11 tax audit red flags

Worried about a tax audit? Don't be a prime target. Here's what the IRS looks for and tips to help you avoid getting singled out.

You have a sketchy tax preparer
You have a sketchy tax preparer
Sometimes your tax preparer is to blame for an audit. If a preparer promises unusually high refunds without asking to see proper documentation for deductions and credits, don't be fooled, said Vincenzo Villamena, CPA and managing partner at accounting firm Online Taxman.

You're legally responsible for the information on your return no matter what a preparer tells you, so make sure to look over your return before it's sent to the IRS.

"Preparers can promise you the world, but then when they deduct a bunch of stuff they shouldn't, you're going to be the one stuck with an audit," said Villamena. Also, you'll be required to repay any money you receive fraudulently.

This year, all paid preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) so customers can verify that they are legitimate. Ask preparers to see their PTIN before signing up for help, and be wary if your preparer doesn't put a PTIN on your return when submitting it to the IRS, said Villamena.


By Blake Ellis @CNNMoney - Last updated March 28 2012: 5:44 AM ET
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