Tax Day 2013: Two Palm Beach County communities among nation's highest potential tax cheat areas

WPTV Web Team contributed to this report


PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. -- Belle Glade and South Palm Beach are among the nation's communities with the highest number of potential tax cheats, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate and Internal Revenue Service.

The NTA used confidential data from 2009 tax returns to identify clusters of potential tax cheats in more than 350 communities. The IRS assigns a score to each tax return rating the likelihood agents will collect additional tax money from an audit. The higher the score, the more likely a person from that community will get audited.

The study focused on sole proprietorships, which account for two-thirds of all U.S. businesses. The median scores for sole proprietors in Belle Glade and South Palm Beach were among the highest scores in the country.

The IRS only audits about 1 percent of tax returns each year, so the agency tries to pick returns that are most likely to yield additional tax money.

The IRS will not say much about how agents choose their targets. But as millions of procrastinators scramble to meet today's deadline to file their taxes, the agency is running every tax return through a confidential computer program to determine the chances of collecting more money from an audit.

"If your return is selected because of a high score under the DIF system, the potential is high that an examination of your return will result in a change to your income tax liability," says an IRS publication that explains the auditing process.

How do you get high score? The IRS won't say, but veteran tax preparers and former IRS workers believe they have a pretty good idea.

"If you're reporting $8,000 of charitable contributions when you're only making $50,000, that's a red flag," said Bob Meighan, vice president of TurboTax, an online tax preparation service. "Likewise if you're reporting business or employee expenses that are out of the ordinary for your income range, that would attract the interest of the IRS as well."

The bottom line, according to the experts: People who take unusually large deductions for their income get a high score. Also, business owners who claim unusually large expenses for the size and type of their business get a high score.

"I had a case here where the person made about $40,000 and they claimed $25,000 of employment-related expenses," said Elizabeth Maresca, a former IRS lawyer who now teaches law at Fordham University. "Most people don't spend $25,000 to earn $40,000. That's an unusual number."

Other cities, towns and neighborhoods that received the highest scores in the country were: 

Brighton, Ala.

Center Point, Ala.

Dannelly, Ala.

Forestdale, Ala.

Phenix City, Ala.

Prichard, Ala.

Trussville, Ala.

Wenonah, Ala.

Buckeye, Ariz.

Cave Creek, Ariz.

Desert Hills, Ariz.

Litchfield Park, Ariz.

Tolleson, Ariz.

Agua Dulce, Calif.

Alamo, Calif.

Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Alpine, Calif.

American Canyon, Calif.

Anaheim Hills, Calif.

Apple Valley, Calif.

Arrowhead Farm, Calif.

Auburn, Calif.

Bakersfield, Calif.

Baldwin Hills, Calif.

Bear Valley Springs, Calif.

Bermuda Dunes, Calif.

Beverly Hills, Calif.

Bonita, Calif.

Brentwood, Calif.

Canyon Country, Calif.

Canyon Lake, Calif.

Castaic, Calif.

Chatsworth, Calif.

Cherry Valley, Calif.

Chino Hills, Calif.

Clayton, Calif.

Corona, Calif.

Corona Del Mar, Calif.

Delano, Calif.

Diablo Grande, Calif.

Discovery Bay, Calif.

Downey, Calif.

Eastvale, Calif.

El Dorado Hills, Calif.

Elk Grove, Calif.

Fontana, Calif.

George Air Force Base, Calif.

Gilroy, Calif.

Glendora, Calif.

Gilman Hot Springs, Calif.

Hesperia, Calif.

Highland, Calif.

Hodge, Calif.

Hollister, Calif.

Inglewood, Calif.

Jess Ranch, Calif.

La Quinta, Calif.

La Verne, Calif.

Ladera Ranch, Calif.

Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Lamirada, Calif.

Leimert Park, Calif.

Lake Elsinore, Calif.

Loomis, Calif.

Malibu, Calif.

Manteca, Calif.

Monarch Beach, Calif.

Moorpark, Calif.

Morada, Calif.

Moreno Valley, Calif.

Morgan Hill, Calif.

Murrieta Hot Springs, Calif.

Newport Beach, Calif.

Newport Coast, Calif.

Norco, Calif.

North Loma Linda, Calif.

Oak Hills, Calif.

Oakley, Calif.

Palm Desert, Calif.

Palmdale, Calif.

Perris, Calif.

Phelan, Calif.

Prunedale, Calif.

Pumpkin Center, Calif.

Quartz Hill, Calif.

Rainbow, Calif.

Ramona, Calif.

Rancho Belago, Calif.

Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Rialto, Calif.

Riverside, Calif.

Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

Robinson Ranch, Calif.

Rocklin, Calif.

Rodeo, Calif.

Rolling Hills, Calif.

Rubidoux, Calif.

San Clemente, Calif.

San Dimas, Calif.

San Marcos, Calif.

Santa Clarita, Calif.

Saratoga Hills, Calif.

Shafter, Calif.

Simi Valley, Calif.

South Laguna, Calif.

Spring Valley Lake, Calif.

Stevenson Ranch, Calif.

Suisun City, Calif.

Sun City, Calif.

Temecula, Calif.

Topanga, Calif.

Tracy, Calif.

Upland, Calif.

Valencia, Calif.

Vallejo, Calif.

Valley Center, Calif.

Valley Home, Calif.

Victorville, Calif.

Wagner, Calif.

Westlake Village, Calif.

Wildomar, Calif.

Winchester, Calif.

Windsor Hills, Calif.

Woodland Hills, Calif.

Yorba Linda, Calif.

Yucaipa, Calif.

Belle Glade, Fla.

Country Lakes, Fla.

Homestead, Fla.

Lox, Fla.

Naranja, Fla.

North Miami, Fla.

Opa Locka, Fla.

Palm Springs North, Fla.

Redland, Fla.

South Palm Beach, Fla.

Acworth, Ga.

Albany, Ga.

Americus, Ga.

Austell, Ga.

Between, Ga.

Braswell, Ga.

Bryon, Ga.

Buford, Ga.

Cartersville, Ga.

Centerville Branch, Ga.

College Park, Ga.

Columbus, Ga.

Conyers, Ga.

Dacula, Ga.

Dallas, Ga.

Decatur, Ga.

Douglasville, Ga.

Dunaire, Ga.

East Point, Ga.

Eatonton, Ga.

Ellenwood, Ga.

Euharlee, Ga.

Fairburn, Ga.

Fayetteville, Ga.

Fort McPherson, Ga.

Grayson, Ga.

Griffin, Ga.

Grovetown, Ga.

Hampton, Ga.

Hapeville, Ga.

Hephzibah, Ga.

Hinesville, Ga.

Hiram, Ga.

Jackson, Ga.

Jonesboro, Ga.

Lagrange, Ga.

Lake Spivey, Ga.

Lawrenceville, Ga.

Leesburg, Ga.

Lithia Springs, Ga.

Lithonia, Ga.

Locust Grove, Ga.

Mableton, Ga.

Macon, Ga.

McDonough, Ga.

Morrow, Ga.

Norcross, Ga.

Peach Orchard, Ga.

Pooler, Ga.

Porterdale, Ga.

Powder Springs, Ga.

Radium Springs, Ga.

Rex, Ga.

Rincon, Ga.

Riverdale, Ga.

Rockbridge, Ga.

Shenandoah, Ga.

Smoke Rise, Ga.

Snapfinger, Ga.

Stockbridge, Ga.

Stone Mountain, Ga.

Temple, Ga.

Union City, Ga.

Vidalia, Ga.

Villa Rica, Ga.

Walnut Grove, Ga.

Waynesboro, Ga.

Woolsey, Ga.

Kahului, Hawaii

Lahaina, Hawaii

Rigby, Idaho

Bellwood, Ill.

Calumet City, Ill.

Dolton, Ill.

Grand Crossing, Ill.

Hazel Crest, Ill.

Matteson, Ill.

Maywood, Ill.

Ogden Park, Ill.

Phoenix, Ill.

Riverdale, Ill.

Roseland, Ill.

South Chicago Heights, Ill.

South Holland, Ill.

University Park, Il.

Nine Mile Point, La.

Baker, La.

Dixie Inn, La.

Harvey, La.

Montz, La.

Richwood, La.

Scotlandville, La.

Zachary, La.

Mattapan, Mass.

Bowie, Md.

Brandywine, Md.

Burtonsville, Md.

Calverton, Md.

Carroll, Md.

Clinton, Md.

Edgewood, Md.

Essex, Md.

Fairmount Heights, Md.

Forestville, Md.

Fort Washington, Md.

Garrison, Md.

Glenarden, Md.

Hillcrest Heights, Md.

Hyattstown, Md.

Laplata, Md.

Laurel, Md.

Loch Hill, Md.

Marlow Heights, Md.

McDonogh Run, Md.

Mitchellville, Md.

Montpelier, Md.

North Englewood, Md.

National Harbor, Md.

New Carrollton, Md.

Odenton, Md.

Raspeburg, Md.

Riverdale Park, Md.

Rosedale, Md.

Russett, Md.

Severn, Md.

South Bowie, Md.

University Park, Md.

Upper Marlboro, Md.

Walbrook, Md.

Waldorf, Md.

Windsor Mill, Md.

Woodlawn, Md.

Inkster, Mich.

Lathrup Village, Mich.

Southfield, Mich.

Byhalia, Miss.

Jago, Miss.

Metrocenter, Miss.

Mineral Wells, Miss.

South McComb, Miss.

Southaven, Miss.

Mount Holly, N.C.

Vandalia, N.C.

East Orange, N.J.

Franklin Lakes, N.J.

Industrial Hillside, N.J.

Roselle, N.J.

Sicklerville, N.J.

Irvington Township, N.J.

Vailsburg, N.J.

Weequahic, N.J.

Willingboro, N.J.

Incline Village, Nev.

North Las Vegas, Nev.

Arverne, N.Y.

Cambria Heights, N.Y.

Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Rosedale, N.Y.

Smiths Point, N.Y.

Springfield Gardens, N.Y.

St. Albans, N.Y.

Lynnewood Gardens, Pa.

Blythewood, S.C.

Columbia, S.C.

Moncks Corner, S.C.

Orangeburg, S.C.

Stark Terrace, S.C.

Walterboro, S.C.

Hickory Hill, Tenn.

Alton, Texas

Alvarado, Texas

Baytown, Texas

Cedar Hill, Texas

Channelview, Texas

Cleveland, Texas

Combine, Texas

Crosby, Texas

Dayton Lakes, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

Everman, Texas

Fresno, Texas

Grand Prairie, Texas

Haslet, Texas

Humble, Texas

La Tijera, Texas

Lancaster, Texas

Manvel, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

Oak Leaf, Texas

Palmview, Texas

Pharr, Texas

Port Arthur, Texas

Progreso Lakes, Texas

Rio Grande City, Texas

San Jose, Texas

San Juan, Texas

Sandy Point, Texas

Sharyland, Texas

Sheldon, Texas

Sienna Plant, Texas

Springtown, Texas

Tarkington Prairie, Texas

Taylor Landing, Texas

Tool, Texas

Violet, Texas

Willis, Texas

Woody Acres, Texas

Zapata, Texas

Draper, Utah

Elk Ridge, Utah

Independence, Utah

Pleasant Grove, Utah

Riverton, Utah

Saratoga Springs, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Washington, Utah

Dale City, Va.

Suffolk, Va.

Woodbridge, Va.