IRS Plans to Use AI and Ramp Up Enforcement on Millionaires, Partnerships and Crypto

Recently, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel spoke of changes within the IRS, announcing several initiatives focusing on high-income earners and partnerships, as well as integrating the use of AI within the agency’s work. According to the commissioner, the initiatives were made possible by additional IRS funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act. Without the funding from this bill, the agency would not have the budget to implement these ramp-ups in enforcement.

Millionaires with Tax Debt

The new initiative on millionaires is not just because they are high-earning taxpayers; it will focus on those with open tax debt. Currently, the IRS has identified approximately 1,600 millionaires who are in debt to the IRS for $250,000 or more. The agency plans to designate agents to focus on these high-impact collection cases. A prior campaign resulted in a collection of more than $38 million in tax debt.

High-Income Earners with Foreign Bank Accounts

Another new initiative focusing on high-earning taxpayers includes ramped-up inspection for those who have foreign bank accounts and use them to evade taxes.

By law, every U.S. resident who has a financial interest in or control over a foreign financial account must disclose this information if he or she had $10,000 or more at any point in the year by filing an FBAR.

The IRS conducted an analysis and identified potentially hundreds of taxpayers who should be filing an FBAR and are not, with average balances of more than $1 million. The most egregious cases are planned to be audited in fiscal year 2024.

Partnerships and Corporations

Starting in 2021, the IRS began the initial stages of a new compliance program focusing on complex partnership tax returns. Now, the IRS is set to expand this initiative over more partnerships.

In total, the IRS has plans to open examinations on the 75 biggest U.S. partnerships. “Biggest” means these businesses have, on average, more than $10 billion in assets, so it’s safe to say small and medium size businesses won’t be affected.

Additionally, the IRS will be looking into smaller (but albeit still large) partnerships with more than $10 million in total assets that have balance sheet mismatches. The focus is on partnerships with balance sheet discrepancies where the prior year’s ending balance sheet is not equal to the next year’s opening balance sheet without any explanation. The IRS uses this as a red flag because they have found through full inspections that balance sheet issues are often the proverbial canary in the coal mine for other areas of non-compliance.

Once again, the focus will be on larger partnerships with balance sheet mismatches. The agency plans to send notices to approximately 500 partnerships. Depending on the initial follow-up, an audit may result.

Digital Assets, Including Crypto

The IRS plans to continue its virtual currency compliance campaign, educating taxpayers on the rules, regulations, and reporting obligations surrounding cryptocurrencies. The rules around the taxation of digital assets have evolved in recent years, and more and more taxpayers are invested in these types of assets.

The IRS subpoenaed transaction information from centralized exchanges and found that potentially an estimated 75 percent of taxpayers involved in crypto are non-compliant, some as a form of tax evasion and others simply from ignorance. In any case, the IRS plans to ramp up digital asset enforcement this coming year.

Artificial Intelligence

Lastly, the IRS is looking to utilize artificial intelligence to help agents do their job more effectively. The IRS is particularly interested in how AI can help flag tax returns for audit in important areas.

The agency plans to invest in the latest analytic solutions that can detect patterns, trends, and activities that are typically linked to tax evasion, thereby freeing up employees to focus on other matters.


Overall, the IRS’s focus is on high-income, tax-debt-burdened individuals, the largest partnerships, and sizable crypto players. This means that these enforcement campaigns shouldn’t have much of an impact on the average taxpayer. However, the growing use of AI will impact everyone from top to bottom.

Common Financial Reporting Mistakes and How to Correct Them

With accounting fraud and financial reporting mistakes creating a lack of confidence, understanding how financial reporting mistakes occur and are detected is an important topic. According to the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the first nine months of 2018 saw 8.8 percent more accounting fraud enforcement action cases versus 2017.

Controls are procedures implemented to lower the chance of financial reporting issues. While these mechanisms are meant to prevent an overload of problems, they are not always foolproof. Corporations also are required to show that sufficient financial oversight is in place for financial records and assets by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. There are two types of controls: preventive and detective.

As the name implies, preventive controls are devised to avert mistakes before they happen. Methods include ongoing training, worker evaluations, and mandating different layers of authorization for transactions.

Detective methods look at the granular accounting steps. Having internal and external audits performed and comparing real-world activity against what’s been budgeted or forecasted are two ways to implement this approach. However, performing account reconciliation where the business’ financial data is compared against third-party documentation can provide near real-time insight into what is actually occurring. This includes analyzing checks and cash the business has collected and documented on their books but that may not be reflected on bank statements. Another factor in the reconciliation process is checks the company has sent out that have not been processed by the business’ vendors, etc.

Since detective controls alert companies to errors after the fact, it is important that they are conducted in a timely manner – daily, monthly, quarterly, or annually. If there’s a discrepancy between the company’s ending cash balance and the bank’s monthly statement, there might be differing balances. This can be due to the financial institution’s service fees and checks taken into account by the business that aren’t yet reflected on the financial institution’s statement.  However, other cases of discrepancies could point to signs of fraud. 

According to the University of California Los Angeles, there are many ways to split tasks. Doing this is integral to successful mitigation of errors and unauthorized behavior because it deters the likelihood of multiple workers collaborating. Specifically, when it comes to authorizations, reconciliations, and responsibility for the assets, it is a high priority for businesses to break tasks up among multiple workers.

Examples include dividing the duties between opening the mail/preparing a list of checks to review and the individual who deposits the checks. The individual who oversees accounts receivables should be separate from the person who creates a list of checks received. It’s not advisable for a sole employee to initiate, approve, and record a transaction. Similarly, reconciling balances, handling assets, and reviewing reports should not be done by a single employee. A minimum of two individuals should be available to handle any transaction.

While the most diligent accounting professional has made a mistake from time to time, learning how to identify financial reporting mistakes can reduce the likelihood of even rare mistakes being unknowingly shared with others.


Wrong Numbers: The Risks of Inaccurate Financial Statements

Work and Social Security Benefits

You can work and still receive Social Security benefits, but how much you receive depends on a number of factors.

First, if you do plan to continue working after becoming eligible to receive benefits, you might consider delaying filing for benefits for as long as possible. That’s because the earlier you begin drawing benefits, the lower the amount you will receive. In fact, your monthly payout will be permanently reduced from what you’ll receive if you wait until full retirement age (FRA).

Your FRA depends on the year you were born (note that for people born on Jan. 1 of any year, they should refer to the previous year):

  • Born 1943-1954: full retirement age is 66
  • Born in 1955: 66 plus two months
  • Born in 1956: 66 plus four months
  • Born in 1957: 66 plus six months
  • Born in 1958: 66 plus eight months
  • Born in 1959: 66 plus 10 months
  • Born in 1960 or later: 67

Benefit Reduction Due to Work

If you are working and begin drawing benefits before your full retirement age, your payout could be further reduced if you earn more than the prescribed income limit. In 2023, the annual earnings limit is $21,240. In this scenario, Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 in excess of the limit.

Benefit Reduction in Your FRA Year

The benefit reduction amount and the earned income limit both change the year you reach FRA. In 2023, the earned income limit is $56,520. In this year only, the reduction is adjusted to $1 for every $3 in excess of $56,520, but only up until the month you reach FRA. After that, there will no longer be a reduction due to work income.

In the first full month after your FRA, Social Security will begin paying out your total eligible amount (which depends on the age you started drawing benefits) for any whole month after FRA, regardless of how much more you earn that year (and every year thereafter). In other words, from that point on, you will receive the full amount you were eligible for at the age you began drawing benefits.

You might wonder if you will ever receive the money that was held back due to your excess income. The answer is yes. Starting the following January, after you turn full retirement age, your Social Security benefit will increase to reflect those previously lost benefits.

Work Advantages

If working while drawing Social Security seems like a bad idea, consider that you could benefit from a couple of advantages. First, the automatic benefit reductions that occur while you’re working will help reduce your income tax liability for those years. Second, your work income could increase your permanent Social Security payout if any or all of those years before FRA are among your 35 highest-earning years. As you continue to pay FICA taxes on your work income, the benefit is recalculated every year. This is a way to increase your lifetime benefit if you begin drawing Social Security early.

Work Until Age 70

The most strategic way to earn the highest possible lifetime benefit from Social Security is to keep working and delay drawing Social Security benefits until age 70. This is because during the years between your official FRA and the month you turn 70, you can earn additional credits that reward you for delaying. This will permanently bump up your payout.

If You Go Back to Work

Also, be aware that if you’ve already started drawing Social Security benefits but wish you hadn’t, you can cancel your application as long as you do so in the first 12 months. Note that you are required to pay back all of the money you received from Social Security, including any spousal benefit that was based on your earnings record and all Medicare premiums that were deducted from your benefits. However, doing so could reset your benefit to a higher amount when you reapply later – if your subsequent annual income counts among your highest 35 years of earnings.

If you have already reached your full retirement age (but have not yet turned age 70), you no longer have the option cancel your application. However, you can have your Social Security benefit suspended, which might reduce your tax bill while you continue working.

How to Organize Your Tax Documents

Since tax time isn’t until next April, organizing your documents right about now might not be top of mind or even something you want to do. However, if you don’t want to have to scramble come springtime, you might want to organize your paperwork all year long. Here’s why: It expedites the process when you really do have to begin your tax prep, and it’s actually pretty easy. Start with simple categories (listed below), grab some folders, and put them in a filing cabinet – or any safe place. This way, when tax time comes around, you’ll be ready.


This is pretty obvious, but it’s not just limited to your paycheck, W-2 forms, or 1099s. You’ll also want to keep jury duty records, income and expenses from a hobby (or side hustle), prizes and awards (monetary), health care reimbursements, as well as alimony you received. If you earned money doing something, keep the receipts and put them in this folder.


First, make a copy of the state taxes for your vehicles. Even if you don’t own your own business, make sure you keep track of miles driven, parking, and tolls. (Of course, if you have a company, you’re already doing this.) Next, keep all your receipts for gas, car washes, maintenance, etc., so you can claim these.


Be sure to keep receipts for childcare. Why? You can get a credit that will cover up to 35 percent of childcare expenses, up to $3,000 for a child under 13, or $6,000 for two or more qualifying children. Furthermore, your employer may offer a plan that excludes up to $5,000 from your taxable wages for qualified childcare expenses. In addition to these costs, make sure you keep a record of child and caregiver tax ID numbers and/or Social Security numbers. You’ll need them.


Keep these receipts for all out-of-pocket procedures. You know there will be some. In fact, if your total annual medical expenses are greater than 7.5 percent of your AGI (adjusted gross income), you can claim the deduction. Hang on to those precious receipts.


This is an important category. First, make sure you have all the necessary documents for your 401k, IRA, etc. But that’s not all. Do you have a college fund? Any other investments? If you have any doubt about something, don’t throw it away. Keep it.

Real Estate

Whether you own one home or many, make sure you keep your 1098, which is your mortgage interest statement. Your closing statement, property taxes, and home improvement receipts are also important papers to safeguard.


Did you give to a friend’s kid’s band fund? Give any clothes away to Goodwill? Donate to your alma mater? Wherever you’ve made contributions, document it. It’ll come in handy.


This is the category for the things that don’t fit neatly into any of the above categories. If you have questions about any of your receipts, check out this guide.

Admittedly, keeping track of important tax documents and receipts isn’t the easiest thing to do – or the most fun. But if you designate categories, slow down and take time to stash important papers away, you’ll be way ahead next spring.


Tax Documents Checklist – Organize Your Papers,you%20can%20claim%20the%20deduction.

Securing Your Identity: The Role of Decentralized Identity Systems in Data Breach Prevention

Data breaches have been on the rise as cybercriminals keep coming up with new ways to steal user-sensitive information. Just in the second quarter of 2023, 110.8 million user accounts were breached. Of these accounts, 49.8 million were from the United States, accounting for 45 percent of the global figure. However, amid the rising threats, a revolutionary concept known as decentralized identity systems has created a solution to reduce data breach cases.

Data Breaches and the Current State of Identity Management

A data breach happens when unauthorized individuals or entities gain access to sensitive information, often for malicious purposes. These breaches can happen to anyone, from individuals to large corporations, and they come with severe consequences that could include financial losses, reputation damage, and identity theft.

The current identity systems are centralized and have inherent vulnerabilities and limitations. These centralized identity systems involve a central authority, such as a government agency or a corporation, storing and managing individuals’ personal information. This means that if a hacker breaches the central authority’s security, he or she gains access to a vast amount of sensitive data.

Furthermore, since the centralized systems often collect extensive personal information, the practice raises concerns about data privacy. The entities storing user data predominantly control and monetize it, which has led to discomfort and distrust among users.

The centralized systems also create a fragmented user experience. This is because different platforms, such as social media, online retailers, news websites, etc., require users to create accounts. Users then must juggle multiple usernames, passwords, and data formats, complicating the digital experience. Businesses also incur high costs associated with ensuring secure systems, the latest infrastructure, and compliance.

How Decentralized Identity Systems Can Help Prevent Data Breaches

Decentralized identity systems are an alternative to centralized identity management. These systems put individuals in control of their own digital identities. The decentralized identity systems are enabled by technologies such as Web3, a concept based on a trust framework for identity management. Web3 evolution has led to decentralized identifiers, and this allows for secure management of user data and authentication through blockchain wallets.

Using blockchain technology ensures the security and immutability of identity data. Once information is added to the blockchain, it cannot be altered or deleted without the user’s consent.

However, they allow users to have control over their identity information. Users choose what data to share and with whom, enhancing privacy and security. There is no need for third parties to verify user identity.

Since users store data on their devices or a location they choose, it eliminates single points of failure. Instead of a centralized authority, identity data is distributed across a decentralized network of nodes. Additionally, these systems use advanced cryptographic keys, allowing only the user to access their data.

Decentralized identity systems are already making an impact in various industries, such as healthcare, financial services, and government services. The security benefits of decentralized identity include:

  • Enhanced Security

Decentralized identity systems offer robust security measures. With data stored on a blockchain, it becomes exceedingly difficult for hackers to breach the system. Even if one node is compromised, the decentralized nature of the network ensures that other nodes maintain the integrity of the data.

  • Privacy Control

Users regain control over their personal information. They decide what data to share and retain the ability to revoke access at any time. This puts an end to excessive data collection by corporations and governments.

  • Reduced Identity Theft and Fraud

Decentralized identity systems make it incredibly challenging for fraudsters to impersonate individuals or access their data. This significantly reduces the risk of identity theft and related fraudulent activities.

  • New Economic Models
    Decentralized identity models can create new economic models where consumers are awarded when they choose to share their data with service providers.

While decentralized identity systems offer promising solutions, they are not without challenges. The widespread adoption of decentralized identity systems presents scalability challenges. Another challenge is usability, as complexity can deter individuals and businesses from embracing this technology. The need for a regulatory framework is another challenge, as it is necessary to address factors related to legal and compliance.


Decentralized identity systems offer hope in an age where data breaches are a constant threat. These systems can revolutionize how users secure their digital identities by putting control back into individuals’ hands. While challenges exist, the benefits of enhanced security, privacy control, and reduced fraud make decentralized identity systems a promising solution in the ongoing battle against data breaches.

Sanctioning Terrorist Activities by Iran, Accelerating Disaster Assistance and Expanding Healthcare Opportunities for Native Americans

MAHSA Act (HR 589) – The Mahsa Amini Human Rights and Security Accountability (MAHSA) Act is a bipartisan bill that was introduced on Jan. 27 by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). The purpose of this bill is to impose sanctions on the leaders of Iran for supporting human rights abuses and terrorism. The sanctions block both property and visas owned by certain foreign individuals and entities affiliated with Iran. The bill passed in the House on Sept. 12 and currently resides in the Senate.

Fight CRIME Act (HR 3152) – This bipartisan bill was introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) on May 9. It imposes visa- and property-blocking sanctions specific to Iran’s missile-related activities, including acquiring, developing, transporting, or deploying missiles or related items, such as drone technologies. These sanctions also may be imposed on adult family members of people directly involved, as well as foreign individuals and entities that engage in transactions and knowingly provide support for the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). This legislation was passed in the House on Sept.12 and is under consideration in the Senate.

Disaster Assistance Simplification Act (S 1528) – This bipartisan bill aims to facilitate streamlined information sharing among federal disaster assistance agencies, accelerate life-saving assistance to disaster survivors, and expedite the ability for communities to recover from disasters, as well as other purposes. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on May 10 and was passed in the Senate on July 27. It is presently under review in the House.

Tribal Trust Land Homeownership Act of 2023 (S 70) – Introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) on Jan. 25, this bill mandates that the Bureau of Indian Affairs expedite processing and completion of residential and business mortgage applications within certain deadlines (e.g., provide approval or disapproval within 20 or 30 days, depending on the type of application). The bipartisan bill passed in the Senate on July 18 and is currently under consideration in the House.

Urban Indian Health Confer Act (S 460) – This Act, introduced by Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) on Feb. 15, passed in the Senate on July 18 and is currently in the House. Its purpose is to expand the requirements of the Indian Health Service (IHS) on matters relating to both American Indians and Alaskan Natives. At present, the IHS is required to confer only with urban Indian organizations. However, this new bill would mandate that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ensure that the IHS and other agencies consult on matters related to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, as well as other healthcare provisions for Native Americans. The Act passed in the Senate on July 26 and has been forwarded to the House.

FEND Off Fentanyl Act (S 1271) – The objective of this bill is to impose sanctions on individuals, cartels and transnational criminal organizations involved in trafficking illicit fentanyl and related products. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) on April 25 and was assigned to the committee for review on June 21. This bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by 32 Republicans, 32 Democrats and two Independents. It has a high probability of being passed by both houses and enacted by the president.

Understanding Mark-to-Market

The term mark-to-market is an important phrase in corporate finance that has many nuances and industry-specific uses. Mark-to-market is a corporate finance term that provides businesses with a way to evaluate a holding’s fair value for both assets and liabilities. Since values can change over time, this gives a rational assessment of a business’ present fiscal circumstances based on the latest market climate.

When it comes to securities, an investment that is mark-to-market shows its current value. It’s a way to look at how much a business might get if it sells assets under current market conditions. This measurement is opposed to historical cost accounting, which keeps the asset’s value according to the asset’s price when first purchased.  

When a business prepares its balance sheet, some assets will be recorded at their historical cost or original purchase price, while others will need to reflect current market value. One type of asset that needs to be marked down is accounts receivable. If a business permits a 5 percent or 10 percent discount to collect on those to generate cash flow, it needs to reduce that item’s value via an adjustment for doubtful accounts or similar terms.   

One important consideration is how mark-to-market is different from impairment. Since retailers or manufacturers store most of their operation’s values in property, plant, and equipment (PPE), along with accounts receivable, such assets are documented at historical cost. If the assets lose value due to obsolescence, theft, damage in transit, a natural disaster, or uncollected accounts receivables, they would be impaired.

When it comes to derivatives that businesses use, mark-to-market assessment may be needed, according to ASC 815-30 for a cash flow hedge or ASC 815-35 for a net investment hedge of a foreign operation. Specifically, whatever is “excluded from the assessment of effectiveness” is attributed to earnings via a mark-to-market procedure or through amortization.

Dissecting Derivatives

A derivative, according to Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 815-10-15-83, is a contract that derives its value based on the underlying variable. Examples of underlying variables include commodities, indexes, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of an event (natural disaster). These types of contracts can be used to hedge or preserve the owner’s ability to buy the underlying at the agreed-upon price, especially if it increases in the future. Other uses include speculating on the movement of stock prices or engineering financing arrangements. 

A derivative is defined as a financial instrument or other contract that has all of the following characteristics:

  1. The underlying, which is either the price of an individual or the index of a commodity, security, interest rate, exchange rate, etc., is one-half of how a derivative contract is settled.
  2. The other half is a contract having either a notional amount (how much money it controls) or a payment provision. Notional amounts are characteristics of calls, futures contracts, and interest rate swap contracts. A payment provision may take the form of a payment being made in the case of a natural disaster breaching a financial damage threshold or if a commodity or interest rate index reaches or breaches a specified threshold.       
  3. The next requirement to be considered a derivative is the contract for the underlying has “an initial net investment” of a nominal price compared to a near identical financial product that would obtain the same financial results due to the same market action. 
  4. The final attribute necessary for a contract to be considered a derivative is that it’s subject to “net settlement.” This means that when the contract has matured, it’s able to be settled via cash, as opposed to physical delivery of the asset. As long as it can be settled through one of the following methods, it’s considered a derivative: 1. specified in the contract; 2. through a market mechanism; 3. an asset or derivative contract easily able to be transformed to cash.


It’s important to factor in periods of high volatility or when there are illiquid markets or few buyers and sellers of investments; what the market prices applicable to investments doesn’t always give a true reflection of an asset’s price. One recent example was when the market for mortgage-backed securities during the 2008-2009 crisis evaporated, the market gave an inaccurate value of the securities.

Businesses that navigate the intricacies of when and how to use mark-to-market assessments are using an important tool to help keep their books in order.