Don't Get 'Red Flagged'

There is no sure way to avoid an audit by the IRS, but you can avoid raising red flags that can get you in trouble.

Red flags can be as innocent as making a math mistake on your tax return; or they can be as deliberate as not claiming all of your income.

One tax preparer says the biggest red flag happening in our area is claiming a child that you do not care for or "borrowing dependents."

"That child, that social security has to match with mom and dad. And if it's matched with other people, you might get in trouble," said Glenda Girsham, tax preparer at

Grisham says people are committing fraud all over Amarillo, without even knowing it.

"It is illegal for someone to take your check stub and file your income tax return with it. It is illegal," she said. "If the IRS finds out that any tax preparer did that, you will be shut down immediately."

She adds that businesses have the highest risk of a tax audit. But there are ways to reduce that risk.

"You got to be honest," Girsham said. "And if you are self-employed you need to keep all your receipts. Every receipt, your gas, your oil changes, your tires, material that you buy."

It's just as important what you claim on your tax return, as who prepares it. Use someone you feel comfortable with and that will be available year round, in case you get audited.

Other Helpful Tips To Avoid Being 'Red Flagged' 

  • Double-check your tax return to make sure all of the information is accurate.
  • Only file your tax return with an official W-2 form.
  • Do not "borrow dependents" to raise your return. It is illegal.
  • Go to a professional if you need help.  
  • Don't leave anything out, include all sources of income.
  • Make sure your adjusted gross income is enough to support your family.