Horns are sounding, lights are flashing. T-Day is almost here. If you’re feeling like a rabbit in the high beams — because your records are in disarray or you don’t have money to pay the IRS — you’re probably wondering if it’s a good idea to file for an extension. The answer is yes. There is a longstanding myth that filing for an extension will attract the attention of IRS auditors. It’s not true, reports the Associated Press. In the past two years around 7 percent of all Form 1040 filers requested an extension. That adds up to 10 million returns, far too many for the IRS to audit. So go ahead and get an extension and relax — until the next deadline.
Take down those red flags. So what will attract the scrutiny of IRS auditors? The Wall Street Journal warns that people who make more than $10 million a year have a 1-in-10 chance of being audited. But if you’re in our tax bracket (think burritos and Miller High Life), experts say the brightest IRS red flag is big deductions, especially if you’re self-employed (uh-oh) and have a home office (yikes) and write off expenses for meals, entertainment and travel (like maybe that one-way flight to the Cayman Islands we’re thinking about).
The Big Business Administration? Maybe they should just go ahead and change the name, because evidence keeps piling up to suggest that Small Business Administration is a misnomer. A new report from the Government Accountability Office has revealed widespread fraud in the SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone program. The program is intended to direct government contracts to small businesses in low-income HUB zones. Instead many of the contracts go to large businesses posing as small ones. “The Small Business Administration repeatedly failed to verify paperwork and conduct audits to weed out sham firms,” says the GAO.
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss? President Obama’s pick to run the SBA is Karen Mills. We wondered before about her Main Street cred, given the fact that she’s a multimillionaire venture capitalist. And the more we learn, the more we wonder. Turns out she is also heir to the multibillion-dollar Tootsie Roll fortune. That’s the funny part (sort of). Not so funny: the venture capital industry is aiming to take a big bite of federal small-business contracts and now it has one of its own at the top.
The end times? “And many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” This, according to the Bible, is one of the signs that the end is near. Well, of course there are lots of loony financial experts out there and always have been (hello, CNBC). But this guy we found on YouTube stands out for his ludicrously off-kilter career advice, imparted with utter conviction. A few new-Depression tips from Hans J. Lysglimt: Collect and Sell Spare Parts, Become an Old-Fashioned Peddler and (our favorite) “Mine” Your Local Dumpster. Wake us up when the apocalypse is over.