April 15th is exactly one month away, and every year about one percent of Americans get audited by the I.R.S. Some are chosen randomly, but a lot of people get audited because of something THEY did themselves.
So here’s a list of four red flags the IRS looks for when they’re deciding who gets audited, and who doesn’t . . .
#1.) YOUR INCOME. Obviously there’s not much you can do about this one, but if you make over $100,000 a year, your odds of being audited go way up. If you make less than that, your chances of being audited are about 1 in 150. But if you make OVER $100,000 a year, your odds are 1 in 70. So you’re more than TWICE as likely to get picked.
#2.) OVERESTIMATING YOUR DONATIONS. If you gave money to Haiti, you know exactly how much it was. But when you donate clothing to Goodwill, you’re basically just guessing. So, here’s what to do. If you’re claiming less than $500 in donations, don’t worry. The I.R.S. doesn’t really care. But if it’s MORE than that, make sure you don’t value anything at more than 30% of what you paid for it when it was brand new.
#3.) MATH ERRORS. Make sure all the columns add up. Seriously, double-check. People get audited every year because they were sloppy with their addition.
#4.) FORGETTING TO SIGN YOUR RETURN. It’s a no-brainer, but it happens more than you’d think. And it’s like ASKING to be audited. If an I.R.S. agent notices, that’s when they start looking for MORE mistakes.