Audit-Proof Your Tax Returnhttp://www.fool.com/personal-finance/taxes/audit-proof-your-tax-return.aspx Roy Lewis
March 24, 2008
Is there really such a thing as an audit-proof tax return? A way of preparing your return to guarantee that you won't be subject to an audit? Of course not. But there certainly are ways to minimize your risk.
You don't want to thumb your nose at Uncle Sam, thinking that an audit won't happen to you. It just might, and if it does, you should be prepared. But what can you do to make your tax return less susceptible to the IRS' eagle eyes? Here are seven suggested strategies.
If you're unable to use a computer to prepare your return, at least print clearly and carefully. Don't decide to get your revenge on the IRS by preparing your return with a red crayon. A messy return -- cross-outs, sloppy handwriting, and smudges -- is like hanging a sign on your return that says, "Audit me!" It might also give the IRS the impression that you are careless and disorganized.
Remember that the IRS has stepped up its audit enforcement in recent years. The IRS believes that the taxpaying public has gotten an audit-free ride for years -- and that ride is now over. While it's still unlikely that you will be audited, the odds have increased substantially.
Remember that your tax return will be loaded into the IRS computers, and those computers will check your return for math errors. If your return states that 2 + 2 = 5, they might start wondering about some of your other numbers. Don't give them a chance. Double-check your numbers before you mail your return.
Watch Schedule C!