Fewer IRS Agents Mean Less Chance You’ll Get Audited This Year

Consumers with a perpetual worry of being audited each year can breathe a sigh of relief. Okay, maybe not totally, some people are still going to be audited after tomorrow’s tax deadline comes and goes, but the chances of such an audit are unusually slim this year.

In fact, budget cuts and fewer agents mean the chances of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service are lower than they have been in years, the Associated Press reports.

Last year, the IRS audited only 0.9% of people making less than $200,000; the lowest rate since the agency started publishing the statistic in 2006. For consumers who made more than $1 million last year, only 10.9% were audited; the lowest rate for that group since 2010. Officials with the agency expect both numbers to be even lower this year.

“We keep going after the people who look like the worst of the bad guys,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen tells the AP. “But there are going to be some people that we should catch, either in terms of collecting the revenue from them or prosecuting them, that we’re not going to catch.”

Still, the chances of pulling a fast one on the government aren’t too great, either. Officials say, improved technology will help to pick up the slack where agents may have once worked.

The agency’s computers are likely to catch errors or discrepancies on tax returns. For example, if you report making $40,000 in wages and your employer tells the IRS you made $50,000, the computers will catch that.

While the likelihood of getting audited is lower this year, so is the chance of actually reaching someone at the IRS to answer your tax questions. Last year only 61% of callers to the IRS received help. Officials say this year won’t be any different.

Although you probably won’t face an audit this year, it’s always nice to know the five mistakes that most often lead to correspondence with the IRS.

And, as always, remember that Consumerist’s very own Tax Dad has been answering consumer tax questions this year.

Chances of getting audited by IRS lowest in years [The Washington Post]