I’m beginning to think that a career as a funny speaker “red flags” you for an audit from the IRS.
Why? Well, you might not believe this, but I just completed my fourth audit in six years. I didn’t mistype. Four of the last six tax years I’ve been audited by the IRS. I should have never changed my name to “Mark Teaparty”. Okay, that’s a joke. But at this point I almost have to joke about it. Almost.
You probably think I keep getting audited because I’m trying to deduct absurd expenses or just not reporting income. Nope. Never been one penny of adjustment in any of my audits, except for 2007 when there was an error IN MY FAVOR! Actually got a refund after that audit. So why me?
I’m guessing I keep getting tagged due to some of my non-conformist answers during that first audit.
EXAMINER: I’d like to see your records.
ME: Great, I brought my Neil Diamond collection.
EXAMINER: Some of these expenses look funny.
ME: So laugh, I’m a comedian, they’re supposed to be funny.
EXAMINER: Do you prepare your own taxes?
ME: Yep, and business was slow this year so I only had to cheat a little.
EXAMINER: Did you have any bad loans?
ME: I loaned a friend of mine $15,000 for plastic surgery, and now I don’t know what he looks like.
As it turns out, most examiners are not zany madcaps. Who knew?
My examiner informed me that the “computer” does select audit possibilities, but the final determination is made by the “human eye”. Now I know what Stevie Wonder is doing in his spare time. I did ask why I keep getting audited. She said it was because my travel expenses and car expenses were very high. I then reminded her I travel for a living. Of course I said that in the most respectful way I knew. It’s important to brush up on your use of the word “sir” or “ma’am” for your audit (I learned that in my first examination). The discussion of this travel issue made me realize that until the “Beam Me Up Scotty” technology is perfected, I can look forward to many more audits. Goodie.
Each audit I always take away a little “gem” that’s worth remembering. This time it was when the examiner told me the audit would be easier if I had a printed list of EVERY expense in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. You can’t make something like that up. By easier, she meant easier for her. I think she discounted the fact that it would add a few hours to my tax preparation time. About a million. But I faked sincerity and said, “ma’am that’s a great idea, I’ll sure do that for my next audit”. My fingers were crossed when I said that.
There was a lot of good news in this last audit though. First, there was no adjustment…again. Secondly, I was complimented on how organized and prepared I was. Four audits in six years will do that to you. By the way, do you know anybody that has developed a worksheet template for an audit? Now you do. Her compliment about me being prepared made the hours of audit preparation and actual examination time all worthwhile. It was one of the most heartfelt things ever said to me and I will cherish it forever. Oops, I’m faking that sincerity thing again, aren’t I?
MARK MAYFIELD…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message