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What data regarding IRS audits tells us

It's natural to fear a tax audit by the IRS as audits have consequences. An adverse ruling as a result of an audit can lead to penalties and, in some instances, imprisonment.

The IRS recently released statistics concerning 2016 tax audits. These statistics summarize results concerning close to 1.2 million tax audits conducted during the year. Besides impacting individual taxpayers, there were a significant amount of corporate tax returns facing scrutiny as well.

The IRS accomplished the majority of audits through correspondence (791,233). However, the IRS also performed 243,722 audits through field audits. During a field audit, you can expect IRS auditors to visit your office or home.

One item in the findings sticks out: the vast majority of the audits led to changes in how much taxpayers owed. Only eight percent of field audits concerning individual taxpayers resulted in no change. And only 11 percent of correspondence audits resulted in no change for individual taxpayers.

The change in the amounts owed for taxpayers generally were not small. The recommended additional tax dollars owed for everyone audited amounted on average to several thousand dollars for individual taxpayers. Not surprisingly, approximately 29,000 individuals did not agree with the IRS recommendations.

If you as a Michigan taxpayer find yourself in the position of facing an IRS audit, it might be wise to contact an experienced tax attorney to discover all of your legal options. Most of us do not have the resources set aside to cover what the IRS suggests you will owe following an audit. It is therefore important to discover the most prudent strategy to take when facing the prospect of an audit, or when asked by the IRS to pay additional tax dollars.

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