10 Myths About IRS Audits

It's a Common Occurrence
T. McKnight looks over forms as she prepares to file for a tax extension in New York City, 2007. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Audits don't happen as often as one would think. In fact, according to IRS examination statistics, the agency only audited 1.4 million people in 2013.And that's down 5 percent from 2012. It's also the lowest number of audits since 2008. While 1.4 million people may seem like a lot, it's really only 1 percent of all taxpayers [source:Ellis].

Here are the 2013 audit statistics, according to the IRS:

  • 0.88 percent of the people who earned less than $200,000 were audited
  • 3.26 percent of the people who earned more than $200,000 but less than $1,000,000 were audited
  • 10.85 percent of the people who earned more than $1,000,000 were audited

So, no, audits are not a common occurrence at all. Some speculate that they will happen even less often as the agency continues to lose funding and, as a result, employees. The IRS budget has been reduced by $1 billion since 2010, and it has cut around 10,000 employees. As you can probably imagine, this makes it more difficult for the IRS to keep up with its workload and to audit as many people as it might like to [source:Ellis].