August 5, 2015
About ten years ago I picked up my first Gas Station Client for Audit Representation. We have done Gas Station Tax Preparation Chicago Illinois for over twenty years, but none of our clients, thankfully, have ever been audited. This station owner was in the middle of a sales tax audit, and it was going poorly, to say the least.
He had been referred into us by an attorney that we know. His accountant had done a terrible job, putting any number that the client wanted on the sales tax returns. Now The Illinois Department of Revenue was auditing his sales tax returns going back seven years.
Because the gross sales figure on the sales tax returns did not match the annual sales figure that went on the Illinois income tax return. Those two forms, go into the same agency. Its quite easy for the computer to add the figures from an entire years sales tax returns to see if they are even close to the number reported on the income tax return for gross sales.
There was a $2 million difference between his reported sales tax figures and income tax in just one year. The state were coming after this guy hard and heavy. The department was even talking about referring this into their Criminal Investigations Division. This was truly a mess.
I asked him why he had under-reported his sales taxes to such an extent. His answer was that all of the other station owners he knew did the same thing and that his accountant had never told him to do it any differently. There was a sincerity in his eyes, and I believed him. So I accepted the case.
I’ve certainly handled some difficult sales tax audits before, but this one was bad. Most of the necessary records were missing, and the department was out for blood. We got through the examination. No criminal charges were ever filed. And he is still a client to this day.
Here’s the point. Just because a client walks into my office, looking as guilty as sin, does not mean that I turn them away at the door. Most accountants would have. Most accountants do. I’m a nice guy that believes in giving people a chance. This client recognized what he was doing wrong, corrected the problem, and has been on the straight and narrow ever since.
He says that because of me he got to raise his little girl rather than going to prison. If that isn’t the job of an accountant, I don’t know what is.
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Chris Amundson is the President of Accounting Solutions Ltd., a full service public accounting firm of Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents handling the bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation, and audit representation needs of Businesses, Estates, Trusts, and Upper Income Individuals.
August 5, 2015