Tags: Notte | tax | audit | IRS

MainStreet's Notte: If You're Getting Audited, 'Don't Go Alone'

By    |   Friday, 20 March 2015 08:20 AM

Thanks to IRS budget cuts, it's less likely than ever that your taxes will get audited this year.
But in case you do get audited, Jason Notte of MainStreet.com offers several tips to emerge from the ordeal unscathed. 
  • "Make sure it's legit," he writes. More scam artists than ever are prowling after your personal data. Pretending that they are IRS auditors is one way they try to steal from you. Don't give out any important information to anyone you aren't sure is a legitimate IRS representative, especially if you are contacted by phone or email. An IRS audit almost always starts with a written letter.
  • If it is a legitimate audit, "don't go in alone," Notte advises. "Unless you're especially deft at preparing your taxes and dealing with IRS or state auditors, you're likely going to want someone to either coach you or — in the case of an in-person audit — be in the room to help out," he notes.
  • "Get organized." Make sure you have proof of your income and deductions.
 "There are only two reasons to get audited: One is if you're randomly selected and the other is if you throw up some kind of red flag," Matthew Jehn, a certified financial planner with Royal Oak Financial in Worthington, Ohio, tells Notte.
Meanwhile, CNBC personal finance reporter Kelli Grant gives advice about how to avoid an audit in the first place.

"The best way to limit your chances of being [audited] is to avoid common mistakes on your return that raise red flags," writes Grant. That could mean mistakenly reporting a figure that is too low for your income. A large deduction for a home office is likely to raise IRS eyebrows, especially if you only work from home in your spare time.

"What people should be focused on is just filing a complete and accurate return," Terry Durkin, president-elect of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, an industry group for tax practitioners, tells Grant. "By doing that, there's no need to worry."

Keep good records, especially if you have a home business or are claiming a credit, Grant suggests.

But you may not have to worry too much. The probability of getting audited this year has dropped to an 11-year low, with just 0.86 percent of individual taxpayers likely suffer that fate this year, according to Yahoo Finance columnist Rick Newman.

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Thanks to IRS budget cuts, it's less likely than ever that your taxes will get audited this year.
Notte, tax, audit, IRS
Friday, 20 March 2015 08:20 AM
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