The IRS audited 1.4 million individual taxpayers in 2013, the lowest number since fiscal year 2008.
Several tax return errors can trigger an audit, but according to an IRS spokeswoman, even if taxpayers do everything right, it doesn’t mean they are audit proof.
“I don’t want to mislead anyone and say you can avoid an audit, unfortunately there area number of randomly generated audits that take place,” IRS spokeswoman Jennifer Jenkins told the Dayton Daily News this week during a visit to the newspaper.
Besides random selection, some returns are chosen for audit based on statistical information, others are selected because records don’t match, and an audit could happen because a business partner or investor also has been audited, according to IRSgov.
There are four top audit red flags, according to TurboTax:
• Unreported income
• Unreported foreign accounts
• Excessive business expenses
• Income over $200,000.
The key to avoiding an audit, Jenkins said, is to keep complete records and documents, and make sure they are stated correctly on your tax returns.
“You can’t exactly avoid an audit, so it’s very important especially with work related expenses to have a mileage log and phone records to justify you are writing off some of these expenses,” Jenkins said.
“It does alarm folks when they get contacted by the IRS. The key thing to know is that the IRS doesn’t want anyone to pay any more or any less than the tax code calls for.”
Taxpayers need to remember that they are responsible for the information on their return, even if they have them professionally prepared, Jenkins said.
“Never sign off on a return unless you have had a chance to look at it, double check numbers, and ask questions,” said Jenkins.
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