Advertisement
taxes

Insider Tips: The Most Common Reasons Tax Returns Get Audited

The IRS will be looking for unreimbursed business expenses, as well as these out-of-the-ordinary moves on Schedules A and C.

For its Insider Tips From the Pros package, Kiplinger’s spoke with dozens of experts in fields ranging from college aid to travel to glean insights they apply to their own financial lives and share with their own family and friends. Frank Degen, immediate past president of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, revealed these tips for avoiding a tax audit:

Advertisement - Article continues below

"Only about 1% of taxpayers are audited. What triggers an audit is generally something on the tax return that’s out of the ordinary," he says. "For example, if you have a side business and file a Schedule C, the IRS will flag large losses, particularly if they offset other income. The IRS is looking to see if your activity is a hobby as opposed to a business.

"On Schedule A, large charitable contributions could be a red flag because now you have to have a receipt for every item," he continues. "I don’t ask to see every receipt for charitable contributions, but I will specifically ask a client if he or she has receipts for all contributions.

Unreimbursed business expenses are another item you see people get flagged on," he says. "If your preparer isn’t asking serious questions about these items, you need a new preparer."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Discover even more ways to attract unwanted scrutiny in our popular collection of 14 Red Flags for IRS Auditors.

Advertisement

Most Popular

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?

The IRS unveiled the 2020 tax brackets, and it's never too early to start planning to minimize your future tax bill.
June 20, 2020
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On
stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

These 65 Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group of dividend stocks that have reliably increased their annual payouts every year for at least a quarte…
July 8, 2020
Find a Great Place to Retire
happy retirement

Find a Great Place to Retire

Our cities provide plenty of space to spread out without skimping on health care or other amenities.
July 2, 2020

Recommended

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)
tax deadline

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)

Between due dates for IRA or HSA contributions, paying estimated taxes and other deadlines, there's more to do by July 15 than just filing your federa…
July 10, 2020
Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class
Tax Breaks

Saver's Credit: A Retirement Tax Break for the Middle Class

Your retirement contributions could be the key to a lower tax bill.
July 9, 2020
8 Ways You Might Be Cheating on Your Taxes
taxes

8 Ways You Might Be Cheating on Your Taxes

Don't fall into these common traps that can get you in hot water with the IRS.
July 8, 2020
2020 Tax Deadline: When Are Tax Returns Due This Year?
tax deadline

2020 Tax Deadline: When Are Tax Returns Due This Year?

The April 15 deadline for filing your 2019 federal income tax return (and paying taxes) has been moved back...but the new due date is approaching fast…
July 8, 2020