Entrepreneur or Business Owner?

Okay, you’re self-employed. You’re a business owner, but are you an entrepreneur? Being self-employed and a business owner makes you an entrepreneur, right? Wrong. The difference in the two are like saying your daughter’s kitten is the same as a jaguar.

Business owners consider themselves successful if their enterprise achieves modest growth each year. They believe a 10% over last year increase to be solid growth. Entrepreneurs will be leveraging the business in new directions to double and triple their income. Hiring an additional staff person, expanding existing product lines, and earning a comfortable living are not the essence of being an entrepreneur. True entrepreneurship does everything a business owner does and is never satisfied with a business owner’s modus operandi.

Entrepreneurs are like the hunting falcon; they are always searching for the next kill. When the prey is spotted, they stop circling and swoop in on the opportunity. They will evaluate and if they deem it a good fit, they will commence implementation, adjusting as they go. This is not the “next shiny object syndrome” suffered by some who cannot maintain focus. An entrepreneur discovers, evaluates, tests, and then either implements or abandons. This is the Entrepreneurial Method (EM). She is not distracted by the next shiny thing that catches her eye without completing the EM on the current undertaking.

My firm was a traditional CPA/EA firm for many years. We became frustrated with the lack of research materials, educational opportunities, and inability to find like-minded practitioners. This led to the creation of the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers. Today, we have thousands of practitioners and members throughout the USA who study our courses, attend our seminars and webinars, and meet like-minded colleagues at our many events.

Currently, we are working on a new activity that will integrate with tax problem resolution and could be integrated into a tax problem resolution practice. We have completed the discovery step and are presently evaluating. When this process and the testing are complete we will invite ASTPS members to participate.

As you proceed on your entrepreneurial journey, look for opportunities to catapult your practice to bigger and better ambitions. If you discover a new enterprise, approach, or endeavor we will be available to help you evaluate and implement it. If desired and appropriate, we will assist you in bringing it to the membership.

Breakthroughs come from unconventional views of business; look at your business as an entrepreneur, not just as a business owner.

By: Lawrence Lawler, CPA, EA, CTRS

Per the TIGTA summary: Revenue Officers make levy determinations of Social Security benefits on a case-by-case basis and exercise judgment in making the determination to levy. While there are special procedures and thresholds for levying individual retirement accounts and 401(k) retirement accounts, there are no special considerations or procedures for Revenue Officers when levying Social Security benefits.

The TIGTA audit found that R.O.s generally follow the general IRS rules in applying Social Security levies. However, for 15 percent of the cases sampled Revenue Officers levied Social Security benefits that likely caused or exacerbated taxpayer(s) economic hardship. It appears the R.O. may be giving equal consideration to non-legal considerations (such as whether taxpayers return revenue officers’ telephone calls) with the legal requirement to release the levy when the levy is creating an economic hardship.

In 28 percent of the sampled cases, R.O.s used the wrong form to levy Social Security benefits resulting in failure to consider allowable exemption amounts before applying the levy. Of these cases, 6 percent involved taxpayers who suffered greater Social Security levies than allowed by law.

Page 22 of the report includes a chart showing TIGTA’s analytical approach. The chart illustrates 2 different taxpayer scenarios where each taxpayer is financially upside down by more than $1,000 per month. Yet, the R.O. levied over $800 for one taxpayer and over $1,000 for the other.

TIGTA made several recommendations that will serve taxpayers well and the IRS has agreed to implement most of them. Therefore, as a taxpayer representative it is imperative to carefully review all levies on taxpayer income, especially Social Security. If you want to read the entire report, it is posted on TIGTA’s website at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2016reports/201630043fr.pdf.

by: Lawrence Lawler, CPA, EA, CTRS