7 Reasons Taxpayers Get An IRS Audit

Facing an IRS audit is a daunting experience. The idea of having your financial records scrutinized by the most feared collection agency, the IRS, can shake anyone to their core. The cost in both time and money can seem never-ending.

Understanding the top reasons taxpayers get audited by the IRS can help you avoid common pitfalls and navigate the audit process more confidently.

In this article, we’ll shed light on these audit triggers, offering you insights into what may prompt the IRS to take a closer look at your tax return.

Additionally, we’ll cover how a tax relief professional like E Ten Broeck, LLC can provide assistance should you ever find yourself facing an IRS audit.

1. Math Errors and Discrepancies

Mathematical errors or discrepancies on your tax return are a prime reason for IRS audits. Common mistakes include errors in addition, subtraction, or basic mathematical operations. While these errors may be unintentional, they can still trigger the IRS to take a second look

2. Large Discrepancies Between Reported Income

The IRS receives copies of the income you report through information returns like W-2s and 1099s. When these documents show significant disparities from the income you’ve reported on your tax return, it raises concerns.

For example, if someone you did work for reports a different income figure on a 1099 than what you reported, it may trigger an audit. Accurate reporting and proper documentation are essential to avoid this issue.

3. High Deductions and Credits

Claiming excessive deductions or tax credits compared to your income level or industry norms can invite IRS scrutiny. While deductions and credits are valuable tools to reduce your tax liability, they must be justified and supported by appropriate documentation.

For instance, inflating charitable contributions or business expenses can lead to audits. Taxpayers should exercise caution, ensuring their claims align with tax regulations and that they maintain comprehensive records.

4. Failure to Report Income

Failure to report income, whether intentional or accidental, is a significant audit trigger. This includes income from freelance work, rental properties, interest, dividends, or offshore accounts. Accurate and comprehensive income reporting is crucial to prevent tax audits and legal complications.

5. Self-Employment and Business Activities

Self-employed individuals and small business owners face higher audit risks due to the complexity of their tax returns. The IRS closely scrutinizes business deductions, income sources, and compliance with tax laws.

Common audit triggers in this category include claiming excessive business expenses, misclassifying workers as independent contractors, or underreporting self-employment income.

Taxpayers in these categories should maintain accurate records and seek professional guidance to ensure compliance.

6. Inconsistent Filing History

Frequent amendments or inconsistencies in your filing history may prompt IRS scrutiny. While it’s perfectly acceptable to amend a tax return to correct genuine errors or provide additional information, excessive amendments or inconsistencies can raise suspicion.

Maintaining consistent and accurate filing practices helps reduce the likelihood of audits based on your filing history.

7. High-Income Individuals

High-income individuals often face increased audit risks due to the potential for larger tax liabilities. The IRS verifies that high earners accurately report their income, deductions, and credits. While high-income individuals have legitimate opportunities for deductions and credits, their returns undergo more thorough examination.

Already Audited? Do This Next

What if you’re already in an audit? The first thing you need to do is call a firm like ours that specializes in complicated tax problems like this.

Should you ever face an IRS audit, remember that E Ten Broeck. LLC is available to provide expert assistance, ensuring that you navigate the audit process with ease and confidence.

If you’re currently dealing with IRS problems and owe $10,000 or more in back taxes or are being audited, reach out to our tax resolution firm, and we’ll schedule a free and confidential consultation to explain your options thoroughly and help you permanently resolve your tax problem. Please call Eric at (835) 222-6600.

IRS Lien vs. Levy: Deciphering Tax Terminology

Taxes can be complex and overwhelming. When back tax debt comes into the picture, things can get a bit more complicated and stressful. If you fail to pay your back taxes, two terms often surface: “lien” and “levy.”

These terms have specific meanings and consequences in the realm of taxation, and understanding the differences is essential for anyone seeking tax relief.

Let’s demystify these terms and explore their implications.

Note: If you’re facing threatening letters from the IRS or have a “Notice of Federal Tax Lien”, call Eric at (835) 222-6600 immediately to find what tax relief options you may qualify for.

What Is a Tax Lien?

A tax lien is a legal claim against a taxpayer’s property or assets, serving as collateral for unpaid tax debt. It is not an immediate seizure of assets but rather a legal encumbrance that alerts creditors and potential buyers that the taxpayer owes the government money. Let’s take a closer look at tax liens and what they mean.

Filing a Tax Lien:

When a taxpayer has unpaid tax debt, the IRS or state taxing authority may file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien or equivalent state document. This notice is recorded in public records, making the tax debt a matter of public record.

Impact on Credit Score:

A tax lien can have a severe impact on the taxpayer’s credit score. It can make it challenging to secure loans or credit and can result in higher interest rates on existing credit.

Asset Encumbrance:

While a tax lien does not immediately result in the seizure of assets, it encumbers the taxpayer’s property and assets.

This means that if the taxpayer tries to sell property or assets with a tax lien, the IRS or state will typically have a claim on the proceeds.

Priority Status:

Tax liens often take precedence over other creditors, including 2nd mortgage holders and other creditors. This means that the government’s claim is superior, and they have a first right to the taxpayer’s assets.

Lien Release:

A lien can be released once the tax debt is fully paid or when the taxpayer arranges an alternative payment plan with the taxing authority. It’s essential to resolve a lien promptly to regain control over your assets and credit.

What Is a Tax Levy?

A tax levy, on the other hand, involves the actual seizure of a taxpayer’s property or assets to satisfy unpaid tax debt. It represents a more aggressive collection action by the IRS or state taxing authority. Let’s review the key aspects of a tax levy.

Issuance of Levy:

A tax levy is a legal action taken by the IRS or state to collect unpaid taxes. It can result in the seizure of bank accounts, wages, vehicles, real estate, and other valuable assets.

Bank Levy:

A common form of tax levy is a bank levy, where the IRS or state taxing authority freezes and eventually withdraws funds from the taxpayer’s bank account to cover the unpaid tax debt.

Wage Garnishment:

A wage levy, or garnishment, involves continuously taking a portion of the taxpayer’s wages or salary (up to 90% of their net pay in certain situations) directly from their employer to satisfy the tax debt. This can have a significant impact on the taxpayer’s income.

Asset Seizure:

In extreme cases, the IRS or state can seize and auction off the taxpayer’s assets, including real estate, vehicles, or personal property, to recover the unpaid taxes.

Levy Release:

To release a levy, the taxpayer must address the tax debt by either paying it in full, arranging a payment plan, filing delinquent tax returns or demonstrating that the levy is causing severe financial hardship. Once the issue is resolved, the taxing authority will release the levy.

If you find yourself dealing with tax liens, levies, or other tax-related challenges, contact Eric at (835) 222-6600 today to help you resolve your tax issues and achieve financial stability.

Avoiding Tax Liens and Levies

The best way to avoid having to deal with tax liens and levies is to avoid them in the first place. Here are some proactive steps you can take:

1. Timely and Accurate Filings:

File your tax returns on time and ensure they are accurate. Filing extensions or incorrect information can trigger audits and tax debt.

2. Regularly Review Tax Returns:

Regularly review your tax returns, checking for errors, discrepancies, or potential red flags that might invite IRS scrutiny.

3. Pay Taxes Promptly:

Pay your taxes on time and in full. If you can’t pay, consider options like installment agreements or an offer in compromise to settle your debt.

4. Seek Professional Guidance:

Tax relief professionals like E Ten Broeck, LLC play a vital role in assisting individuals and businesses facing tax issues, from negotiating with taxing authorities to developing strategies for lien and levy resolution. If you have back tax debt today, contact us at 835 222 6600 for a free consultation.