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

  • 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.