34 years in this business has taken me to some great places across this country. Rockford, IL, Aberdeen, SD, Stevens Point, WI, Kansas City, MO, Anchorage, AK, Dallas, TX, Enid, OK and now Fort Smith.
Source: Social Security Administration
If you thought dirty money was only found in offshore bank accounts, check your wallet instead. But you may want to wash your hands afterward.
Almost 60% of Europeans believe cash is the dirtiest item they come into contact with, ahead of escalator handrails, buttons on payment terminals and library books, according to a survey of 1,000 people released by Mastercard.
A further 83% of the respondents, taken from 15 countries across
Independent tests on European money conducted by a team of scientists at
the average banknote contains 26,000 bacteria, enough germs to make you feel nauseous, and possibly even spread disease.
"Europeans' perceptions of dirty cash are not without reason," Ian Thompson, the professor from
cash, said in a news release. "The bank notes we tested harbored an average of 26,000 bacteria, which, for a number of pathogenic organisms, is sufficient for passing on infection."
Even the newest, and therefore cleanest, notes tested contained 2,400 bacteria, with Swiss Francs and Danish Krone the dirtiest money of all.
"(The bacteria) comes from multiple hands," says Hany Fam from Mastercard. "These notes have a long time in circulation, they're handed, hand to hand, from different individuals and it's inevitable that germs accumulate on them."
Another study conducted in 2008 at
So what to do? To prevent infection, scientists suggest basic hygiene: Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth, and wash your hands often.
But that won't necessarily prevent illicit banknote contamination.
Last year three employees at a Michigan Circle K store became ill after handling money that had been contaminated with methamphetamine residue, according to a local news website, Ann Arbor.com.
Cocaine is also a common contaminate in the
The IRS examined 1.1 percent of all individual tax returns in 2010 and 2011, so the chances that your tax return will be audited are only about 1 in 90.
But the odds of an audit can increase substantially depending on your income, types of income, deduction amount and changes you have made since filing your last tax return.
The IRS uses a computerized process to check all tax returns for math and clerical errors, such as incorrect Social Security numbers and addresses. If a mistake is detected, a notice of the error and a recalculation of the tax due is sent to the taxpayer.
The IRS also runs tax returns through a process that compares the information you report from your bank, employer, and W-2, 1099 and other forms and documents. If you omit an item from your tax return, it's very likely to be picked up by the IRS's computers. The agency will send a computer-generated notice that includes a recalculation of your tax and the additional interest and penalties you will owe.
Meanwhile, the IRS assigns numerical weights to certain tax return characteristics. These weights are added together to obtain a national composite score for all tax returns. When the total score of all selected items on your tax return exceeds the national average score set by the IRS, the agency will flag the return for a possible audit. The exact items the IRS zeroes in on and scoring method is a closely guarded secret, but some of te things the agency is believed to scrutinize include:
- Large amounts of income not subject to tax withholding
- Unusually large amounts of deductions claimed than seem reasonable when compared to your income
- A large number of dependent exemptions claimed that doesn't square wtih reported SSNs, tax withholding allowances and so forth
- Large deductions for charitable contributions, casualty losses, home office expenses, and travel and entertainment expenses
- Indicating a change of address when not reporting a sale of your residence and not changing your home related deductions