When you picture an IRS audit, you probably imagine a giant government agency going after the "little guy:" An average American who just wants to live and work in peace. Sadly, many everyday Americans do get audited by the IRS, especially those trying to run a small business.
That being said, the Internal Revenue Service also goes after the "big guys" as well, including some of largest (American-based) companies in the world. Recently, the IRS notified Coca-Cola that the beverage giant allegedly owes approximately $3.3 billion in unpaid taxes - and that's before interest. The IRS bases its allegations on audits of tax years 2007-2009.
Coca-Cola's tax troubles are similar to those faced by Amazon.com and Microsoft. In short, the IRS is disputing taxes owed for profits earned in other countries. Taxes on foreign profits can be as high as 35 percent. Because the money isn't taxed until it's brought back to the U.S., however, companies often look for ways to keep that money abroad.
When the IRS goes after a wealthy individual or a successful company, its potential revenues (if successful) are huge. The downside, of course, is that wealthy individuals and companies have more resources with which to defend themselves in court.
If you consider yourself one of the "little guys," your may worry about the consequences of an IRS audit or similar action. Thankfully, high-quality legal help is available - and is more affordable than you might think. If you need assistance with an IRS matter, please seek the help of an experienced tax law attorney.