IRS Audit Statistics: Rates and Chances of Receiving a Tax Audit
The 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 Amount of IRS Audits on Individual Tax Returns
|FY 2016||FY 2017||FY 2018|
|Total Returns Filed Prior CY||147,964,324||149,919,416||150,043,227||152,624,939|
|Total Audits Conducted||1,034,955||933,785||892,817||680,543|
IRS Audit Rates by Income Level for Individuals (2018)
Percentage of Total Returns Filed in Calendar Year 2017
Percentage of Returns Audited
|No adjusted gross income|
|$1 – $24,999|
Note: The IRS did not provide this data in the same way for FY 2019 because of the coronavirus.
IRS Audit Rates/Statistics by Tax Filing Type FY 2019
Returns Filed (Prior Calendar Year)
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.