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How much do I have to worry about an IRS audit?

Although most Americans have already filed their 2013 taxes and are waiting to hear back from the IRS, there are still some who have yet to submit their returns. One of the thoughts on many taxpayers’ minds after submitting their tax return is, “I hope everything was correct.” This is a natural though, and most of us have heard stories about the IRS auditing individuals and businesses for potential tax fraud or evasion.

The reality with IRS audits, though, is that most people really don’t have to worry about them too much. Last year, roughly one percent of taxpayers were audited. This year, according to the IRS, that number is expected to be even lower because of budget cuts.  This year, the number of agents conducting audits is actually the least there has been since the 1980s. 

This does not mean, of course, that taxpayers therefore should feel okay about fudging their numbers and leaving out income. Not only is this dishonest, but the IRS will still pay attention to obvious mistakes. In addition, taxpayers should always do their best to report their income accurate, so that they have nothing to hide if they end up being subjected to an audit.

In some cases, of course, there are simple mistakes that lead to an IRS audit. When this happens, it can be alarming to a taxpayer. Those facing this situation can benefit from working with an experienced tax attorney who understands the auditing process and how to work with the IRS. 

Source: ABC News, “Files Those Taxes, But Don’t Worry Too Much About Getting Audited,” Colleen Curry, April 14, 2014. 

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