Remember that the IRS has a copy of all your W2s and 1099 (your paychecks), and your 1098 (your mortgage interest). So it doesn’t take a lot of work for the IRS computer system to notice when the numbers on your tax return aren’t the same as the numbers reported to them by your employer, bank, and brokerage account. If you are going to do your taxes by hand or use online tax software, make sure that you double-check that the numbers match what’s on the documents you’ve been sent. Another way to get the attention of the IRS is to use big, round numbers on your tax filing; it’s like you are just begging to be audited.
Feeling lonely? How about a visit from the IRS?
You might think the IRS has a building full of auditors peering over your tax return and waiting for you to slip up. Well, they do, but in recent years the IRS has focused on finding compliance errors that are easy to spot and simple to enforce. It might take the IRS a year or more to catch up with you, but when they do you will owe not just the back taxes, but also fines and interest that might add up to more than the taxes you skipped paying. But if you still really want to get the IRS’s attention, you can read this series on how to make certain they notice you.