Keep the Taxman Away with Honesty and Thoroughness

Spreadsheet with pen and calculator

The Internal Revenue Service performs a vital function that ensures that all Americans are contributing to the common good of the people of the United States. That being said getting audited by the IRS can be a hassle, particularly if you’re busy going to work or running your own business. But once the IRS suspects you of chicanery, getting audited is one of the few ways to clear your name or risk legal repercussions. Still, the best way to avoid being the subject of an audit that could take a lot of time is to file taxes that are beyond reproach.

There are many services that can offer help if you have a hard time dealing with tax matters. There are even companies that cater to a specific clientele, such as companies that assist self-employed people with their taxes. But what can you do to avoid the taxman’s notice? It all boils down to two things: being honest and being thorough with your taxes.

Being Honest

Sometimes, it can be very tempting to cheat on your tax forms. After all, it’s your hard-earned money. But trying to scam the IRS rarely works out well in the long run and if they suspect that you’re up to something, you could be facing an audit. Staying honest when filing your taxes is the right thing to do for the country, and the best way to protect yourself from accusations.

This means that you shouldn’t claim more deductions than you’ve actually earned. Avoid claiming that you’ve given more to charity than you actually have, especially if you don’t have any documents to prove how generous you are. Another unsavory way of cheating on a tax form is claiming more work expenses. These deductions are only valid if the purchase or service is ordinary and necessary for your occupation. If you can’t justify why you’ve asked a deduction for a particular purchase, you could end up in trouble. Finally, home office deductions are for people who actually have space in their abodes where they only do work-related activities.  Saying that your bedroom is a home office just because you occasionally work in bed is not enough justification for that deduction.

When it comes to taxes, honesty is the best policy.

Being Thorough

Man with calculator and spreadsheet

Sometimes, it can be very easy to make a mistake on your tax forms. After all, it’s a lot of math and numbers. But going over every form and every detail with a fine-toothed comb before submitting the document can stop you from being flagged for an audit. Mathematical errors are a serious red flag for the IRS. Every number on your forms needs to make sense and to add up, otherwise, you’re going to get a visit from a taxman demanding an explanation. Double-check everything, from your data to what you’ve written down.  Another serious mistake is getting your social security number wrong. Because it’s a long string of digits, you might accidentally write down the wrong numeral. Again, double-checking everything slowly will pay-off, big time.

Being honest and being thorough can be easy on paper, but difficult in real life. If you feel unsure of your capacity for either, perhaps its best to find a trustworthy professional who can aid you with your tax forms. But if you’re willing to try, best of luck and be very careful. After all, the taxman is watching.