It should come as no surprise to most Californians that there are a surprising number of myths surrounding the filing of taxes. Tax forms are complicated, and you may have been given false advice by well-meaning friends or associates when it comes to filing your own taxes. It is important to discern the truth before you leave something important out of your tax return or decide not to file at all, or you could face penalties from the Internal Revenue Service.

Intuit has provided clarification about some of the most common tax-related myths.

You do not have to file taxes – Over the years, conspiracy theorists and others have asserted that there is a loophole that makes filing taxes voluntary. This is untrue.

You are not required to pay taxes for illegal income – Whether you are a legal employee or your paycheck comes from embezzled funds, the government still expects you to pay taxes.

You will automatically be audited for claiming a home office deduction – Your chances of being audited for claiming a home audit are less than many people assert. However, you will want to ensure your home office legally qualifies as such.

A lower income level disqualifies you for an audit – Anyone can be audited at any income level. You may protect yourself and make an audit easier by saving important receipts for three years and keeping careful records of items related to your income and business expenses.

You can further protect yourself from a potentially costly mistake by consulting a professional about your tax matters. The information in this post is meant for educational purposes and should not replace the advice of a lawyer.