The Internal Revenue Service has increased scrutiny of smaller companies, which it says are at the core of the tax gap -- the difference between the amount of taxes owed and those paid. The agency has cut the number of large companies audited by 22%, a study shows. "While politicians in Washington love to give speeches touting how small businesses are the engines for job growth, revving up IRS audits of small business is like putting sugar in the gas tank," says Dean Zerbe of tax consultancy Alliantgroup.

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