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‘Don’t lie’ on tax returns, says tax expert

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Silvia Ramos, owner of Taxes and More, talks to Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce members about properly filing tax returns.

If there is one resounding message that Silvia Ramos of Taxes and More had for those attending last week’s Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce meeting, it is to always be truthful when filing tax returns.

She said new tax laws have been implemented this year, but the one that has the greatest impact on returns is Obamacare.

Ramos said the IRS has implemented new methods for detecting red flags because of Obamacare.

“There are people who allow others to claim their dependents,” she said.

That is considered fraud and will inevitably cause the IRS to audit taxpayers.

Audits and questions about taxes are the primary reason Ramos’ business is open all year.

She said she opened Taxes and More because an audit can take place at any time.

“This is really a critical year for filling out your returns correctly,” said Ramos.

She said penalties and interest can accumulate. The IRS can audit a taxpayer three years after the return is filed. As a result, the IRS is able to collect more money. “You are responsible to pay back the refund money (if the IRS determines a return was fraudulent),” said Ramos.

She said she has seen more audits for small businesses. Those audits can be costly.

Ramos said small business owners have been known to deduct personal expenses that are not business-related. Those deductions are what get the business in trouble during an audit. Another audit issue that has been common involves business owners paying individuals in cash, or “under the table.”

She said, “You have to be truthful.”

Ramos said many of the new systems in place at the IRS also stem from staffing reductions at the agency.

“The IRS is in a crisis,” she said, stating much of the agency’s staff was not re-hired following last year’s government shutdown.

“Don’t lie,” she said, stating filing a false return is not worth an audit.

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