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David Foster Wallace Tax Tips

David Foster Wallace‘s final novel comes out today. With a few days before taxes are due, we’ve collected tax tips gleaned from The Pale King.

The 547-page novel follows the obsessive mental adventures of IRS agents, providing a postmodern peek into the labyrinth of rules guiding your taxes.

As the hero suffers through an excruciatingly dull IRS orientation in chapter 27, an official explained the logic behind selecting tax returns for a dreaded audit. The instructor proceeded to tick off red flags in tax returns that could get your work audited. These warning signs follow below…

1. “Who’s got unusually high charitable deductions compared to averages for his income level?”

2. “Who’s in a largely cash business?”

3. “Who’s getting divorced? … divorces tend to generate unusally high net revenue from audits.”

4.  “[L]ook for large dips in income or spikes in deductions.”

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