If you are working in the entertainment industry, the IRS has your tax returns in its sights.
In a new “Entertainment Audit Technique Guide,” the IRS recently instructed its auditors to closely examine tax returns from those in the entertainment business. Auditors will be scrutinizing deductions claimed on tax returns for expenses which, according to the guide, entertainers have historically been “aggressive or abusive” in taking.
The IRS wants to reign in these perceived industry norms to ensure that the entertainers are legitimately entitled to the claimed deductions. In tax parlance, the expenses giving rise to deductions must be “ordinary and necessary.” As the guide puts it, “The distinction between ordinary/necessary and extravagant must be more clearly drawn.”
Those in the entertainment business can include, but are not limited to, comedians, musicians, singers, songwriters, actors, producers and those involved behind the scenes. The IRS wants to see that the deductions entertainers are taking are substantiated with legitimate receipts and records, and that the expenses truly are business-related (i.e. “necessary”).