Rev. Proc. 2011-13, 2011-3 IRB, 12/28/2010
Early in each year the IRS will issue two Revenue Procedures. One I call "Don't Even Bother to Ask", which outlines the areas in which they will not rule. That one may be out by now, but I haven't looked for it. The other which I discuss in this post, I call "How to Stay Out of The Penalty Box".
The way to avoid penalties is to have adequate disclosure. This ruling tells you what constitutes adequate disclosure in a variety of areas. The most common theme in the Rev Proc is probably RTFI (READ THE INSTRUCTIONS). Of course since everybody except Robert Flach uses software (and he's not taking any new 1040 clients), there isn't quite as much instruction reading going on as there might have been in the past. Of course, even back in the manual days there was a lot of reliance on good old SALY (Same as Last Year). Here are some of the highlights of Rev. Proc. 2011-13, which is really a must read for serious preparers.
.05. In general, this revenue procedure provides guidance for determining when disclosure by return is adequate for purposes of section 6662(d)(2)(B)(ii) and section 6694(a)(2)(B). For purposes of this revenue procedure, the taxpayer must furnish all required information in accordance with the applicable forms and instructions, and the money amounts entered on these forms must be verifiable.
(2) The money amounts entered on the forms must be verifiable, and the information on the return must be disclosed in the manner described below. For purposes of this revenue procedure, a number is verifiable if, on audit, the taxpayer can prove the origin of the amount (even if that number is not ultimately accepted by the Internal Revenue Service) and the taxpayer can show good faith in entering that number on the applicable form.
(4) When the amount of an item is shown on a line that does not have a preprinted description identifying that item (such as on an unnamed line under an “ Other Expense” category) the taxpayer must clearly identify the item by including the description on that line. For example, to disclose a bad debt for a sole proprietorship, the words “ bad debt” must be written or typed on the line of Schedule C that shows the amount of the bad debt. Also, for Schedule M-3 (Form 1120), Part II, line 25, Other income (loss) items with differences, or Part III, line 35, Other expense/deduction items with differences, the entry must provide descriptive language; for example, “Cost of non-compete agreement deductible not capitalizable.” If space limitations on a form do not allow for an adequate description, the description must be continued on an attachment.
(1) Form 1040, Schedule A, Itemized Deductions:
(a) Medical and Dental Expenses: Complete lines 1 through 4, supplying all required information.
(b) Taxes: Complete lines 5 through 9, supplying all required information. Line 8 must list each type of tax and the amount paid.
(2) Certain Trade or Business Expenses (including, for purposes of this section, the following six expenses as they relate to the rental of property):
(a) Casualty and Theft Losses: The procedure outlined in section 4.02(1)(e) must be followed.
(b) Legal Expenses: The amount claimed must be stated. This section does not apply, however, to amounts properly characterized as capital expenditures, personal expenses, or non-deductible lobbying or political expenditures, including amounts that are required to be (or that are) amortized over a period of years.
(c) Specific Bad Debt Charge-off: The amount written off must be stated.
(d) Reasonableness of Officers' Compensation: Form 1120, Schedule E, Compensation of Officers , must be completed when required by its instructions. The time devoted to business must be expressed as a percentage as opposed to “part” or “as needed.” This section does not apply to “golden parachute” payments, as defined under section 280G. This section will not apply to the extent that remuneration paid or incurred exceeds the employee-remuneration deduction limitations under section 162(m), if applicable.
(e) Repair Expenses: The amount claimed must be stated. This section does not apply, however, to any repair expenses properly characterized as capital expenditures or personal expenses.
(f) Taxes (other than foreign taxes): The amount claimed must be stated.
(3) Differences in book and income tax reporting.
Note: An item reported on a line with a pre-printed description, shown on an attached schedule or “ itemized” on Schedule M-1, may represent the aggregate amount of several transactions producing that item (i.e., a group of similar items, such as amounts paid or incurred for supplies by a taxpayer engaged in business). In some instances, a potentially controversial item may involve a portion of the aggregate amount disclosed on the schedule. The Service will not be reasonably apprised of a potential controversy by the aggregate amount disclosed. In these instances, the taxpayer must use Form 8275 or Form 8275-R regarding that portion of the item.
Combining unlike items, whether on Schedule M-1 or Schedule M-3 (or on an attachment when directed by the instructions), will not constitute an adequate disclosure.
That's just the highlights. As I said above serious preparers should read the original.