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Tax Terms and Glossary: A

Abatement of Penalties - The IRS will allow you in certain circumstances to remove or abate a portion or all of your penalties and interest when the principal tax debt is resolved.
Ability To Pay – The principle that taxes should be differ based on an individual’s assets or income.
Accelerated depreciation – The method by which a company depreciates a fixed asset for financial and tax purposes. The primary methods are, the declining balance method, and the sum-of-the-year’s digits method. For tax purposes the allowable methods depend on the tax law that the business or person is subject to.
Accounting Methods - The primary methods of accounting are the cash method, and the accrual method. These are used to calculate how much income is taxable for the IRS.
Accounts Receivable – Transactions owed to a business from its customers. On the Balance sheet this is shown as an asset.
Accrual method (or accrual basis) – You record business income when a sale is made under the accrual method of accounting. This is recorded right away; even if you do not get paid right away. When you receive goods, or services, you record that as an expense immediately, even though you may not pay for them right away.
ACS High Dollar Unit - The IRS’s Automated Collections Systems that handles cases from $100,000 to $999,999. The IRS currently has two of these units. The wage and income division is in Buffalo, NY and the unit for small Business Self-Employed Division in Holtsville, NY.
Adjusted basis – The value of property adjusted for depreciation, as well as capital improvements.
Adjusted Gross Income – You gross income adjusted for personal exemptions, and deductions such as interest, and tax differed IRA contributions. You are taxed on your adjusted gross income.
Alternative minimum tax (AMT) – The alternative minimum tax is an additional income tax which some taxpayers have to pay.
Amended Return – A tax return filed on Form 1040x that has been changed from its original filing, often to reflect updated asset, expense, or other information to help reduce a tax debt.
Amortization – The process of reducing an amount over time. Common examples include house and car loans whose loans are amortized over a fixed period of time.
Amount Due - The money owed to the IRS by a taxpayer if the total tax due, is greater than their tax payments.
Appeal - The process of requesting additional review on an IRS ruling.
Applicable Federal Rates (AFRs) – The minimum interest rate on loans, and other transactions that are paid over a number of years, in order to avoid the IRS classifying it as income. If you do not charge these rates the IRS will impute the interest for you
Asset – Any item of monetary value owned by an individual or a business.
At-Risk Rules – Rules limiting the losses an investor can claim on their income taxes, as a result of a real estate transaction.
Audit – The evaluation of a taxpayers returns. The IRS does this to ensure that the items on the tax returns are an accurate reflection of the client’s income and expense documentation.
Automated Collection System – The IRS system which handles the Integrated Data Retrieval System’s (IDRS) cases of taxpayers with an outstanding balance, or missing filings. In layman’s terms, The ACS is a computerized network that will contact taxpayers who owe back taxes to the IRS.
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