Who wants to fight with the IRS? Although no one knows exactly what algorithm the IRS uses to pick which returns to audit, Forbes points out that there are a few sure things you can do to reduce your chances. And if you are selected, these tips will also make your interaction with the IRS much less stressful. 

  • Don’t claim questionable deductions. Yes, you’re entitled to the deductions you qualify for, and you should definitely claim them. But if you can’t defend a deduction, don’t take it in the first place. Not only will you avoid triggering an audit for taking an unreasonable tax position, if you are chosen for an audit, the interaction will be much easier to deal with.
  • Use either a pro or software. You don’t want to risk mistakes that will trigger an audit. If you use a professional or use tax software to handle your paperwork for you, you’re statistically much better protected from mistakes. Having someone available to advise you on anything that looks odd or having software automatically trigger a “look over this again” alert will save you many headaches. 
  • Don’t disclose more than you have to. Most audits merely request specific documentation or other information. If you submit more, the IRS can start looking into additional areas, which can lead to a bigger audit.
  • Double-check your math. Math mistakes are easy to make, particularly if you’re doing your return by hand. Software programs do the math for you, and alert you to any problems. 
  • Account for every 1099. The IRS receives copies of your 1099s, so you want to be sure you’re reporting the income from every 1099 you receive.  

Nothing you do will guarantee that you won’t get audited, but these tips will reduce your chances. And if you are selected, they’ll make your audit experience a better one.