How Does The IRS Choose Who To Audit?

Quick Facts About the IRS Audit

Getting a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating you’ve been selected for audit is a taxpayer’s worst nightmare and can create a lot of anxiety.

Sometimes these notices are simple, such as you forgot to sign a document or you made a math error. The more ominous possibilities, however, will question your income, deduction claims, and more.

The IRS definition of an audit states that is simple a review of a taxpayer’s return used to verify the tax amount paid and reported is correct. If you happen to be selected for an audit, the IRS website has videos and guides to help you through the process.

In 2011 alone, nearly 1.6 million people were audited. This is slightly more than 1% of the total returns filed. Three foruths of these were completed by correspondence alone, and only one quarter required a field agent examination (in person.)

On income levels, only 1% of those with an income level of less than $200,000 were audited, while 12.5% of those who made $1 million or more were audited.

A spokesperson for the IRS, Terry Lemons, has said that the majority of taxpayers will never have to worry about an audit because their tax returns are filled out accurately.

While there is no magic equation to how the IRS selects who to audit, TurboTax can help you avoid many of the “red flags,” such as significant differences in income or deductions from those within the same demographic, in your 2012 taxes.


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