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Jan 20, 2016 6:58 PM

Changing Families: Tax filing season is open - top tips to avoid an audit

CHANGING FAMILIES - The tax filing season opened Tuesday, and this year you'll have extra time. The filing deadline is April 18th because of Emancipation Day. Those who live in Massachusetts and Maine have until April 19th because of Patriots Day.

If you didn't have health insurance and you don't qualify for an exemption, there's a larger penalty than last year that's applied to your tax bill. Typically there is a fine of $325 dollars per person. Some are charged a percentage of their household income.

According to TurboTax here are the top five ways to avoid being audited:

1. Check your figures
Mistakes in data entry are the most common red flags and one of the most preventable problems, so double check your return.

2. Honesty is the best policy
Not reporting all your income is a surefire way to attract attention. Realistically reporting income, deductions, credits and other figures can help keep the auditor at bay.

3. Go vanilla
The largest pool of filers -- that's individuals or joint filers earning less than $200,000 but more than the lowest earners – tend to avoid overt scrutiny.

4. Realistic deductions
Unusual or unrealistic itemized deductions, for individuals or small business owners, may raise a red flag.

5. E-file
Filing returns electronically can "dramatically reduce errors," lowering the odds of an audit.

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