Tax expert shares red flags for the IRS

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It’s crunch time.

Just a few days to file those dreaded, or for some, long-awaited tax returns. It’s no surprise that Kurt Guth’s office is overflowing with them.

“A lot of the last-minute filers,” he says.

About 100 others who tried to file themselves, have already called for help.

“There’s a lot of people who end up making a mistake on their return for various reasons, they get a letter from the IRS or they realize it after the fact,” Guth says.

Michael Devine, a spokesperson for the IRS, says many of those mistakes are avoidable.

“Every year, Social Security numbers are the number one mistake,” says Devine.

When it comes to audits, though, the red flags go a little deeper. Guth says gas mileage is the hot button issue right now.

“Taxpayers don’t do a very good job of tracking mileage, they just write down the beginning and end of odometer readings but they don’t write down the trips, they just say it’s 100% business,” Guth says, “But unfortunately that’s not good enough as far as the IRS writes.”

If the IRS does need to contact you, you’ll get a letter in a white envelope. If you get an e-mail – it’s a scam. The IRS wants you to forward it to and then delete it.

“Some of the websites that they’ve created look very real, so you just have to be very aware,” Devine says.

Devine’s golden IRS rule – file on time, whether the return is in your favor, or not.

“If you don’t file the return, then we might start thinking that you’re hiding things from us.”

Devine says if you file electronically, you have about 1% chance of making a mistake, while if you file on paper, there’s up to a 20% chance. If you need to file an extension, you still need to make that request by the 15th of April.


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