8 Ways You Might Be Cheating on Your Taxes

Don't cross the line when it comes to your taxes. Avoid these common traps that can get you in hot water with the IRS.

picture of person up to the border line between legal and illegal activity
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether we're pointing out frequently overlooked tax breaks, explaining how retirement income is taxed, or helping you avoid an audit, the editors here at Kiplinger want you to trim as much off your tax bill as legally possible. But note the word legally. Yes, we want you to beat the IRS and save as much as you can on taxes, but only by obeying the nation's tax laws. Save where you can…but pay what you legitimately owe.

Sometimes, though, people don't always strictly follow the law when filling out their tax return. Of course, there are out-and-out tax cheats who purposely avoid paying the IRS what they owe under the law. However, in most cases, people who don't pay all the taxes they legally owe do so unintentionally. Both the tax code and IRS forms are complicated, so it's easy to make an honest mistake if you're not careful. We know our readers don't intentionally violate the tax laws. (Otherwise, you wouldn't be coming to us for advice on how to comply with the law.) But we don't want you to make any accidental errors, either. So here are 8 mistakes to avoid so you don't inadvertently cheat Uncle Sam on your taxes.

Rocky Mengle

Rocky Mengle was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger from October 2018 to January 2023 with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, Rocky worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky holds a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.