Tax Preparation: Will I Be Audited by the IRS?

The IRS audits a small percentage of tax returns every year. In 2017, the agency audited 1 million, or 0.5 percent, of all returns the IRS received. That’s a very small percentage, but there are cases where an income tax return could trigger an audit by the IRS. LongSchaefer’s tax preparation experts discuss whether or not you’ll be audited by the IRS.

Not Reporting All Income

Unreported income occurs when the IRS receives forms, but you fail to report the income with your return. For example, the IRS gets a W-2 form for wages from three employers as well as a 1099-INT form that outlines the interest you received from an investment account. You forget to report the interest income, and you failed to include some tip income on a W-2 form when you worked as a server. The higher the income you fail to report, the greater the likelihood you could be audited.

Large Increases in Income or High Income

The odds of having an IRS audit increase as your income goes up. This is particularly true of business income. Around 1.4% of businesses with income from $200,000 to $1 million were audited in 2018. That number rose to 3.2% when businesses earned an income of $1 million or more. Tax preparation and accounting experts can help you avoid an IRS audit by filing accurate returns. These firms can also assist you through the audit process should the IRS send you an audit letter.

Excessive Business Tax Deductions

The IRS tracks typical business expenses generated by certain industries. Travel expenses 20% above the norm might get a second look from the agency. You should keep accurate records for vehicle-related expenses, especially if you take a company car home for personal use. Excessive meal allowances are also a red flag for the IRS. Accurate tax preparation is one key to avoiding a potential IRS audit.

Foreign Bank Accounts

The IRS has strict rules for reporting foreign assets, particularly bank accounts. The agency requires you to fill out Form 8938 if you own $50,000 or more in foreign assets. Admitting you have foreign assets over $50,000 may actually trigger an audit because the IRS feels you may be trying to shelter certain income from taxation. Unfortunately, hiding these assets from your return may also cause an audit. We’ll walk you through what to do about foreign assets during your tax preparation.

Help Avoid IRS Red Flags at LongSchaefer

No one is guaranteed to avoid an IRS audit. They choose who to audit based on many factors. However, proper and accurate tax preparation can reduce the likelihood you’ll face an audit. Contact LongSchaefer or call (513) 245-0300 for more details about our services. 

May 2020 COVID-19 Update

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