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IRS Red Flags That Can Trigger an Audit

Education & Training with Number Cruncher LLC

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) plays a crucial role in ensuring taxpayers' compliance with tax laws, and one way it achieves this is through audits. Understanding the red flags that may catch the IRS's attention is vital for taxpayers aiming to stay on the right side of tax regulations. In this blog, we will explore some common red flags that might trigger an IRS audit.

-Significant Fluctuations in Income: Consistency is key, and any substantial deviations from previous years may prompt further scrutiny.


-High Deduction-to-Income Ratios: Claiming a disproportionately high number of deductions in relation to your income could be a red flag.


-Incomplete or Inaccurate Reporting: Filing an incomplete or inaccurate tax return is a surefire way to attract IRS attention. Math errors, missing information, or inconsistent data are red flags that may trigger an audit.


-Self-Employment and Small Business Risks: Self-employed individuals and small business owners are often subject to closer scrutiny. The IRS is keen on ensuring that all income is reported, and discrepancies in business expenses, income, or deductions can be red flags for an audit.


-Unreported Offshore Accounts: With an increased focus on international tax compliance, failing to report offshore accounts or income may trigger an audit.


-Discrepancies in 1099 and W-2 Forms: Mismatched information between the income reported on your tax return and the data provided by employers or financial institutions on 1099 and W-2 forms can raise suspicions. Ensure that the information on these forms aligns with your tax return.


-Charitable Contributions Out of Proportion: While charitable donations are commendable, disproportionately high deductions for charitable contributions compared to your income may attract the IRS's attention.


-Home Office Deductions: Claiming home office deductions is legitimate for those who genuinely qualify. However, exaggerated claims or dubious eligibility for home office deductions can be red flags for an audit.


-Excessive Business Expenses: Business expenses must be reasonable and directly related to the operation of the business. Excessive or questionable business expenses, especially those without proper documentation, may trigger an audit.


-Frequent Amended Returns: While amending a tax return is sometimes necessary, frequent changes to previously filed returns might raise suspicion.

Being aware of these red flags doesn't mean you should avoid legitimate deductions or financial activities. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of accurate reporting, meticulous record-keeping, and adherence to tax regulations. By staying informed and maintaining transparency in your financial affairs, you can reduce the likelihood of triggering an IRS audit and navigate the tax landscape with confidence.

The focus of our practice is helping individuals and businesses resolve their IRS tax problems in the Las Vegas, Nevada, St. George, Utah areas, and elsewhere. If you or someone you know is dealing with IRS problems, contact me at 702-469-9426 or candy@numbercruncherllc.tax.

faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

Thanks for all the info on the IRS red flags.

Dec 07, 2023 07:03 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Candy... I'm very aware of all these red flags, as I'm an S-corp and my husband also receives pension incomes from overseas. Fortunately, we have an excellent accountant and we've not had any issues with the IRS.

Dec 07, 2023 07:15 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Candy,

You've provided some great warning signs that could trigger the IRS to begin an audit. So far never have had an audit but I also have a good accountant!

Dec 07, 2023 07:42 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Candy and glad to see you again and thank you for sharing this information with us here in the Rain.  Make it a great day!

Dec 07, 2023 08:27 AM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

You're welcome faye schubert.

Have a fantistic day!

Dec 07, 2023 10:35 AM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

That's great you are aware of the red flags and have a great accountant who keeps you in line.  :)

Have an awesome day!

Dec 07, 2023 10:35 AM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Hi Will Hamm. It's good to be back.  Life seems to get in the way too much sometimes to get on here faithfully.

I hope all is well with you!

Dec 07, 2023 10:36 AM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Good Morning Dorie Dillard Austin TX.  I am glad you have an accountant who is able to keep your books in good order.

Have a wonderful day!

Dec 07, 2023 10:37 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Great post about the warning signs... glad you are spreading the word... now with that said it has been a while since we connected, Endre

Dec 07, 2023 10:59 PM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Hi Endre Barath, Jr. , It is good to connect again.  

Thank you for the positive words concerning the blog.


Have a great day!

Jan 16, 2024 10:39 AM