Taxing Times: How Likely Am I To Be Audited?

Experts say the IRS knows to look for certain criteria in filings that feel suspicious.
Posted at 7:00 AM, Apr 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-11 09:00:00-04

It's important to enter accurate information when filing taxes. If you don't — even if it's by mistake — you risk being audited by the IRS. 

I'm not an expert, but we talked to lots of them and asked: How likely is it that I'll be audited?    

"The reality is only about 1 percent of all taxpayers get audited each year," said Mark Steber, chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

The probability is low, and experts say the IRS knows to look for certain criteria in filings that feel suspicious. 

"The IRS might flag things like virtual currency, large charitable donations, or any real deduction or credit that's kind of outside the norm for the IRS algorithm," Steber said.

But if you get a letter in the mail from the IRS, don't panic. It could just be an adjustment letter.  

"Sometimes if there is a small error, like a mathematical error in your return or something like that, the IRS will automatically fix that. But they'll send you a letter or sometimes they're just verifying information," said Lisa Greene-Lewis, tax expert at TurboTax.

For more information on the 2020 tax season, visit

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