Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Common IRS Tax Audit Myths

There are a lot of myths going around this tax season about IRS audits, fortunately the RDTC Tax Help Blog has posted an entry debunking 10 of the most common myths. Below are the first 5 items in the list, but you can view the full article at Top 10 IRS Tax Audit Myths.

1. Having a home office is an audit red flag.

This myth was more popular when fewer people had home offices, but is definitely not true these days. Home offices are quite common today, and it alone will no longer flag you for an audit. However, that does not mean the IRS turns a blind eye to home office deductions. They will review it to make sure that it makes sense. If there is any reason for the IRS to believe that you are improperly claiming the home office deduction, then look out.

2. The mailing documents the IRS sends you are coded with audit flags.

This is false. The IRS sends you those mailing documents to make the mailing process more secure and easier. Failing to send your return in their provided envelope will probably do nothing more than delay your return and cause you frustration.

3. You can avoid being audited by filing late, after "audit season".

You would be surprised by how many people swear this works for them every time. Sure it works, but only because you start off with the odds against you being audited. Filing late or early will not help or prevent you from being audited. The IRS can audit you three years after the tax return in question is received.

4. If you make under a certain amount then you cannot be audited.

Income levels also have no affect on your audit probability. The IRS not only sends random audits to all income levels, but they take the time to look at each and every return. No matter what you make, if they believe that you are evading taxes in any way, they will audit you.

5. You cannot be audited once you have received your refund.

Receiving your refund just means the IRS has reviewed your tax return and agreed with your calculations. However, if they receive a return from a separate party who names you and that information does not match your return, then you can still be audited. And remember, the IRS can audit a return up to 3 years after it is received.

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