Wilson Financial Services Inc.

(859) 824-9422

Tax Read Time: 3 min

What If You Get Audited?

“Audit” is a word that can strike fear into the hearts of taxpayers.

However, the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit aren’t that high. Between 2010 and 2020, the IRS only audited 0.49% of all individual tax returns.1

And being audited does not necessarily imply that the IRS suspects wrongdoing. The IRS says an audit is just a formal review of a tax return to ensure information is being reported according to current tax law and to verify that the information itself is accurate.

The IRS selects returns for audit using three main methods.2

  • Random Selection. Some returns are chosen at random based on the results of a statistical formula.
  • Information Matching. The IRS compares reports from payers — W2 forms from employers, 1099 forms from banks and brokerages, and others — to the returns filed by taxpayers. Those that don’t match may be examined further.
  • Related Examinations. Some returns are selected for an audit because they involve issues or transactions with other taxpayers whose returns have been selected for examination.

There are a number of sound tax practices that may reduce the chances of an audit.

  • Provide Complete Information. Among the most commonly overlooked information is missing Social Security numbers — including those for any dependent children and ex-spouses.
  • Avoid Math Errors. When the IRS receives a return that contains math errors, it assesses the error and sends a notice without following its normal deficiency procedures.
  • Match Your Statements. The numbers on any W-2 and 1099 forms must match the returns to which they are tied. Those that don’t match may be flagged for an audit.
  • Don’t Repeat Mistakes. The IRS remembers those returns it has audited. It may check to make sure past errors aren’t repeated.
  • Keep Complete Records. This won’t reduce the chance of an audit, but it potentially may make it much easier to comply with IRS requests for documentation.

Remember, the information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

Audits Have Changed

Most audits don’t involve face-to-face meetings with IRS agents or representatives. In 2023, 78.6% were actually conducted through the mail; only 21.4% involved face-to-face meetings.

Source: IRS.gov, 2024

1. IRS.gov, 2024
2. IRS.gov, 2024

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

 

Related Content

All Muni Bonds Are Not Created Equal

All Muni Bonds Are Not Created Equal

Gaining a better understanding of municipal bonds makes more sense than ever.

Tax Freedom Day

Tax Freedom Day

Assess how many days you'll work to pay your federal tax liability.

Taxable vs. Tax-Deferred Savings

Taxable vs. Tax-Deferred Savings

Use this calculator to compare the future value of investments with different tax consequences.

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Women and Financial Strategies

Most women don’t shy away from the day-to-day financial decisions, but some may be leaving their future to chance.

Where Will Your Retirement Money Come From?

Retirement income may come from a variety of sources. Here's an overview of the six main sources.

Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays?

Your liability for damages that occur when a tree on your property falls on your neighbor’s property is not clear cut.

View all articles

Should I Buy or Lease an Auto?

This calculator compares the financial impact of leasing versus buying an automobile.

Assess Your Life Insurance Needs

This calculator estimates how much life insurance you would need to meet your family's needs if you were to die prematurely.

Annuity Comparison

This calculator compares a hypothetical fixed annuity with an account where the interest is taxed each year.

View all calculators

Bursting the Bubble

Tulips were the first, but they won’t be the last. What forms a “bubble” and what causes them to burst?

Bridging the Confidence Gap

In the world of finance, the effects of the "confidence gap" can be especially apparent.

Surprises

Making the most of surprises is a great reason to work with us.

View all videos