Need to know IRS information

February 29, 2008 3:43:56 PM PST
The IRS wants you to know how to avoid an audit, how not to get scammed, and decipher fact from fiction when it comes to the economic stimulus plan. The Internal Revenue Service scores every return and if your return scores a certain level or has a number of items out of the ordinary, it will get pulled for an audit.

The IRS pays especially close attention to returns that involve home-based businesses. It is apparent to keep to good records.

Also, if you use your car for work, log every trip detail.

"The date, the time, where you went, the mileage, who you saw, what the meeting was for, what's the square footage of the room you're operating your business from, is it strictly for your business?" David Stewart of the IRS said.

A very large charitable contribution could also get you audited.

The IRS also warns to be careful when hiring a tax preparer. You should get references and never sign a blank return.

"If you walk in and someone says according to your paperwork it looks like I can guarantee you an $8000 tax refund, that, too, is a red flag," Stewart said.

You also need to watch out for emails that appear to be from the IRS.

"First of all, the IRS will never send you an email, we will never ask your for passwords, we will never ask you for a pin number," Stewart said.

If you get a phone call from somebody claiming to be with the IRS, do not give them any information. Politely hang up, and then call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 and ask if the agency was trying to reach you.

The IRS is also setting the record straight on a couple issues surrounding the 2008 stimulus payments. There are some common misconceptions.

One misconception is the stimulus payment will reduce your 2008 refund. The fact is the rebate is not taxable. It won't reduce refunds or increase amounts owed when filing 2008 returns

Another misconception is taxpayers don't have to do anything to get a stimulus payment. The fact is you have to file a 2007 tax return to be eligible. After you file a return, the IRS will take care of the rest.

Another fact is that you won't necessarily get a paper check. If you choose direct deposit for your 2007 tax year refund, you'll get your stimulus payment the same way.