Sometimes being average is not a bad thing. The data below (for illustrative purposes only) shows what the IRS has calculated as average deductions by income level. When a tax return varies too far from the average, something called a DIF ( Discriminant Income Function) score flags the return for audit.
However, IRS uses more than just averages. If your tax return shows a ZIP code from a low-income neighborhood and you deduct a charitable contribution of $2,000 to $3,000, regardless of your adjusted gross income, the computer is going to notice. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be audited, but the probability has soared.
Although the actual formula that selects a return for audit is as closely guarded as the nuclear launch codes, it can be helpful to know what the mean scores are.
Our advice – Don’t worry so much about the averages; deduct only the expenses you actually incurred. If you spent more than the average, claim it. Just be prepared to substantiate your numbers.
Average deductions (from 2009 tax returns)
|Adjusted gross income(Page 1 Income)||Interest||Taxes||Charity||Medical|
|$250,000 and up||25,227||48,317||18,488||38,149|
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