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Well, first of all, you can't omit the Schedule C's. It isn't just the "botXXXXX XXXXXne" that determines your filing requirements; you have gross receipts in an active trade or business & that alone would require you to file.
That said, you are worrying needlessly.
Those relatively small losses in & of themselves are not going to trigger an audit.
Things like excessive travel & entertainment when compared to your gross receipts would be more likely to trigger an audit.
Although it may not apply to you in these circumstances, the downturn in the economy alone, would account for less business.
Your solutions to calm down sound interesting; I think you need a larger glass of wine & that should do it.
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Ok. So here's another problem. BC I needed to catch up on some CE's, I flew to a major (accredited) four day professional conference (2011) in Orange County, California. And, just bc of what and where it was, I spent a boatload of money, on lodging, car rental, etc. So, for 2011, those expenses DO seem way out of line. Of course this is the same conference I've attended several times previously, and I've got plenty of money from other sources to afford it....but I'm pretty sure the IRS doesn't give a rat's ass about that. The only thing I know to do on that score is to expense it along the standard per diems for Orange County. Any other suggestions? It just seems to be a sure red flag....If I hadn't done it many times before, in more prosperous years, and had thought about it longer.....I probably would have skipped it altogether.
Despite being noted as a "better than most" therapist....I'm the first to acknowledge myself as a "probably worse than most" business-person. I sort of accidentally wound-up in private practice fairly early in my career, partly bc the compensation back before the age of "managed-care" was great, and partly because so many people told me I would be great at it. And I WAS great at it, except for the managing my own business part. Looking back on it, had I had any real clue about the stress that business management would cause me during my career, I would probably have remained an employee. But then, in at at-will state, like Tennessee, where you can legitimately be fired for not attending your boss's prayer breakfasts....that's really no picnic either.
If there's any way to mitigate the impact of what will surely be seen as my "Orange County Junket," I'd sincerely XXXXX XXXXX While I had a great time and learned a lot in the process, it just seems so damned STUPID, in retrospect. Now I sort of feel like I'm just INVITING them to come and haul me off to the darkest corners of tax court hell.
Anyway, when you wander back into the force-field of your computer....any further thoughts are most appreciated.