Everybody fibs on his or her taxes right? What’s a few dollars here and there? The IRS will never notice it. While it’ true that many taxpayers alter the real numbers on their tax returns and get away with it, honesty is always the best policy. Cutting a few dollars off your income, or claiming more credits than you deserve might not seem like a big deal, but if you get caught, the price could be stiff.
Honest Mistake or Willful Cheating?
There are two kinds of tax mistakes on a tax return: accidental and willful. If you make an honest mistake, then you typically won’t find yourself in any real big trouble. You do have to correct your mistake, and it could still cost you. Just because it was an honest mistake, that doesn’t mean the IRS will forgive you. If you owe more money than you paid, then you will need to pay that amount. Most likely, if you pay it off in a timely manner, then you won’t be faced with penalties and interest. However, that is not always the case.
If the IRS believes you willfully fudged on your tax return, then you will almost assuredly face penalties and interest. If your lies are really bad, then you could even face some jail time. So, if you want to avoid these kinds of penalties, then make sure you stick to the facts. Be completely honest on your tax return and you’ll never have to worry about being punished for the information on your return.
Avoid These Common Illegal Tax Moves
Here are some illegal tax moves that you should definitely avoid if you want to stay on the IRS’s good side:
Not reporting all your income – no matter the source, whether you’re employed, self-employed, or both, you need to report all types of income. That includes gambling earnings, capital gains, and much more. You should report ALL income you earned throughout the year. Failing to do this could land you in hot water with the IRS.
Ignoring current tax law – tax laws change every year. That’s especially true this year. Make sure you use the most current tax laws when filing. The IRS will have little or no sympathy if you make this mistake.
Claiming your pet as a dependent – people love their pets. Some animal owners treat their pets like they’re part of the family. But when it comes to taxes, you can’t count your pets as dependents. This is a rather easy one for the IRS to catch because your furry friends don’t have a valid Social Security number.
Deducting personal purchases as business expenses – many taxpayers use this trick when they file. It’s an easy way to write off personal items. However, if you can’t really prove that you have a business need for the item then the IRS will hold that against you. And you will pay the price.
Claiming tax credits for which you don’t qualify – we all like receiving tax credits. It’s free money from the government. However, if you don’t qualify for a certain credit, but you claim it anyways, the IRS will punish you if they catch it.
Remember, honesty is always the best policy. In order to avoid penalties and interest, as well as fines, or even jail time, just be completely honest when you file your tax return.