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Best Columbus ERC Audit Lawyers?

Navigating ERC Audits: Your Guide to the Best Columbus Lawyers

What Is an ERC Audit?

First things first, let’s cover the basics. An ERC audit is when the IRS examines your business’s eligibility for the Employee Retention Credit. Why? To ensure you calculated everything correctly – and didn’t claim more than you were entitled to.The IRS has a few reasons for cracking down on ERC claims. One, the credit was a massive pandemic relief program – meaning billions of dollars were paid out. Two, there’s been a rise in third-party “ERC mills” making questionable claims on businesses’ behalf. So, if you get that dreaded audit notice, don’t take it lightly. The IRS could disallow part – or all – of your ERC claim, leaving you on the hook for repayment (plus interest and penalties). That’s a financial hit no business wants.But with an elite Columbus law firm specializing in ERC audits, you can fight back. A skilled attorney will:

  • Gather rock-solid documentation proving your eligibility
  • Handle all communication and negotiations with the IRS
  • Ensure you meet critical deadlines and requirements
  • Leverage in-depth knowledge of ERC rules and case law
  • Explore all options for appealing unfair determinations

It’s simple. The right lawyer can make all the difference in protecting your ERC claim – and your bottom line.

Why Hire a Columbus ERC Audit Lawyer?

Sure, you could try handling an ERC audit yourself. But is that really a risk you want to take? These audits are incredibly complex, document-intensive – and the stakes are sky-high. A single miscalculation or missed deadline could derail your entire case. And if the IRS rules against you? You’ll be stuck paying back those credits (plus potential penalties and interest).That’s why partnering with an elite Columbus law firm is critical. These attorneys specialize in ERC audits – it’s all they do.

They have the expertise to:

  • Ensure you claimed the proper credit amount
  • Compile thorough documentation substantiating your eligibility
  • Craft airtight legal arguments defending your position
  • Identify potential red flags before the IRS does
  • Leverage deep knowledge of the latest ERC rules and guidance

When so much is on the line, can you really afford not to have that level of legal firepower in your corner?

Choosing the Right Columbus ERC Audit Lawyer

Not all law firms are created equal when it comes to handling ERC audits. You’ll want to be extremely selective, ensuring your attorneys have:

1. Extensive ERC Experience

This isn’t the time for on-the-job training. Your lawyers need to have successfully navigated countless ERC audits and appeals. Look for firms specializing exclusively in ERC and other COVID-19 relief programs.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

2. Proven Track Record

Don’t just take their word for it – ask about their win rate in ERC cases. How many audits have they handled? What were the outcomes? The more experience, the better.

3. In-Depth Tax Expertise

ERC audits are highly technical tax matters. Your legal team must include tax attorneys and CPAs with specialized knowledge in this area. No exceptions.

4. Availability and Responsiveness

When the IRS comes calling, you need a firm that’s ready to jump into action immediately. Constant communication and rapid response times are non-negotiable.

5. Stellar Reputation

In the legal world, reputation is everything. Research reviews, ratings, and testimonials to gauge the firm’s professionalism and client satisfaction record.

6. Comprehensive Services

From audit representation to appeals and litigation, your law firm should offer full-service ERC support. You don’t want to have to switch firms midstream.

What to Expect During an ERC Audit

Every ERC audit is unique, but most follow a similar process. Knowing what to expect can help reduce stress and ensure you’re fully prepared.

The Audit Notice

It all starts with a letter from the IRS notifying you that your business has been selected for an ERC audit. This notice will outline:

  • The tax periods under review
  • The specific issues being examined
  • Instructions for providing requested documentation
  • Deadlines for your initial response

Don’t ignore this notice! Missing the response window could automatically disqualify your ERC claim.

Information Document Requests (IDRs)

Next, you’ll receive one or more Information Document Requests (IDRs) from the auditor. These IDRs detail all the records and supporting evidence you need to provide, such as:

  • Payroll data showing wages paid to employees
  • Financial statements reflecting gross receipts declines
  • Copies of orders from government authorities restricting operations
  • Health plan records and expense allocations
  • Calculations detailing your claimed credit amounts

Responding thoroughly – and promptly – is crucial. Incomplete or late submissions could be viewed as a lack of cooperation.

The Auditor’s Review

Once you’ve submitted the requested documentation, the auditor will carefully review everything to assess your eligibility for the ERC. This process can take weeks or months. During this time, the auditor may follow up with additional IDRs requesting clarification or supplemental records. They may also request to interview company representatives with direct knowledge of your operations and workforce during the covered periods.

Potential Outcomes

After their comprehensive review, the auditor will issue a preliminary report outlining their findings and position on your ERC claim. The potential outcomes include:

  • No Changes: Your eligibility and credit calculations are accepted as filed.
  • Partial Allowance: Only certain portions of your claim are approved.
  • Full Disallowance: The IRS deems you ineligible and rejects your entire claim.

If the auditor proposes partial or full disallowance, you have options – starting with an appeal.

The Appeals Process

If you disagree with the auditor’s determination, you can file an appeal through the IRS Office of Appeals. This is your opportunity to present further evidence and legal arguments supporting your position. Having a skilled Columbus ERC audit lawyer at this stage is invaluable. They can:

  • Pinpoint flaws or errors in the auditor’s reasoning
  • Highlight key documentation the auditor may have overlooked
  • Craft persuasive legal briefs citing relevant case law and guidance
  • Negotiate with IRS appeals officers to reach a favorable resolution

If the appeals process fails to resolve the dispute, your final recourse may be litigation in U.S. Tax Court.

Common ERC Audit Triggers

While the IRS insists it isn’t specifically targeting any businesses or industries, certain factors can increase your audit risk for the ERC. These include:

1. Third-Party Promoters

The IRS has repeatedly warned about unscrupulous “ERC mills” making inflated, unsupported claims on businesses’ behalf – often for a hefty contingency fee. If you worked with one of these outfits, expect heightened scrutiny.

2. Mathematical Errors

Calculation mistakes, typos, or figures that don’t align with your historical payroll and financial data can raise red flags for auditors.

3. Lack of Documentation

Failing to maintain thorough, organized records supporting your eligibility is a surefire way to pique the IRS’s interest – and suspicion.

4. Questionable Expenses Claimed

If the wages or health plan costs included in your ERC calculations seem disproportionate or unsubstantiated, that could trigger an audit.

5. Significant Credit Amounts

The larger your claimed ERC, the higher your perceived audit risk. Multimillion-dollar credits are virtually guaranteed to face intense scrutiny.

6. Your Industry

While the IRS denies industry-specific targeting, businesses in sectors like hospitality and food service have anecdotally reported higher audit rates.The bottom line? Inaccurate, sloppy, or questionable claims have a much higher chance of catching the IRS’s attention – and their auditors’.

Penalties for ERC Noncompliance

If the IRS ultimately rejects part or all of your ERC claim after all appeals are exhausted, you could face steep financial penalties beyond just repaying the disallowed credits, including:

Erroneous Claim Penalties

The IRS can assess a 20% penalty on any excessive portion of your ERC claim due to negligence or disregard of rules and regulations. This penalty jumps to 40% if the IRS deems your claim was inflated due to fraud.

Failure to Pay Penalties

If you can’t immediately repay the disallowed credits, additional penalties of 0.5% – 1% of the unpaid balance will accrue each month until paid in full.

Interest Charges

On top of penalties, you’ll also owe interest on any unpaid ERC amounts dating back to when you originally claimed the credits.These costs can add up quickly, compounding the financial hit to your business. Having a seasoned Columbus lawyer in your corner is the best way to mitigate – or avoid – these penalties entirely.

How to Prepare for an ERC Audit

The key to successfully defending your ERC claim? Preparation. By taking proactive steps now, you can streamline the audit process later.

1. Maintain Immaculate Records

From day one of claiming the ERC, you should have been diligently documenting everything:

  • Copies of orders restricting your operations
  • Payroll journals showing wages paid to employees
  • Quarterly sales reports reflecting gross receipts declines
  • Health insurance invoices and plan documents
  • Contemporaneous notes about COVID’s impact on your workforce

Keeping these records organized and readily accessible will save you a massive headache if audited.

2. Review Your Eligibility

Before an audit, it’s wise to re-evaluate whether your business actually met all the ERC eligibility requirements, such as:

  • Being an eligible employer
  • Experiencing a full or partial suspension of operations
  • Sustaining a significant decline in gross receipts
  • Properly calculating qualified wages and health plan expenses

An experienced Columbus lawyer can perform this compliance check, identifying potential weaknesses before the IRS does.

3. Recalculate Your Credit

Double-checking your original ERC calculations is a must. Even minor computational errors can jeopardize your entire claim.Your legal team should recreate your credit worksheets from scratch, ensuring:

  • Qualified wage amounts were properly determined
  • Gross receipts reductions were accurately measured
  • Allocated health plan costs were reasonable and substantiated
  • The final credit claimed strictly followed all ERC rules

Having an independent review can provide extra assurance – and foresight of potential audit issues.

4. Consult a Columbus ERC Attorney

The single best way to prepare for an ERC audit? Hire a Columbus lawyer with extensive experience in this area. An elite firm can:

  • Comprehensively assess your audit-readiness
  • Remedy any documentation deficiencies
  • Bolster your supporting evidence
  • Ensure you understand the audit process
  • Develop a robust legal strategy from day one

With the right preparation and legal counsel, you can maximize your chances of a favorable audit outcome.

ERC Audit Defense: A Case Study

To illustrate the value of partnering with a top-tier Columbus ERC audit law firm, let’s look at a hypothetical example.

The Client: Main Street Diner

Main Street Diner is a family-owned restaurant that has been a fixture in downtown Columbus for over 50 years. Like many businesses, they were devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and related government restrictions. At the height of the crisis in 2020, Main Street was forced to close its doors entirely for months. Even after reopening, they faced strict capacity limits that slashed revenues by over 70%. To keep their multigenerational legacy afloat, Main Street claimed the Employee Retention Credit for both 2020 and 2021 – a total credit amount exceeding $500,000.

The Audit and Legal Response

In late 2022, Main Street received an IRS notice informing them they had been selected for an ERC audit. Recognizing the stakes involved, they immediately retained a premier Columbus law firm specializing in ERC cases: Spodek Law Group.Spodek’s attorneys sprang into action, taking these critical steps:

  1. Gathered Comprehensive Documentation: Payroll records, quarterly sales reports, copies of state and local orders restricting dine-in service, health plan invoices, and detailed credit calculations.
  2. Conducted an Independent Eligibility Review: Confirming Main Street met all requirements as an eligible employer forced to fully suspend operations and sustain a significant gross receipts decline.
  3. Prepared a Meticulous Legal Response: Drafting a comprehensive audit file that cited relevant ERC guidance, laid out the timeline of Main Street’s COVID-19 disruptions, and cross-referenced all supporting evidence.
  4. Participated in Virtual Audit Meetings: Spodek’s attorneys directly engaged with IRS auditors, providing explanations, addressing concerns, and reiterating Main Street’s full compliance.
  5. Explored All Resolution Options: While staunchly defending Main Street’s position, Spodek’s team also prepared appeal strategies in case of an unfavorable initial determination.

The Successful Outcome

After a thorough six-month review, the IRS auditors accepted Main Street Diner’s ERC claim in its entirety – allowing them to keep every penny of their $500,000+ credits. In their official report, the auditors cited the “comprehensive documentation” and “well-reasoned legal arguments” provided by Spodek Law Group as key factors supporting Main Street’s eligibility. For the multi-generational family business, this outcome was a massive relief – securing their financial future and allowing them to continue serving the Columbus community for decades to come. This case study underscores the immense value of partnering with a elite Columbus law firm for your ERC audit. With adequate preparation, meticulous documentation, and aggressive legal advocacy, you can protect your ERC claim – and your business’s bottom line.

Your ERC Audit Strategy Starts Now

There’s no sugar-coating it: an ERC audit from the IRS is a massive deal with huge financial implications for your business. But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. By taking proactive steps and aligning yourself with the right legal team, you can dramatically improve your odds of a successful outcome.

A premier Columbus law firm like Spodek Law Group can be your biggest asset, providing:

  • In-depth expertise with the complex ERC rules and calculations
  • Proven strategies for compiling comprehensive supporting evidence
  • Skilled legal writing to craft persuasive audit responses and appeals
  • Aggressive representation before IRS auditors and appeals officers
  • Extensive experience defending ERC audits across the nation

When so much is at stake for your business, can you really afford to go it alone? The right Columbus lawyer can mean the difference between losing your entire ERC claim – or retaining those vital credits.

So if that audit notice arrives, don’t panic. Get prepared, get represented – and get ready to fight for every dollar you’re owed. Your business’s future may depend on it.

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