Originally Posted by clr8ter
I read that link. I still don't understand how on earth that many retailers could possibly collect that much info, and how the state could possibly crunch those numbers. Like from the store just over the border that sells beer and cigs, and makes thousands of small transactions a day. Or a supermarket.
They can't catch it all. Their objective is to make it suck bad enough for the ones they do catch to deter others (like a public hanging). A mistake on your return can be easily doubled by interest and penalty. I got MAJOR grief for settling some old income tax audits (federal leads CP2000) by offering to ditch the penalty if paid within 30 days.
Additionally, the feds have been working on a way to expand 1099 reporting and such to make it easier to ID shoppers. Old school would be as a part "source and applications" audit (could you live like you did on what you reported); what did you pay to your credit cards and what was it for (as a part of verifying deductions claimed or income reported). Auditors use leads from other audits.
I may cheat on some things, but my tax returns freakin SQUEAK. When I worked for the state and taught night classes, my income was sooo steady that my refunds would be in single digits; they got what they were owed didn't get to hold much of my money that they weren't owed.