TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / General Tax Tips / Video: Why Does the IRS Audit People?

Video: Why Does the IRS Audit People?

Updated for Tax Year 2015


The IRS performs an audit on an individual for a wide variety of different reasons. Find out why the IRS audits people with help from TurboTax in this video on tax tips.

Hello, I'm Sara from TurboTax, with some important information about IRS audits. The IRS is in the business of collecting taxes to help pay for the programs and services the government provides. Part of that job is to enforce the tax laws and make sure everyone pays what they owe. The only way the IRS can do this is by verifying some returns through an audit.

The IRS uses different types of audits to verify tax returns. It can range from simple correspondence by mail to an IRS agent visiting you at work or home. If your tax return is chosen for an audit, it does not mean you are in trouble. Just be sure to organize your documents and provide the IRS with everything it asks for.

Many of you probably wonder what your chances are of being audited. Although it is nearly impossible to calculate the chances of this happening, the IRS does reveal some of the methods it uses. Every tax return you submit initially receives a scored called The Discriminate Function Score. Though the IRS will not say what type of things effect your score, it does acknowledge that a higher score is more likely to result in an audit.

Many times a return can also be chosen because you report something out of the ordinary such as a charitable deduction that equals half your income or even when you fail to send a tax return at all.

Then, there are the random audits the IRS performs just to keep everyone honest. All TurboTax products come with our Audit Support Center which can help you identify the different types of IRS correspondence and plan your response if you are contacted. We also scan your return for common audit triggers before you file. For those who want even more peace of mind, TurboTax also offers Audit Defense for an additional fee which gives you full representation by a tax professional if you are audited.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99$34.99*
Start for Free

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal efile of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected 3/18/16. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available via phone for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2014 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • Benefit Assist: After you file, TurboTax automatically shows you a full list of government benefits you may qualify for, like Food Stamps or reduced phone & utilities. Plus, we help you apply, saving you time and making it easier than ever to get more money! Estimate based on calculation of Benefit Assist users from tax year 2013 and published reports of average benefit and savings amounts from federal and state programs. Benefit Assist users who received one or more federal or state benefits received on average $576 (based on survey March-June 2015). Actual amounts and qualifications based on your individual situation; some individuals will not qualify. Feature may not be available for all customers.