If you want to stay ahead of the IRS, you should get to know the agency's Market Segment Specialization Program (MSSP). It provides industry-specific manuals, known as "audit techniques guides," to IRS auditors so they can do a better job uncovering tax violations.

Rolled out nationally in 1993, the MSSP currently has 48 guides, covering such industries as architecture, used-car dealerships and manufacturing.

Although the guides were designed for IRS auditors, entrepreneurs can use them to their advantage. They're readily available to the public, and those who review the guides are certain to do a better job complying with the tax laws, says Mark H. Ely, national partner in charge of tax-controversy technical services for KPMG.