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Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs)

These Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) help IRS examiners during audits by providing insight into issues and accounting methods unique to specific industries. While ATGs are designed to provide guidance for IRS employees, they’re also useful to small business owners and tax professionals who prepare returns.

ATGs explain industry-specific examination techniques and include common, as well as, unique industry issues, business practices and terminology. Guidance is also provided on the examination of income, interview techniques and evaluation of evidence. So they may be helpful for business and tax planning purposes. To find out more about how these guides may be helpful to you, watch this short video.

Audit Techniques Guides are available here in Adobe PDF, or as Web pages, or both. The PDF versions must be viewed with the Acrobat Reader.

NOTE: These guides are current through the publication date. Since changes may have occurred after the publication date that would affect the accuracy of these documents, no guarantees are made concerning the technical accuracy after the publication date.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Aerospace Industry
Publication Date: 01/2005
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating research credit in the aerospace industry. The guide focuses on the particular unique aspects of the industry and provides examiners tools and tests to utilize in evaluating and auditing research credit.


Air Transportation (PDF - 1.85MB)
Publication Date: 04/2008
Overview of excise tax paid for transportation of persons or property by air.


Architects and Landscape Architects (PDF - 378.27KB)
Publication Date:
08/2011
This audit technique guide (ATG) has been developed to provide guidance to taxpayers as well as to revenue agents and tax compliance officers conducting examinations in the architect and landscape architect service industries.


Art Galleries - Audit Technique Guide (PDF - 461KB)
Publication Date: 01/2012
This Audit Technique Guide (ATG) has been developed to provide guidance to taxpayers as well as to revenue agents and tax compliance officers conducting examinations of Art Galleries.


Attorneys Audit Technique Guide (PDF - 525.34KB)
Publication Date: 03/2011
The Attorneys Audit Techniques Guide is intended to provide guidance to the examiner who is auditing a taxpayer who is an attorney or an attorney firm and to provide tax related guidance to taxpayers and other professionals in this industry.


Business Consultants (PDF - 700KB)
Publication Date: 07/2011
The Business Consultants ATG now includes an income section that addresses the shifting or the assignment of income issue and the substance versus form issue an examiner may encounter when conducting an examination.


Capitalization v Repairs
Publication Date: 11/2010
The ATG provides techniques for reviewing and examining capitalization v repairs issues.


Cash Intensive Businesses
Publication Date: 04/2010
Businesses that have substantial cash transactions are included in the consolidated Cash Intensive Businesses Audit Techniques Guide. Some of these businesses include bail bonds, beauty shops, car washes, check cashing establishments, coin operated amusements, laundromats, scrap metal, some convenience stores and Taxicabs. Guidance is also provided on examination of income, interview techniques, and evaluation of evidence.


Child Care Provider (PDF - 220KB)
Publication Date: 3/30/2009
This Audit Techniques Guide will provide information on tax related issues pertaining to the child care providers industry. It provides guidance on accounting for income and deductions. Intended audiences are taxpayers, tax professionals and IRS examiners.


Coal Excise Tax (PDF - 471KB)
Publication Date: 05/2005
Provides excise tax agents with specific tools to examine issues relating to domestically produced coal.


Commercial Banking (PDF - 857KB)
Publication Date: 05/2001
Overview of the industry. Discusses potential issues and terminology unique to banking.


Conservation Easement (PDF - 926KB)
Publication Date: 11/2011
Audit Techniques Guide providing guidance on charitable contributions of conservation easements.


Construction Industry (PDF - 2.6MB)
Publication Date: 05/2009
Overview of the industry including a glossary. Discusses types of contracts; types of contractors; methods of accounting; and joint ventures. This updated guide includes the filing locations for Rev. Proc. 92-29 elections (Chpt 7); includes contractor square footage costs (Chpt. 11); and common errors in look-back interest filings (Chpt. 5). See also Examination and Closing Procedures Form 8697, Look-Back Interest, Publication Date: 05/2007, for general information regarding the application of Form 8697, Interest Computation Under the Look-Back Method for Completed Long-Term Contracts.


Continuation of Employee Healthcare Coverage (PDF - 360KB)
Publication Date: 03/2012
This audit techniques guide was developed to provide guidance to IRS employees and taxpayers concerning the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.


Cost Segregation
Publication Date: 01/14/2005
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating cost segregation studies submitted by taxpayers in support of depreciation deductions. The guide is also beneficial for taxpayers and practitioners in preparing these studies.


Credit for Increasing Research Activities (i.e. Research Tax Credit) IRC § 41 (PDF -116KB)
Publication Date: 06/2005
This audit techniques guide sets forth the Research Credit Technical Advisors’ suggested guidelines for auditing research credit issues.


Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (PDF - 469KB)
Publication Date: 12/2013

The Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning Services Audit Techniques Guide provides an overview of the indoor tanning tax and examination direction. Intended audiences are taxpayers, tax professionals and IRS examiners.


Executive Compensation - Fringe Benefits
Publication Date: 02/04/2005
Corporate executives often receive extraordinary fringe benefits that are not provided to other corporate employees. Any property or service that an executive receives in lieu of or in addition to regular taxable wages is a fringe benefit that may be subject to taxation.


Factoring of Receivables (PDF - 32KB)
Publication Date: 06/2006
This audit techniques guide focuses on a strategy in which multinational corporations use factoring of accounts receivable among related parties to avoid U.S. taxation by shifting income offshore and reducing U.S. income by deducting expenses related to the same income.


Farmers
Publication Date:
07/2006
The Farmers Audit Techniques Guide (ATG) focuses on developing highly trained examiners for the agricultural market segment. The Guide contain examination techniques, common and unique industry issues, business practices, industry terminology and other information to assist examiners in performing examinations. Some agricultural guides covered include cotton, raisin grapes, general livestock, livestock marketing/auction barns, grain, and tobacco.


Fishing Audit Technique Guide (PDF - 851KB)
Publication Date:
08/2011
This guide provides technical information and audit techniques for common issues in the fishing industry. The intended audience is fishermen, tax professionals and IRS examiners.


Foreign Insurance (PDF - 434KB)
Publication Date: 04/2008
This audit techniques guide was designed to assist the examiner in conducting audits where Excise Tax of Foreign Insurance transactions may be due.


Golden Parachute
Publication Date: 02/04/2005
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating parachute examinations. The parachute examination can occur during the examination of either the corporation's or the individual's return.


Hardwood Timber Industry (PDF - 480KB)
Publication Date:
12/2012
This Industry Guide is intended for examiners conducting audits in the hardwood timber industry and as information for taxpayers and practitioners associated with the hardwood timber industry.


IC-DISC Audit Guide
Publication Date: 03/2012
This IC-DISC Audit Guide is intended to provide guidance to examiners who are auditing a Form 1120 IC-DISC and/or its related shareholder(s).


Inland Waterways (PDF - 607KB)
Publication Date: 12/2008
This audit techniques guide is intended to provide assistance to the examiner who is auditing a taxpayer for which the use of the Inland Waterways is an issue.


IRC 162(m) Salary Deduction Limitation
Publication Date: 02/04/2005
Every publicly held corporation maintains its executive compensation records differently. Likewise, every publicly held corporation maintains different methods for compensating its executives. As the examining agent, you must first learn the identity of the individual(s) within the corporation who are most familiar with how the executive compensation records are maintained.


IRC § 183: Activities Not Engaged in For Profit (PDF - 723KB)
Publication Date: 06/19/2009
This audit techniques guide (ATG) has been developed to provide guidance to Revenue Agents and Tax Compliance Officers in pursuing the application of IRC § 183, Activities Not Engaged in for Profit (sometimes referred to as the "hobby loss rule").


Lawsuits, Awards, and Settlements (PDF - 568 KB)
Publication Date: 05/2011
This guide focuses on taxability of lawsuits, awards and settlements.


Low-Income Housing Credit - Guide for Completing Form 8823 (PDF - 841 KB)
Publication Date: 01/2011
IRC 42, The Low-Income Housing Credit (LIHC) Program, is co-administered by the IRS and state housing credit agencies. As part of their administrative responsibilities, the agencies monitor the housing project for compliance with IRC 42 requirements and report any observed noncompliance to the IRS using Form 8823, Low-Income Housing Credit Agencies Report of Noncompliance or Building Disposition. This ATG provides state agencies with guidelines for evaluating taxpayer compliance and reporting noncompliance to the IRS.


Ministers (PDF - 243KB)
Publication Date: 04/23/2009
The Ministers Audit Techniques Guide is intended to provide guidance to the examiner who is auditing a taxpayer who is a minister and to provide tax related guidance to taxpayers and other professionals in this industry.


New Markets Tax Credit (PDF - 208KB)
Publication Date: 05/2010
The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, enacted by Congress as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000, is incorporated as section 45D of the Internal Revenue Code. This Code section permits individual and corporate taxpayers to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making Qualified Equity Investments (QEIs) in qualified community development entities (CDEs).


New Vehicle Dealership (PDF - 1.99 MB)
Publication Date: 1/2005
This guide will give you the key to a quick and competent closure of any new vehicle dealership examination which hinges on narrowing the scope of the examination to items that may prove productive.


Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation
Publication Date: 02/04/2005
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating non-qualified deferred compensation. A nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan is any elective or nonelective plan, agreement, method, or arrangement between an employer and an employee (or service recipient and service provider) to pay the employee compensation some time in the future.


Obligations Not in Registered Form (PDF - 275KB)
Publication Date: 6/2006
Obligations Not in Registered Form


Obligations Not in Registered Form D (PDF - 84KB)
Publication Date: 06/2006
Obligations Not in Registered Form D


Oil and Gas Industry (PDF - 494KB)
Publication Date: 5/1996
Provides information on basic operations and common terminology. Includes reference to royalty owners and an introduction to financial products.


Ozone Depleting Chemicals (PDF - 412KB)
Publication Date: 9/2007
This is the audit techniques guide for Ozone Depleting Chemicals (ODC).


Partnerships
Publication Date: See Table of Contents for Publication/Revision Date of the Individual Chapters
The focus is on issues that fall within sections 701 through 761 of the Code (Subchapter K). Subchapter K deals primarily with the formation, operation, and termination of partnerships. Many issues arise during the initial or final year of the partnership.


Passive Activity Losses (PDF - 3437 KB)
Publication Date: 02/2005
Provides examiners with specific guidance on potential audit issues, issue identification and lead sheets and other job aids.


Placer Mining (PDF - 181KB)
Publication Date: 7/1999
Provides guidelines for the examination of taxpayers in this industry. Focuses on small mining operations represented as sole proprietorships on Schedule C, but can be adapted for partnership and corporate returns.


The Port Project (PDF - 282KB)
Publication Date: 8/1995
Provides examiners assistance in auditing industries related to coastal and inland waterways.


Reforestation Industry (PDF - 120KB)
Publication Date: 8/1995
Overview of the industry. Discusses some issues that may be encountered - including employment taxes; poor accounting records; etc.


Rehabilitation Tax Credit (PDF - 353KB)
Publication Date: 12/2002
Provides examiners with audit aids (i.e. issue checksheet, pro forma Information Document Request, and standardized audit reports, etc.) which assist in identifying and addressing common rehab tax credit issues.


Research Credit Claims: Credit for Increasing Research Activities § 41
Publication Date: See table of contents for publication/revision date for the individual chapters, exhibits, and letters & forms. This guide provides guidance on the handling and evaluation of research credit claims.


Retail Industry (PDF 785KB)
Publication Date: 2/2009
Overview of the Retail Industry.


Sections 48A and 48B - Advanced Coal and Gasification Project Credits
Publication Date: 5/2009
Section 46 provides that the amount of investment credit for purposes of § 38 for any taxable year is the sum of the credits listed in § 46. Section 1307(a) of the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005, Pub. L. 109-58, 119 Stat. 594 (August 8, 2005), amended § 46 to add two new credits to that list: The qualifying advanced coal project credit, (section 48A) and the qualifying gasification project credit, (section 48B).


Split Dollar Life Insurance
Publication Date: 03/07/2005
Split-dollar life insurance arrangements can be a key feature of executive compensation packages. Over the years, the Service has provided limited guidance regarding the taxation of these arrangements. Beginning in 2001, transitional guidance on the valuation of split-dollar life insurance arrangements was provided in the form of notices and proposed regulations in anticipation of final regulations.


Stock Based Compensation
Publication Date: 02/04/2005
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating stock-based compensation. Stock-based compensation generally consists of either the transferring of stock or the issuance of stock options to an employee or independent contractor.


Structured Settlement Factoring (PDF - 282KB)
Publication Date: 11/2006
Structured Settlement Factoring


Timber Casualty Loss (PDF - 611KB)
Publication Date: 04/2011
The purpose of this Audit Technique Guide is to provide guidance on conducting income tax examinations with a Timber Casualty Loss.


Veterinary Medicine (PDF - 495KB)
Publication Date: 4/2005
Overview of industry includes discussion of types of business entities (especially personal service corporation); cash vs. accrual method of accounting; and inventory vs. supplies.


Wine Industry ATG (PDF - 354KB)
Publication Date: 05/2011
The Wine Industry Audit Technique Guide is designed to assist examiners in their compliance reviews of both winery and vineyard operations.


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H and r block com Publication 501 - Introductory Material Table of Contents What's New Reminders IntroductionOrdering forms and publications. H and r block com Tax questions. H and r block com Useful Items - You may want to see: What's New Who must file. H and r block com   In some cases, the amount of income you can receive before you must file a tax return has increased. H and r block com Table 1 shows the filing requirements for most taxpayers. H and r block com Exemption amount. H and r block com  The amount you can deduct for each exemption has increased. H and r block com It was $3,800 for 2012. H and r block com It is $3,900 for 2013. H and r block com Exemption phaseout. H and r block com  You lose at least part of the benefit of your exemptions if your adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. H and r block com For 2013, the phaseout begins at $150,000 for married individuals filing separate returns; $250,000 for single individuals; $275,000 for heads of household; and $300,000 for married individuals filing joint returns or qualifying widow(er)s. H and r block com See Phaseout of Exemptions , later. H and r block com Standard deduction increased. H and r block com   The standard deduction for some taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040 is higher for 2013 than it was for 2012. H and r block com The amount depends on your filing status. H and r block com You can use the 2013 Standard Deduction Tables near the end of this publication to figure your standard deduction. H and r block com Same-sex marriages. H and r block com . H and r block com  If you have a same-sex spouse whom you legally married in a state (or foreign country) that recognizes same-sex marriage, you and your spouse generally must use the married filing jointly or married filing separately filing status on your 2013 return, even if you and your spouse now live in a state (or foreign country) that does not recognize same-sex marriage. H and r block com See Same-sex marriage under Marital Status, later. H and r block com If you meet certain requirements, you may be able to file amended returns to change your filing status for some earlier years. H and r block com For details on filing amended returns, see Joint Return After Separate Returns . H and r block com Reminders Future developments. H and r block com  Information about any future developments affecting Publication 501 (such as legislation enacted after we release it) will be posted at www. H and r block com irs. H and r block com gov/pub501. H and r block com Taxpayer identification number for aliens. H and r block com   If you are a nonresident or resident alien and you do not have and are not eligible to get a social security number (SSN), you must apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). H and r block com Your spouse also may need an ITIN if he or she does not have and is not eligible to get an SSN. H and r block com See Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. H and r block com Also, see Social Security Numbers for Dependents , later. H and r block com Photographs of missing children. H and r block com   The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. H and r block com Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. H and r block com You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child. H and r block com Introduction This publication discusses some tax rules that affect every person who may have to file a federal income tax return. H and r block com It answers some basic questions: who must file; who should file; what filing status to use; how many exemptions to claim; and the amount of the standard deduction. H and r block com Who Must File explains who must file an income tax return. H and r block com If you have little or no gross income, reading this section will help you decide if you have to file a return. H and r block com Who Should File helps you decide if you should file a return, even if you are not required to do so. H and r block com Filing Status helps you determine which filing status to use. H and r block com Filing status is important in determining whether you must file a return and whether you may claim certain deductions and credits. H and r block com It also helps determine your standard deduction and tax rate. H and r block com Exemptions, which reduce your taxable income, are discussed in Exemptions . H and r block com Exemptions for Dependents explains the difference between a qualifying child and a qualifying relative. H and r block com Other topics include the social security number requirement for dependents, the rules for multiple support agreements, and the rules for divorced or separated parents. H and r block com Phaseout of Exemptions explains how to determine whether you must reduce the dollar amount of exemptions you claim and, if so, the amount of the reduction. H and r block com Standard Deduction gives the rules and dollar amounts for the standard deduction — a benefit for taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions. H and r block com This section also discusses the standard deduction for taxpayers who are blind or age 65 or older, as well as special rules that limit the standard deduction available to dependents. H and r block com In addition, this section helps you decide whether you would be better off taking the standard deduction or itemizing your deductions. H and r block com How To Get Tax Help explains how to get tax help from the IRS. H and r block com This publication is for U. H and r block com S. H and r block com citizens and resident aliens only. H and r block com If you are a resident alien for the entire year, you must follow the same tax rules that apply to U. H and r block com S. H and r block com citizens. H and r block com The rules to determine if you are a resident or nonresident alien are discussed in chapter 1 of Publication 519, U. H and r block com S. H and r block com Tax Guide for Aliens. H and r block com Nonresident aliens. H and r block com    If you were a nonresident alien at any time during the year, the rules and tax forms that apply to you may be different from those that apply to U. H and r block com S. H and r block com citizens. H and r block com See Publication 519. H and r block com Comments and suggestions. H and r block com    We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions. H and r block com   You can write to us at the following address: Internal Revenue Service Tax Forms and Publications Division 1111 Constitution Ave. H and r block com NW, IR-6526 Washington, DC 20224   We respond to many letters by telephone. H and r block com Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence. H and r block com   You can send your comments from www. H and r block com irs. H and r block com gov/formspubs. H and r block com Click on “More Information” and then on “Comment on Tax Forms and Publications. H and r block com ”   Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products. H and r block com Ordering forms and publications. H and r block com    Visit www. H and r block com irs. H and r block com gov/formspubs to download forms and publications, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received. H and r block com Internal Revenue Service 1201 N. H and r block com Mitsubishi Motorway Bloomington, IL 61705-6613 Tax questions. H and r block com    If you have a tax question, check the information available on IRS. H and r block com gov or call 1-800-829-1040. H and r block com We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses. H and r block com Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 559 Survivors, Executors, and Administrators 929 Tax Rules for Children and Dependents Form (and Instructions) 1040X Amended U. H and r block com S. H and r block com Individual Income Tax Return 2848 Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative 8332 Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent 8814 Parents' Election To Report Child's Interest and Dividends Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications