Your chances of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service are going up, but only slightly. For example, in 2001 the IRS audited 732,000 individual returns compared to only 618,000 in 2000. However, in 2014 the IRS was expected to audit approximately 2% to 3% of all individual tax returns submitted. Because there are about 130 million individual tax returns filed, there were about 4 million audits conducted in 2014 – up substantially from a decade ago.
It should be noted that there are certain “triggers” that can spark the IRS to take a second look, or at least request additional information, about your tax return. These “triggers” can range from simple mathematical mistakes on your return to certain deductions that you claim. According to the IRS, the most common “triggers” are:
- sudden spikes (drops or increases) in income
- missing forms or undocumented income
- an unsigned return
- missing Social Security numbers for the taxpayer or dependents
- filing a Schedule C – self-employed taxpayers are three times more likely than wage earners to be audited
- deductions that exceed the norm for your income
- taking the home office deduction
- casualty losses to your home
None of these “triggers” should keep you from filing an accurate tax return. However, if you are claiming such, you should make sure that you have complete and documented information to back up your claim.
** Please refer to the Tax Information Manual on our website for more information concerning these topics.