Tax return deadline nearing

HOUSTON

Fewer IRS employees sounds good, but the agency is turning to computers to help them go after tax cheats.

Andre Denkins is getting his taxes looked at for free by the trained volunteers at Houston's Neighborhood Tax Center with good reason.

"You always want a professional handling things, especially when it comes to your taxes," Denkins said.

Denkins does not want an audit. On the surface it seems fewer will face tougher IRS scrutiny because the agency is understaffed, as IRS commissioner John Koskinen detailed during a recent stop in Houston.

"We have lost 10,000 employees over the last four years and what we are beginning to see, both in enforcement but particularly in taxpayer services is the negative impact of that," Koskinen said.

While fewer workers may mean fewer audits, taxpayers should not let their guard down because the agency is now turning to computerized data to help fill the void.

"There probably will be fewer audits, but the audits are also becoming more focused, so if you are audited there is a good chance the IRS may find more adjustments," Houston CPA Bob Martin said.

Martin says that means the agency will likely find more mistakes and make taxpayers pay more for the errors.

"If you have bad records, if you have left things out, be prepared you could be paying not only additional taxes but interest and penalties," he said.

About 75 percent of those audited do end up owing more money to the IRS, that includes fines, penalties and interest.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.