Avoid IRS Audit 2013

There are now only a few weeks to go before this year’s tax filing deadline. It is time to make sure we’re ready according to “Wall Street In The Morning,” the Wall Street Journal’s one hour radio show. Listening to that show prompted me to put together this short list of things you might not think about, when you work on your taxes this year.

The first thing you need, to help eliminate the pain caused by the most powerful federal organization in the U.S., is to make sure you have all your documents together.

8 Important Things You Need To Know

1. Topping the 2013 IRS hit list this year, is, as you might guess, those wealthy folks in our population.

2. If you’re not wealthy, you may think you are safe. Unfortunately for you, the IRS plans to recover revenue lost by not just the well-to-do gang, but anybody who stashes cash abroad. Yes, they do have enough tech cooperation now to track that.

3. Be careful not to miscalculate dollar figures related to your deductions, because that triggers a quick IRS flag.

hand cuffs cartoon
Report all income, don’t try to hide anything.

4. Report every small bit of income, including a few bucks interest from your bank. The IRS has software in place to extract that data, so there’s no hiding it.

5. Social Networks: The IRS is well aware that people often post private information right out in front of friends and the whole world.

So it’s a big mistake to plead poverty with IRS, that you need a break resulting in not doing so well this year, when you say “Business in great” on your Facebook page.

6. The IRS is scanning Twitter and other Social Network sites.

7. Allowances for Home Offices have recently been more lenient. Still, do make certain your Home Office deducting isn’t a case of your Home Office being also the Home Family room – it needs to be a separate, defined room.

8. Watch your travel expense deductions. A couple trips to Hawaii, say, Lanai, deducted as business with Larry Ellison’s yacht training facility being built there… when it means spending a little time with your new grandson since your daughter moved to the island last year? This could be too risky, for so little reward.

Document Your Efforts

If you plan to Write to the IRS via the U.S. Postal Service, be sure to do three things. First, keep a copy of what you send, and a receipt of the mailing. Second, mail it with delivery confirmation, so you know they received it, after you get the card back. Third, follow-up to the IRS by phone.

Of the 10 million Americans who wrote to the IRS snail mail last year, 1,000,000 never got any response at all.

By no means does that get you off the hook for whatever the issue was that prompted you to contact them. You must be certain they got your missive, so phone them, and make note of evidence of that too, and save it, in case it is needed later. It could save you many dollars.

The average IRS telephone wait time right now, is 17 minutes. This is only going to get worse, so don’t procrastinate.

You can also find a lot of information at the IRS website but nothing really beats speaking to a human.

(c) 2013 Strasbaugh

Claudia Strasbaugh was a freelance writer who founded Scripps Ranch/Mira Mesa Writer’s Guild, was head writer for the weekly TV show “Kill ‘EM With Comedy,” plus California Bureau Chief for National Lotto World Magazine. Claudia also ran a nonprofit called Dinner On A Dollar. Sadly, Claudia passed away in 2015, but we are pleased to display her writing works.