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10 Risky Tax Moves You Should Skip

Save your receipts, be honest, and don't try to protest
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2011 3:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Perhaps, in a moment of desperation, it seemed like a good idea to claim your mother-in-law as a dependent on your tax return ... but it's actually not. And neither are these nine other risky moves, as rounded up by Time:

  • Skipping receipts: Even if you think the IRS will never ask you for them, you should save your receipts every time you claim a deduction—for anywhere from three to six years. If the IRS does ask for them and you don't have them, not only will the deductions be disallowed, you may face penalties and interest.
  • Filing late: Yes, it's better to file late than not at all, but if you owe taxes and pay them late, you again face interest and a penalty. More than two months late and you'll owe even more.

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  • Protesting: Maybe you're against taxes for political reasons. The IRS does not care. If it thinks you are using a political argument to avoid paying taxes, it can hit you with a penalty from $25,000 to a whopping $250,000—plus possible prison time.
  • Pretending to be single: Whether you're in the middle of a divorce, actually divorced, or were widowed in the past year, you'd best select an accurate tax status—not the one that will cause you to owe the least. If you chose the wrong one, you'll probably find yourself audited.
Click for the complete list, or check out one reason you really have no excuse to file late this year. (Read more tax returns stories.)

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