Tax Tip of the Day: Jump in Audit Rates

The latest IRS Data Book shows a jump in higher-income/small business audit rates.

Individual Audits

Individual taxpayers collectively were audited at a 1.1% rate over the FY 2011 period, based on 1,564,690 audited returns out of the 140,837,499 returns that were filed. While this rate is about the same as in 2010, variations occurred within the income ranges. An uptick was particularly noticeable in the upper brackets (see statistics, below).

Both correspondence and field audits were counted within the statistics. Correspondence audits accounted for 75% of all audits for FY 2011 (down from 77.1% in FY 2010), while audits conducted face-to-face by revenue agents were only 25% of the total, albeit representing an increase from the 21.7% level in FY 2010. Business returns and higher-income individuals are more likely to experience an audit by a revenue agent; while correspondence audits are generally single-issue audits, a revenue agent is likely to explore other issues “while he or she is there.”

Examination Coverage: Individuals

The following audit statistics taken from the FY 2011 Data Book (and contrasted with FY 2010 Data Book stats) show an increase in the audit rate especially in proportion to adjusted gross income (AGI) level:

  • No AGI: 3.42% (3.19% in 2010)
  • Under $25K: 1.22% (1.18% in 2010)
  • $25K-$50K: 0.73% (0.73% in 2010)
  • $50K-$75K: 0.83% (0.78% in 2010)
  • $75K-$100K: 0.82% (0.64% in 2010)
  • $100K-$200K: 1.00% (0.71% in 2010)
  • $200K-$500K: 2.66% (1.92% in 2010)
  • $500K-$1M: 5.38% (3.37% in 2010)
  • $1M-$5M: 11.80% (6.67% in 2010)
  • $5M-$10M: 20.75% (11.55% in 2010)
  • $10M and over: 29.93% (18.38% in 2010)

Corporate/Other Returns

The audit rates for corporations are consistent with the deficiency experience that the IRS has had examining corporations of varying sizes. Some selected audit rates include:

  • For small corporations showing total assets of $250K to $1M, the audit rate for FY 2011 was 1.6% (1.4% in 2010); $1M to $5 million, the rate was 1.9% (1.7% in 2010), and for $5M to $10M, the rate was 2.6% (3% in 2010).
  • For larger corporations showing total assets of $10M-$50M, the audit rate was 13.3% (13.4% in 2010) in contrast to those at the top end with total assets from $5B to $20B (50.5% (45.3% in 2010)).
  • For S corporations and partnerships, the overall audit rate was 0.4% (same as in 2010), in contrast to an overall 1.5% rate for corporations (1.4% in 2010).

Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.

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