Being audited can be a nerve-wracking experience. After getting through the process, many individuals wonder about the likelihood of facing another audit in the future.
It is wise to explore the factors that may influence the chances of a reaudit and to learn what you can expect after your initial encounter with the IRS.
Random selection vs. red flags
Firstly, it is important to understand that audits can occur for various reasons. Some audits result from random selection, where the IRS chooses returns to review without any specific cause. On the other hand, certain red flags, such as inconsistencies or unusual deductions, may trigger an audit. If your initial audit was random, the chances of facing another due to the same random selection are relatively low.
Frequency of audits
The frequency of audits varies for different individuals. Some taxpayers may not ever experience an audit, while others may face them more than once. The IRS uses a computerized system to identify potential issues in tax returns, and if your return has multiple flags, the likelihood of a reaudit increases.
Changes in filing status
Life changes, such as a significant increase in income or a change in filing status, can impact your chances of subsequent audits. For example, if your financial situation remains consistent, the likelihood of facing another audit may be lower. However, substantial changes in your financial profile may attract the attention of the IRS.
Note, too, that audits do not just happen to those reporting very high incomes. A Syracuse University report found that in 2021, the lowest-income wage earners were five times as likely to experience an audit as taxpayers of other income levels.
After undergoing an audit, take corrective measures to address any issues identified by the IRS. Making sure that future tax returns are accurate and well-documented can contribute to a smoother filing process and reduce the likelihood of another audit.
Because further audits are a possibility, it is important to be aware of potential triggers to minimize the chances of going through one again.