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TT #38: How to Get the Tax Man's Attention

1 Apr 2009
tags: ,
Thursday Thirteen

How to Get the Tax Man’s Attention
or Tax Audit Red Flags

With the exception of number 1, everything else on this list can be avoided…unless you want to see your tax dollars work AGAINST you. (BTW, I capitalized Tax Man because even villains in comic books are capitalized.)

Number 1
Be in a higher income bracket. Individuals who make $100,000 or more are five times more likely to be audited than lower income individuals. After all, you can get more back from a Wall Street CEO than someone working a McJob. (Well, maybe not these days.)

Number 2
Use round numbers. It’s highly unlikely your income is exactly $50,000. Don’t worry. All calculators go to at least two decimal places.

Number 3
Donate excessively to charity. If your contributions are higher than the average for your income bracket, it will look suspicious. Of course, if it’s legit because you donated all of your cheating ex’s stuff to the Salvation Army (actually happened) and you have the tax receipts to back it up, it won’t be an issue.

Number 4
Not report income. Each person or business who sends you a tax slip must also send it to the Tax Man. It’s not the honor system, folks.

Number 5
Make mathematical errors. It either means (1) you can’t work a calculator or (2) you’re trying to pull a fast one and you will be flagged.

Number 6
Leave out information. When your return is not complete, the computer will flag it for review to determine what information is missing.

Number 7
Have low income. If your income is statistically lower than other people in the same occupation and you’re not (1) grossly incompetent and/or (2) living in Mississippi, the Tax Man will be calling.

Number 8
Have high deductions. If you’re claiming Fido as a dependent, be prepared to be audited.

Number 9
Have a home office. The Tax Man will want to verify you’re not claiming tampons as home office deductions.

Number 10
Enter mismatched numbers. If the numbers on your return don’t match the numbers on the tax slips and you’re not dyslexic, that’s a red flag.

Number 11
Be paid primarily in cash. Unreported income results in hundreds of billions of lost tax revenue and the Tax Man wants to rectify the problem. (So do I because if everyone pays their fair share, maybe they’ll lower all tax rates. Sometimes I can be optimistic.)

Number 12
Be self-employed. See reason above.

Number 13
Have a big mouth. If you brag about cheating the system and the wrong person overhears it? They can report you. I believe there’s even a reward incentive.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 Apr 2009 5:34 PM

    It’s not Thursday here yet, but I got an early start! I’m going to forward this link to a couple of friends who are highly paranoid about getting audited. I find it silly since they each make less than $30,000/yr. I don’t think they care about folks like us.

  2. 1 Apr 2009 5:37 PM

    Some great advice. I’m glad mine are done, and refund spent LOL Happy T13!

  3. 1 Apr 2009 5:39 PM

    Good advice. And I won’t do any of those. Mind you, I wouldn’t object to being in a high earning tax bracket!

  4. 1 Apr 2009 5:48 PM

    Nice things to know. We take ours to have it done anymore. I used to do it, but it got too complicated.

  5. 1 Apr 2009 5:50 PM

    Great list. I hope I never have to worry about an audit.

  6. 1 Apr 2009 6:05 PM

    Well… I’ll keep my fingers crossed! 🙂

  7. 1 Apr 2009 6:09 PM

    None of those things are things I do!

  8. 1 Apr 2009 6:46 PM

    I will file these tips away to make sure I never get a call or a knock on my door from the villainous Tax Man. Thanks for sharing these.

  9. 1 Apr 2009 9:45 PM

    #7….I think this is a hoot. Dunno if it’s because of the reference to Mississippi or not, but I had to laugh.

    My 13 is all about ‘icky’ foods. Won’t you join me for a bite?!!!

  10. 2 Apr 2009 7:21 AM

    What can I say? I’m so glad dh does our taxes!

  11. 2 Apr 2009 8:04 AM

    thanks for sharing. these are all good things to know.

  12. 2 Apr 2009 8:06 AM

    Great list. A different perspective of tax time. Thanks for sharing.

  13. 2 Apr 2009 9:34 AM

    I do my taxes myself every year, and (apparently) I suck at it. The feds keep informing me that I owe them more money. *groan*

  14. 2 Apr 2009 11:00 AM

    Good ones! Happy TT!

  15. 2 Apr 2009 12:22 PM

    Interesting list. I was audited once. Turned out they owed ME money! Hard to believe, but true.

  16. 2 Apr 2009 12:27 PM

    Great list, some of which I’ve been guilty of in other years, now my life is simple, as I have just 1 job & no crazy ex who works 15-20 different jobs in a year (he really did- many years of the 8 we were together) and my taxes are easily done. Great blog, I really enjoyed that post about the teacher taking you to task for giving the kids “unrealistic expectations” I bought my first (only) home nearly 4 years ago, all on my own as a single (well, divorced) mother of 3 kids & constantly I was running into people (lawyers, co-workers, people who I thought were friends) who felt compelled to tell me I couldn’t do it & that I was “taking on too much”.

  17. 2 Apr 2009 2:23 PM

    Timely 13 for the moment … interesting to consider ;–)
    Hugs and blessings,

  18. Ann Bruce permalink
    2 Apr 2009 5:10 PM

    @Jill Sorenson: Hehe. The one time my final number didn’t match the CRA’s down to the penny, they gave me a bigger return.

  19. 3 Apr 2009 5:31 AM

    Great list, especially since we have a tax cheat heading the Treasury Dept., and one on the way to HHS!

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