12 tax audit red flags

To avoid catching the attention of the IRS, beware of these tax audit red flags.

You have a home office

taxes red flags work at home

Just because you do some work on your couch while watching TV doesn't mean it counts as a home office.

After years of watching people abuse the home-office deduction, the IRS is on the look-out. In order to avoid being scrutinized, make sure you only claim reasonable expenses -- and only those that directly apply to the part of the home used as an office.

Remember: The credit can only be claimed if the home office is your primary place of business and is used exclusively for work. People get into trouble when the IRS suspects they are mixing personal costs with their business costs.

Related: Home office deductions to get easier in 2014

But if you have a legitimate home office, don't be afraid to claim it.

"Taxpayers entitled to these deductions should still claim them -- just be sure to have documentation to support the claimed expenses, avoid understating income and understand and comply with the home office requirements," said Luscombe.

Have you had a nightmare experience with your taxes? From tax preparer mistakes to audits -- or worse, e-mail blake.ellis@turner.com to share your story.

Illustrations by Kacy Belew
  @blakeellis3 - Last updated March 21 2013 12:52 PM ET

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