Easy tax mistakes that could get you audited

Don't Waste Your Money

The last thing you want to hear after you've filed your taxes is the word "audit."

As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday's tax deadline, they will make mistakes that could increase their chances of being put under the Internal Revenue Service’s microscope.

Despite the fact that budget cuts and new responsibilities are straining the IRS’s ability to police tax returns, experts told CNN you have roughly a one in 100 chance of being audited this year.

But certain people have an even greater chance.

The Top Triggers

Unusually high charitable contributions for your income: Be careful not to overstate your good deeds. According to CNN Money , the IRS has calculated the average donation level for each income range, so anything that exceeds those amounts could cause agents to take another look at your return.

Deducting for a home office: The IRS's definition of a home office is complicated, and CNN Money says a lot of people get confused or try to stretch the rules. Just because you work from home a couple days a week doesn't mean you can claim the home office deduction. Your home office must be your primary place of business and used exclusively for work.

Forgetting to report something on a 1099 form: For many people, reporting income isn’t that complicated. But some people earn money from a variety of different sources. If you earned more than $600 in a side job, those employers should send you a Form 1099 so you can report that income on your taxes.

Deducting gas costs: Most employers reimburse you for driving-related costs like gas, but if you try to deduct thousands of dollars' worth of car costs as a business expense, that's going to raise eyebrows at the IRS. CNN Money says, to avoid trouble, you should only deduct business-related costs. The gas you buy for your personal driving cannot be mixed up in that, or the IRS will ask for documentation of everything.

Finally, the easiest mistakes that will get you flagged: Writing down the wrong social security number or doing bad math.

The best advice: Make sure you have the documents to back up all your deductions, and take your time.

That way, you don’t waste your money.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.

Latest Forecast
More DWYM
U.S. Army surplus hats still being made in China
U.S. Army surplus hats still being made in China

John Matarese says despite outrage, some military clothing still comes from China

Many appliances obsolete in just 5 years
Many appliances obsolete in just 5 years

John Matarese looks into why you can't fix a 6 year old oven

Best deals, discounts for a Cincy 'Staycation'
Best deals, discounts for a Cincy 'Staycation'

John Matarese shows how to get discount tickets for local vacation attractions.

Why don't ice cream sandwiches melt anymore?
Why don't ice cream sandwiches melt anymore?

John Matarese looks into one mom's question about her kids' ice cream.

Get the best deal, and avoid duds, at yard sales
Get the best deal, and avoid duds, at yard sales

John Matarese has tips for finding hidden treasure at yard and garage sales

Mom lured by Craigslist car scam
Mom lured by Craigslist car scam

John Matarese has a warning for anyone shopping for a used car

You Win Wednesday freebies
You Win Wednesday freebies

John Matarese shares the latest freebies. Click here for App of the Week

Simple, free way to stop unwanted catalogs
Simple, free way to stop unwanted catalogs

John Matarese shows how to stop unwanted catalogs from showing up in your mailbox

Cincinnati Bell Wireless customers want answers
Cincinnati Bell Wireless customers want answers

John Matarese looks into questions surrounding the sale to Verizon.

Why you may be killing your washer & dryer
Why you may be killing your washer & dryer

John Matarese shows the mistakes many of us make