The necessity of avoiding an IRS tax audit can make the process of filing taxes feel like a minefield. Here are some tips for claiming the right tax deductions, avoiding fraud and hopefully, a tax audit.

The tax season is in full swing. There’s no sidestepping it. It was American founding father Benjamin Franklin who noted the eternal presence of death and taxes. But even though we can’t run from filing our 2011 tax returns, there’s no reason to commit errors that can leave you in the hot seat. While gathering those W-2s, earnings statements, receipts and other collateral, here are some tips for avoiding an IRS tax audit.

  • Watch your deductions –  The surest way to raise antennae at the Internal Revenue Service is to take the search for tax deductions too far. Do not claim anything for which you are not solidly eligible or can provide verification.
  • Less income is sometimes more – According to a report from Yahoo finance,  “audits are one of the few times that having an average salary is an advantage.” Taxes filed in a typical year only yield 1.1 percent in audit volume. However that figure rises considerably for individuals who earn more than $1 million.  The audit rate is 12.5 percent for the more well-off American. So it would seem that simply by virtue of being middle class, avoiding an IRS tax audit becomes more likely.
  • Avoid sloppy errors -This is especially critical when using online software to complete your 2011 tax return. More folks have been undone by a simple lack of review before submission than any other factor. One small mistake can make avoiding an IRS tax audit next to impossible. Check every field thoroughly before you seal the proverbial envelope or hit the “submit” button.

If you have done your best and still find yourself summoned to the auditor’s table, securing the services of an experienced tax audit professional should be your next step. Many a tax payer has found themselves in a deeper hole by attempting to represent themselves. The tax code is complicated and the best method of avoiding an IRS tax audit, or ending the process as quickly as possible, is to consult with an expert who lives this everyday.

And although we have all heard the horror stories of IRS agents with a vengeance, those are largely just that – stories. Honest mistakes happen and the attempt to identify and rectify them immediately can go a long way toward lessening the pain of an IRS tax audit.