Working on tax returns while simultaneously thinking about who gets audited by IRS the most and figuring out if anything can be done to avoid these audits are a few common thoughts of financial elites the society. The reality is that the IRS is more concerned about the wealth of either ultra-rich tycoons or poverty-stricken citizens of the country.
Owing to countless misconceptions, just the presumptions of receiving tax audit notices are enough to run cold sweats. Most commonly, the presence of errors or missing information is the surest invitation to the auditors. They are also authorized to pay random visits to the representative offices of residences of your business.
In addition, declaring little or no income is an obvious red flag to rush the audit team toward your door. Generally, lower-income audits are more automated, providing opportunities for the IRS to work with a minimum number of staff members.
Click here to know what happens if you are audited and found guilty.
What Does an Audit Imply?
When the IRS decides to audit you, it is because of the fact that your return was selected from a batch of tax returns for a closer inspection. And sometimes, they are chosen at random.
However, the manual selection criterion about whom the audit should be conducted is impossible for the IRS, which is why the use of statistical algorithms to screen for potential red flags reduces the number of underpayments by increasing tax revenue.
For instance, if your W-2 income tax form shows that you’ve earned more than what you’ve reported while filing the tax returns will automatically trigger the auditors to pay a surprise visit to your doorstep.
That’s why it is recommended to double verify the alignment and consistency between your authentic annual earnings and what’s stated in the official taxation documents, such as W-2. Therefore, availing of business advisory services to safeguard your company’s reputation and financial integrity becomes mandatory for business owners.
Audit and Racial Bias
A few reports regarding who gets audited by the IRS suggest that black taxpayers are more disproportionately prone to audit. They receive such notices three times more often than non-black taxpayers. A detailed investigation conducted by the researchers into this racial bias has proved that the disparity isn’t intentional but is an outcome of the cost-cutting measures and the secret algorithms governing the selection methods of the IRS’ audit. This inconsistency persists regardless of gender and marital or parental status.
Step By Step Guide: Who Gets Audited by IRS The Most?
Any of the following triggers are enough to learn about who gets audited by IRS the most and who’s more likely to land on the audit hot seat.
1. Mathematical Errors
The easiest mistake one can ever make is the shuffling of numbers, out of which writing five instead of 6 or skipping the final zero are a few to mention. Not even double but multiple layers of manual or automated verifications are mandatory to prevent the auditors from uttering ‘oops!’ while looking at your official taxation documents and matching their authenticity with what you’ve claimed to earn over a specific time frame.
2. Excessive Donations
Making significant contributions to charity makes you eligible for some well-deserved deductions but reporting false donations isn’t a clever choice. Avoid claiming if you don’t have appropriate documentation to prove the authenticity of your contributions.
3. Failure to Report Extra Income
The easiest way to avoid the IRS audit is to report the income you’re generating from side hustles. For instance, if you’re employed by a particular organization and looking forward to earning a little extra cash via freelancing, you may be tempted to mention the main source of income while ignoring the additional earnings or hiding it under the wraps of other documentation, such as ‘Form 1099.’ Even if you don’t report these earnings, the IRS is already aware of all the generated income because it already has got its hands on the publication copy sent from 1099 to the IRS.
4. Losses in Self-Employment
If you’ve mentioned the purchases of products for personal use in the list of business expenses, the number of deductions and losses will become too prolonged to attract the attention of auditors. This temptation will ease the way for the audit team to go for civil or criminal investigation because the IRS will be wondering how on Earth your business is still afloat.
5. Home Office Deduction Claim
The widespread extent of fraud in claiming home office deductions may be tempting in terms of giving yourself undeserved deductions for expenses that technically don’t qualify. The IRS has narrowed down the concept of home office deduction as reserved for people who use part of their home exclusively and regularly for trade or business.
For instance, it would be an injustice to utilize that particular workspace of your home as a living room because you’re obliged to answer emails on your laptop instead of binge-watching your favorite show.; demonstrate complete honesty while reporting these kinds of expenses.
Summarizing who gets audited by IRS the most, the chances are equally high for both the extremes – whether you’re making ultra riches or claiming to be from one of the lowest-income households. Random or algorithm-based selections for taxation audits can make you face the interrogations raised by auditing agents – which may be carried out via telephonic calls, mail, and paying visits to each other’s workplace. Avoiding errors that are easy to make reduces the probability of the IRS being triggered for these intentional or unintentional mistakes.