and Other supporting evidence that is sufficient to establish the element. Free federal & state e-file If the element is the description of a gift, or the cost, time, place, or date of an expense, the supporting evidence must be either direct evidence or documentary evidence. Free federal & state e-file Direct evidence can be written statements or the oral testimony of your guests or other witnesses setting forth detailed information about the element. Free federal & state e-file Documentary evidence can be receipts, paid bills, or similar evidence. Free federal & state e-file If the element is either the business relationship of your guests or the business purpose of the amount spent, the supporting evidence can be circumstantial rather than direct. Free federal & state e-file For example, the nature of your work, such as making deliveries, provides circumstantial evidence of the use of your car for business purposes. Free federal & state e-file Invoices of deliveries establish when you used the car for business. Free federal & state e-file Table 5-1. Free federal & state e-file How To Prove Certain Business Expenses IF you have expenses for . Free federal & state e-file . Free federal & state e-file THEN you must keep records that show details of the following elements . Free federal & state e-file . Free federal & state e-file . Free federal & state e-file   Amount Time Place or  Description Business Purpose Business Relationship Travel Cost of each separate expense for travel, lodging, and meals. Free federal & state e-file Incidental expenses may be totaled in reasonable categories such as taxis, fees and tips, etc. Free federal & state e-file Dates you left and returned for each trip and number of days spent on business. Free federal & state e-file Destination or area of your travel (name of city, town, or other designation). Free federal & state e-file Purpose: Business purpose for the expense or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained. Free federal & state e-file    Relationship: N/A Entertainment Cost of each separate expense. Free federal & state e-file Incidental expenses such as taxis, telephones, etc. Free federal & state e-file , may be totaled on a daily basis. Free federal & state e-file Date of entertainment. Free federal & state e-file (Also see Business Purpose. Free federal & state e-file ) Name and address or location of place of entertainment. Free federal & state e-file Type of entertainment if not otherwise apparent. Free federal & state e-file (Also see Business Purpose. Free federal & state e-file ) Purpose: Business purpose for the expense or the business benefit gained or expected to be gained. Free federal & state e-file  For entertainment, the nature of the business discussion or activity. Free federal & state e-file If the entertainment was directly before or after a business discussion: the date, place, nature, and duration of the business discussion, and the identities of the persons who took part in both the business discussion and the entertainment activity. Free federal & state e-file    Relationship: Occupations or other information (such as names, titles, or other designations) about the recipients that shows their business relationship to you. Free federal & state e-file  For entertainment, you must also prove that you or your employee was present if the entertainment was a business meal. Free federal & state e-file Gifts Cost of the gift. Free federal & state e-file Date of the gift. Free federal & state e-file Description of the gift. Free federal & state e-file   Transportation Cost of each separate expense. Free federal & state e-file For car expenses, the cost of the car and any improvements, the date you started using it for business, the mileage for each business use, and the total miles for the year. Free federal & state e-file Date of the expense. Free federal & state e-file For car expenses, the date of the use of the car. Free federal & state e-file Your business destination. Free federal & state e-file Purpose: Business purpose for the expense. Free federal & state e-file    Relationship: N/A Sampling. Free federal & state e-file   You can keep an adequate record for parts of a tax year and use that record to prove the amount of business or investment use for the entire year. Free federal & state e-file You must demonstrate by other evidence that the periods for which an adequate record is kept are representative of the use throughout the tax year. Free federal & state e-file Example. Free federal & state e-file You use your car to visit the offices of clients, meet with suppliers and other subcontractors, and pick up and deliver items to clients. Free federal & state e-file There is no other business use of the car, but you and your family use the car for personal purposes. Free federal & state e-file You keep adequate records during the first week of each month that show that 75% of the use of the car is for business. Free federal & state e-file Invoices and bills show that your business use continues at the same rate during the later weeks of each month. Free federal & state e-file Your weekly records are representative of the use of the car each month and are sufficient evidence to support the percentage of business use for the year. Free federal & state e-file Exceptional circumstances. Free federal & state e-file   You can satisfy the substantiation requirements with other evidence if, because of the nature of the situation in which an expense is made, you cannot get a receipt. Free federal & state e-file This applies if all the following are true. Free federal & state e-file You were unable to obtain evidence for an element of the expense or use that completely satisfies the requirements explained earlier under What Are Adequate Records . Free federal & state e-file You are unable to obtain evidence for an element that completely satisfies the two rules listed earlier under What If I Have Incomplete Records . Free federal & state e-file You have presented other evidence for the element that is the best proof possible under the circumstances. Free federal & state e-file Destroyed records. Free federal & state e-file   If you cannot produce a receipt because of reasons beyond your control, you can prove a deduction by reconstructing your records or expenses. Free federal & state e-file Reasons beyond your control include fire, flood, and other casualties. Free federal & state e-file    Table 5-2. Free federal & state e-file Daily Business Mileage and Expense Log Name:       Odometer Readings Expenses Date Destination  (City, Town, or Area) Business Purpose Start Stop Miles  this trip Type  (Gas, oil, tolls, etc. Free federal & state e-file ) Amount                                                                                                                   Weekly  Total             Total Year-to-Date             Separating and Combining Expenses This section explains when expenses must be kept separate and when expenses can be combined. Free federal & state e-file Separating expenses. Free federal & state e-file   Each separate payment is generally considered a separate expense. Free federal & state e-file For example, if you entertain a customer or client at dinner and then go to the theater, the dinner expense and the cost of the theater tickets are two separate expenses. Free federal & state e-file You must record them separately in your records. Free federal & state e-file Season or series tickets. Free federal & state e-file   If you buy season or series tickets for business use, you must treat each ticket in the series as a separate item. Free federal & state e-file To determine the cost of individual tickets, divide the total cost (but not more than face value) by the number of games or performances in the series. Free federal & state e-file You must keep records to show whether you use each ticket as a gift or entertainment. Free federal & state e-file Also, you must be able to prove the cost of nonluxury box seat tickets if you rent a skybox or other private luxury box for more than one event. Free federal & state e-file See Entertainment tickets in chapter 2. Free federal & state e-file Combining items. Free federal & state e-file   You can make one daily entry in your record for reasonable categories of expenses. Free federal & state e-file Examples are taxi fares, telephone calls, or other incidental travel costs. Free federal & state e-file Meals should be in a separate category. Free federal & state e-file You can include tips for meal-related services with the costs of the meals. Free federal & state e-file   Expenses of a similar nature occurring during the course of a single event are considered a single expense. Free federal & state e-file For example, if during entertainment at a cocktail lounge, you pay separately for each serving of refreshments, the total expense for the refreshments is treated as a single expense. Free federal & state e-file Car expenses. Free federal & state e-file   You can account for several uses of your car that can be considered part of a single use, such as a round trip or uninterrupted business use, with a single record. Free federal & state e-file Minimal personal use, such as a stop for lunch on the way between two business stops, is not an interruption of business use. Free federal & state e-file Example. Free federal & state e-file You make deliveries at several different locations on a route that begins and ends at your employer's business premises and that includes a stop at the business premises between two deliveries. Free federal & state e-file You can account for these using a single record of miles driven. Free federal & state e-file Gift expenses. Free federal & state e-file   You do not always have to record the name of each recipient of a gift. Free federal & state e-file A general listing will be enough if it is evident that you are not trying to avoid the $25 annual limit on the amount you can deduct for gifts to any one person. Free federal & state e-file For example, if you buy a large number of tickets to local high school basketball games and give one or two tickets to each of many customers, it is usually enough to record a general description of the recipients. Free federal & state e-file Allocating total cost. Free federal & state e-file   If you can prove the total cost of travel or entertainment but you cannot prove how much it cost for each person who participated in the event, you may have to allocate the total cost among you and your guests on a pro rata basis. Free federal & state e-file To do so, you must establish the number of persons who participated in the event. Free federal & state e-file   An allocation would be needed, for example, if you did not have a business relationship with all of your guests. Free federal & state e-file See Allocating between business and nonbusiness in chapter 2. Free federal & state e-file If your return is examined. Free federal & state e-file    If your return is examined, you may have to provide additional information to the IRS. Free federal & state e-file This information could be needed to clarify or to establish the accuracy or reliability of information contained in your records, statements, testimony, or documentary evidence before a deduction is allowed. Free federal & state e-file    THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL INTERNAL REVENUE FORM Table 5-3. Free federal & state e-file Weekly Traveling Expense and Entertainment Record From: To: Name: Expenses Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Total 1. Free federal & state e-file Travel Expenses: Airlines                                 Excess Baggage                                 Bus – Train                                 Cab and Limousine                                 Tips                                 Porter                                 2. Free federal & state e-file Meals and Lodging:  Breakfast                                 Lunch                                 Dinner                                 Hotel and Motel  (Detail in Schedule B)                                 3. Free federal & state e-file Entertainment  (Detail in Schedule C)                                 4. Free federal & state e-file Other Expenses:  Postage                                 Telephone & Telegraph                                 Stationery & Printing                                 Stenographer                                 Sample Room                                 Advertising                                 Assistant(s)                                 Trade Shows                                 5. Free federal & state e-file Car Expenses: (List all car expenses - the division between business and personal expenses may be made at the end of the year. Free federal & state e-file ) (Detail mileage in Schedule A. Free federal & state e-file ) Gas, oil, lube, wash                                 Repairs, parts                                 Tires, supplies                                 Parking fees, tolls                                 6. Free federal & state e-file Other (Identify)                                 Total                                 Note: Attach receipted bills for (1) ALL lodging and (2) any other expenses of $75. Free federal & state e-file 00 or more. Free federal & state e-file Schedule A – Car Mileage: End                 Start                 Total                 Business Mileage                 Schedule B – Lodging Hotel or Motel Name                 City                 Schedule C – Entertainment Date Item Place Amount Business Purpose Business Relationship                                             WEEKLY REIMBURSEMENTS:     Travel and transportation expenses     Other reimbursements     TOTAL   How Long To Keep Records and Receipts You must keep records as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. Free federal & state e-file Generally, this means you must keep records that support your deduction (or an item of income) for 3 years from the date you file the income tax return on which the deduction is claimed. Free federal & state e-file A return filed early is considered filed on the due date. Free federal & state e-file For a more complete explanation of how long to keep records, see Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records. Free federal & state e-file You must keep records of the business use of your car for each year of the recovery period. Free federal & state e-file See More-than-50%-use test in chapter 4 under Depreciation Deduction. Free federal & state e-file Reimbursed for expenses. Free federal & state e-file   Employees who give their records and documentation to their employers and are reimbursed for their expenses generally do not have to keep copies of this information. Free federal & state e-file However, you may have to prove your expenses if any of the following conditions apply. Free federal & state e-file You claim deductions for expenses that are more than reimbursements. Free federal & state e-file Your expenses are reimbursed under a nonaccountable plan. Free federal & state e-file Your employer does not use adequate accounting procedures to verify expense accounts. Free federal & state e-file You are related to your employer as defined under Per Diem and Car Allowances , in chapter 6. Free federal & state e-file Reimbursements , adequate accounting , and nonaccountable plans are discussed in chapter 6. Free federal & state e-file Examples of Records Table 5-2 and Table 5-3 are examples of worksheets which can be used for tracking business expenses. Free federal & state e-file Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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Understanding your CP10A Notice

We made a change(s) to your return because we believe there's a miscalculation involving your Earned Income Credit. This change(s) affected the estimated tax payment you wanted applied to your taxes for next year.

Tax publications you may find useful

How to get help

Calling the toll free number listed on the top right corner of your notice is the fastest way to get your questions answered.

You can also authorize someone (such as an accountant) to contact the IRS on your behalf using this Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative (Form 2848).

Or you may qualify for help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
 


What you need to do

  • Read your notice carefully ― it will explain why we were unable to apply the amount you requested to next year’s taxes. It also will suggest additional steps for you to take, depending on your situation.
  • Correct the copy of your tax return that you kept for your records.
  • Adjust this year's estimated tax payments to avoid a possible underpayment of next year's taxes.

You may want to...


Answers to Common Questions

How do I adjust my estimated tax payments?
You can adjust your estimated tax payments with a Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals. For more information, see Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.

How can I find out what caused my tax return to change?
Please contact us at the number listed on your notice for specific information concerning your tax return.

What should I do if I disagree with the changes you made?
If you disagree, contact us at the toll free number listed on the top right corner of your notice.

If you contact us in writing within 60 days of the date of this notice, we'll reverse the change we made to your account. However, if you're unable to provide us additional information that justifies the reversal and we believe the reversal is in error, we'll forward your case for audit. This step gives you formal appeal rights, including the right to appeal our decision in court before you have to pay the additional tax. After we forward your case, the audit staff will contact you within five to six weeks to fully explain the audit process and your rights. If you don’t contact us within the 60-day period, you'll lose your right to appeal our decision before payment of tax.

If you don't contact us within 60 days, the change won’t be reversed and you must pay the additional tax. You may then file a claim for refund. You must submit the claim within three years of the date you filed the tax return, or within two years of the date of your last payment for this tax.

What's the difference between the "Child Tax Credit" and the "Additional Child Tax Credit?" Can I qualify for both?
The Child Tax Credit is for people who have a qualifying child. The maximum amount you can claim is $1000 for each qualifying child. The Additional Child Tax Credit is for individuals who receive less than the full amount of Child Tax Credit. You may qualify for both the Child Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit.

How do I claim an Additional Child Tax Credit?
You claim the credit by completing a Form 1040 Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit and attaching it to your income tax return.

My child is turning 18 this year. Can I still get the Additional Child Tax Credit?
No. Your child must be under age 17 at the end of 2009 to qualify for both the Child Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit.


Tips for next year

Consider filing your taxes electronically. Filing online can help you avoid mistakes and find credits and deductions that you may qualify for. In many cases you can file for free. Learn more about e-file.

If you have any dependent children, remember to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit the next time you file your income tax return. Complete and attach a Form 1040 Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit to your return to claim this credit.

Use the EITC Assistant to help you complete your Schedule EIC, Earned Income Credit and claim your Earned Income Credit.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 28-Mar-2014

The Free Federal & State E-file

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