Did you shelter taxes in '83? You may be ripe for an audit
How would you like to be audited by the IRS? If you would, there are several things you can do to ''trigger'' an Internal Revenue Service audit. Matthew Bender & Co., a tax and legal publisher, has compiled a list of ''top 10 audit triggers'' for 1984. Being in one of these situations does not guarantee an audit, nor does it imply anything illegal on the taxpayer's part, but the the triggers have proved to be major causes of audits.
1. Total gross receipts of $100,000 or more on Form 1040 business returns, computed by adding gross receipts from Schedule C (business income) or Schedule F (farm income).
2. Total positive income of $50,000 or more. This includes wages, interest, dividends, and net profits on Schedule C or Schedule F, and certain other income.
3. Tax shelter activity. Returns that reflect tax shelter activity, particularly shelters with high write-offs, will be severely scrutinized.
4. Returns done by a preparer on the IRS's ''problem preparers list,'' of those who have a record of violations. Check with the IRS office in your area if you are not sure about your preparer.
5. Excessive travel and entertainment expenses. Taxpayers should keep a diary and supporting receipts.
6. Business automobile expenses. Because this is an especially audit-sensitive area, proper documentation should be kept. The taxpayer will be required to apportion business and personal auto use.
7. Casualty losses. A casualty is required to be ''sudden, unexpected, and unusual in nature.'' The meaning of these terms often engenders dispute. The method of computing casualty losses has recently been changed, so check carefully into these changes.
8. Barter income. This covers situations where income is received in the form of goods, services, or both. From the swapping of services between individuals to ''organized bartering,'' these exchanges are elements of the ''underground economy,'' which generally disturbs the IRS.
9. Home office deductions for expenses incurred in using a residence as an office are generally disallowed. The taxpayer must meet stringent requirements to take advantage of this deduction.
10. Hobby losses, arising from activities that are not practiced for profit. The deductions are only allowable to the extent of income derived from the activity.