IRS Audit Statistics: Rates and Chances of Receiving a Tax Audit

audit statisticsThe chance of receiving an audit generally changes based on income level and filing type. Below are IRS statistics that are broken down by individual, income level, and business type. These are the overall numbers provided by the IRS, but realize that many factors go into determining if the IRS is going to audit. IRS audits are rarely random and can be avoided by understanding how the IRS audit process works and what the typical red flags are for an IRS audit or examination.

Total IRS Audits On Individual Tax Returns (Tax Years 2015-2018)

 

Tax Year 2015 2016 2017 2018
Individual Total Returns Filed 150,675,111 150,447,029 153,062,634 153,927,628
Total Audits Closed & In Process 870,665 769,842 662,782 370,432
Percentage Audited in FY 0.57% 0.51% 0.43%  0.24%

 

*Although the IRS data book 2020 and 2019 are out, the actual percentage of individual tax returns examined by the IRS for a specific tax year gets reported by the IRS two years later. Realize because of the 3-year statute of limitations, the percentage of returns audited will increase as other examinations are opened.

Tax Year 2018 IRS Audit Rates by Income Level for Individuals (Most Recent Data)

 

 
All Returns Filed for Tax Year 2018
Percentage of Returns Examined
No adjusted gross income
.447%
2.03%
$1 - $24,999
32.07%
0.39%
$25,000-$49,999
23.82%
0.21%
$50,000-$74,999
14.11%
0.12%
$75,000-$99,999
9.08%
0.11%
$100,000-$199,999
14.34%
0.12%
$200,000-$499,999
4.79%
0.12%
$500,000-$999,999
0.81%
0.23%
$1,000,000-$4,999,999
0.36%
0.62%
$5,000,000-$9,999,999
0.02%
1.01%
$10,000,000+
0.01%
5.32%

 

IRS Audit or Examination Statistics by Tax Filing Type for Tax Year 2018

 

 
Returns Filed for Tax Year 2018
Returns Audited
Percentage Audited
Corporation (except 1120-S) 1,553,945 4,442
0.29%
S Corp 5,106,459
3,182
0.07%
Partnership 4,010,200 1,335.00
0.03%
Individual 153,927,628 370,432
0.24%

 

Overall the odds that a taxpayer will get audited have decreased over the last few years. In fact, examinations are down compared to the previous year. Generally speaking, the IRS does audit individuals with higher income because the IRS has limited resources and they get justify going after the higher-income individuals. Higher-income individuals are also more likely to have things on their tax returns that create IRS red flags than individuals with lower income.

Source: IRS Data Book 2020

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Select Tax Agency/Agencies
e.g. 10011 or New York, New York