8 things that could increase your chances of being audited, and how to avoid them

Laura McCamy
  • Your chances of a tax audit increase with the more audit triggers the IRS finds on your tax return.

  • If you work in the gig economy, even part time, the chances you'll make a tax mistake increase.

  • Here, CPA Cari Weston details eight potential triggers that will increase your chances of being audited.

You might not be able to avoid an audit this tax season, but according to CPA Cari Weston, good record-keeping means you won't have to sweat it.

Weston is currently the director of tax practice and ethics for the Association of International CPAs (AICPA), but before that, she represented many clients in IRS audits during her 20 years in practice as a public accountant.

We spoke with her about audit triggers, how the auditprocess works, and steps you can take so you don't have to fear the IRS.

What you need to know about IRS audits

Your chance of facing a full-blown IRS audit is very slim. In fiscal year 2017, the IRS audited 1.1 million returns, out of the 196 million that were filed. That's 0.5%. Though Weston said the IRS actually performs more audits than this statistic suggests, by sending assessment notices and doingpaper audits (audits by mail).

It might be multiple factors rather than any one thing that earns you an audit, according to Weston. "The IRS has this system that's basically like a point system," she said. The more risk factors on your return, the greater your chances of being selected for audit.

Here are the top IRS audit triggers to avoid, according to Weston.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.
Maximizing Tax Deductions for the Business Use of Your Car
The business use of your car can be one of the largest tax deduction you can take to reduce your business income. This is a big, big deal. Why two “bigs”? Because your business income is used to calculate two taxes: your personal income tax and your self-employment tax (the amount you pay into Social Security and Medicare as the “owner” of your rideshare business). Maximizing your deduction for the business use of your car will help you minimize these taxes.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
Child Tax Credit
Tax reform has caused some changes to the rules for the Child Tax Credit in recent years. Here's how to know whether you qualify for this credit.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
American Rescue Plan: What Does it Mean for You and a Third Stimulus Check
In January, President Biden proposed a $1.9 Trillion emergency coronavirus relief plan, called the American Rescue Plan. Get updated on the latest related news and information as it evolves in the article below.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
Where’s My Third Stimulus Check?
The American Rescue Plan, a new COVID relief bill, includes a third round of stimulus payments for millions of Americans. Get updated on the latest information as it evolves.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com