6 Potential Red Flags That Can Get You Audited?

You never know ultimately what could cause you and audit once this tax season is over.   Here are 6 potential red flags to avoid that could put you in hot water.

  1. You make stupid mistakes– Information has to be entered on to a tax return one way or another.   If you choose to do your taxes by hand, math errors could be very costly for you in the long run if you get audited.    You should consider using a tax program or a professional to avoid making addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division errors.   Sometimes, you may miss filling in certain boxes as well which can be another trigger for the IRS.
  2. You have a big mouth– You should never brag to anyone privately or publicly that you pulled a fast one on the IRS.  Especially with the proliferation of sites like Facebook and Twitter, the IRS has become much more intelligent in watching these sites for people who don’t report income or try to fraud the Government.   Whistleblowers can earn some significant rewards by turning in cheats, so be very careful about who you share your strategies with around your taxes.
  3. You didn’t file your taxes–  Needless to say that you should file your taxes every year.   When you don’t file your taxes, you could leave yourself to unwanted penalties and interest.    If you don’t file for multiple years, you could put yourself in a position to serve jail time as well.
  4. You have an unincorporated business (Schedule C Sole Proprietor) Anytime you get 1099 income during the course of the year, you are in a sense a de facto corporation as a sole proprietor.    A business that continues to lose money year over year may be considered a hobby especially if you don’t turn a profit over three of the last five years.   If the IRS audits you, they could potentially disallow the deductions.
  5. You guess on investment cost basis–   No matter what investment company has your money, keeping track of your cost basis is something that you always want to keep an eye on when you do your taxes.   Especially for those of you who inherited individual stock from your parents or grandparents and may have inherited the cost basis.  While most of the large brokerage firms do a good job of keeping cost basis, many of the direct reinvestment dividend plans don’t keep track of cost basis which may make it a nightmare to do your taxes.    Don’t every try to guess on this as the onus will be on your to prove you are right.
  6. You have a sketchy accountantHopefully you have selected an accountant or accounting firm that is above board.  If your accountant promises you a quick refund before your tax return is even completed, that may give you cause to run for the door.   Make sure you are not taking illegal deductions and check everything twice as you will be responsible for penalties and interest if it isn’t done right.Visit to www.oxygenfinancial.net to request a free consultation with the leading financial experts for people in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s in the country.Written by:

    Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®

    Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc – The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves


My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

Read More About Ted Here

Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

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  • April 10, 2012

    I think if small businesses and sole proprietorships are diligent in keeping good records, have backup with a tax consultant, and doesn’t do anything real stupid, the chances of an audit are pretty low.

    Thank you for an excellent post! Good things to know!

  • April 12, 2012

    Great tips! Sadly, filing your taxes needs to be mentioned, but I’ve known many people who fail to follow it.

  • April 29, 2012

    Yes. Ins premium, dotcor visits, prescription drugs, contact lenses, and necessarily surgery or purchases are deductible. Over the counter drugs and unnecessarily surgery like boob jobs are not.You add them all up, substract any medical reimb and thats your medical tax deduction. but it is limited to 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income (which is your income adjustments), so if you make too much money you most likely cant take the benefit. If you want to save more money, add in you over the counter drugs.

  • Jovan
    April 29, 2012

    The following pagrraaph is taken from an IRS publication regarding Itemized Deductions.Medical expenses include insurance premiums paid for accident and health or qualified long-term care insurance. You may not deduct insurance premiums for life insurance, for policies providing for loss of wages because of illness or injury, or policies that pay you a guaranteed amount each week for a sickness. In addition, the deduction for a qualified long–term care insurance policy’s premium is limited. Refer to Publication 502 , Medical and Dental Expenses.

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