How to avoid getting audited this extended tax season

Tax penalties 101
Posted at 9:13 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 14:43:23-04

The coronavirus has forced many of us indoors, away from restaurants, movies, and sporting events.

So, what are you going to do with all your extra time? How about your taxes? If you’re owed a refund, get those forms filled out and turned in.

And for those that may owe money to Uncle Sam, although the deadline has been extended for 90 days, until July 15, so you can keep more money in your own pocket for longer, you will eventually have to do them. How you do them could put you at risk for an audit. We have some tips on how to reduce your risk of getting a call from the IRS.

April 15 doesn’t quite mean the same thing today as it did a month ago. The tax deadline has been extended, but now could be a good time to get to work on those forms. In 2017, there were over 196 million tax returns submitted and only 1 million were audited. So how do you avoid it?

First, make sure you have the right expert. Look for a CPA or an enrolled agent. Most charge by the hour, but if they charge based on your refund, that’s a red flag.

Avoid reporting a zero income. In 2016, over three percent of returns with no adjusted income were audited. Most importantly, double check your math. It is one of the top errors that has been reported by the IRS. And finally, don’t leave anything blank on your form. Add a zero or dash, even if there is nothing to report.

And by the way, if you are selected to be audited, you will be notified by mail and you can conduct it either in person or by mail. On average, the IRS has 26 months after you file to request an audit.

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