audited by the IRS is like being notified by your dentist that you need
a root canal. And just like eating sweets, failing to brush, or
forgetting to floss, there are a few things you can do that will likely
trigger that dreaded notice by the IRS. Forbes recently published a list of fifteen ways to invite an audit

  1. Be uber-wealthy. Not a problem for most people, but the IRS tries to get the most bang
    for the buck. Investigating the very wealthy increases their ROI.
  2. Hide an off-shore account. Sending your money on vacation to the Cayman Islands isn’t a crime,
    but not declaring it is. If your money isn’t part of the “keep it local
    movement,” you may potentially be at higher risk for an audit.
  3. Fail to report all income. Think that 1099 from a side-job you did earlier this year is going to
    fly under the radar? The IRS has invested in powerful software tools
    capable of connecting the dots of your financial life. Make sure you
    declare everything you made.
  4. Have a pet business. If your business has lost money for 3 out of the last 5 years, the
    IRS may not be as excited as you are about claiming that loss on your
    taxes. If your duck decoy business still isn’t gaining market traction
    it may be time to recategorize it as a hobby and stop claiming it on
    your taxes..
  5. Use an unethical tax preparer. The IRS actively hunts down tax preparers whose ethics leave
    something to be desired. Make sure yours isn’t one of them. Just because
    someone uses slick advertising doesn’t mean he or she will do the best
    job for your business.   
  6. Make math errors. The IRS is in the business of numbers, and they’re not the government
    agency to send sloppy work to. Make your math calculations spot on. If
    yours don’t add up because of calculation errors, the IRS will request corrections and possibly dig deeper.
  7. Claim losses on a hobby.
    Claiming mileage for taking your hot rod to the drag strip isn’t
    something the IRS wants to see show up on your expenses. If it’s
    something you do because you enjoy it rather than expect it to net you a

    profit, leave it off your filing.

  8. Write off big unreimbursed expenses you incur as an employee. If you claim big in this category the IRS is likely to think
    you’re claiming things that don’t count as deductions to reach such a
    large number.
  9. Protest your tax burden. If you spend too much time proclaiming to the world why the IRS and
    the American system of taxation isn’t constitutional, watch
    out. The IRS is likely to believe that you’ve spent more time protesting
    than properly preparing those “illegal” taxes.
  10. Use round numbers when claiming deductions. The IRS assumes people don’t spend money in nice, even amounts all
    the time. If you round your tax deduction amounts, the IRS may assume
    you’re playing loose with your numbers and lack the paperwork to back up
    those nice round numbers you’re claiming.
  11. Claim a monster-sized charitable contribution. Writing big checks and then claiming those on your taxes exposes you
    to potential IRS scrutiny. You may be a genuinely giving person, but the
    IRS may view this as grounds for taking a closer look.
  12. Talk big. If you spend time at the local bar telling your drinking buddies
    about your newly hatched plans to avoid paying your fair share, someone
    else may be listening. The IRS pays rewards for tips that result in
    large collections of unpaid taxes. This isn’t 1984, but your friends may
    not be the only ones listening to your ill-advised schemes.
  13. Make an ex upset. Whether it is an ex business partner, employee, or spouse, dirty
    laundry they know about can end up on an IRS tip line. It may be for the
    tipster’s reward or just for the satisfaction of knowing they’re doing
    their part in ruining your life.
  14. Be sloppy. Mistakes invite scrutiny. Make sure your details are correct when you
    file. One misplaced digit in a Social Security number means you’re now
    someone else. The IRS takes notice of careless errors.
  15. Be late or worse. The IRS doesn’t wait to wait to hear from you until May 15th.
    They’re even less excited when they don’t hear from you at all. The IRS
    has a program that will auto-generate a tax return if you don’t send
    them one. They use information from W-2’s and 1099 forms sent to them by
    the people you’ve done work for that year. The only thing it won’t have
    on it is all your deductions you could have claimed. Being late to the
    party without communicating with the IRS means you’ll be paying big-time for your absence.