The IRS examines (audits) tax returns to verify that the tax reported is correct.
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The IRS audits your tax return to make sure that you correctly reported all your income, deductions, and credits. The IRS audits returns that are the most likely to have errors, based on complex criteria. During an audit, the IRS will ask for documents or other proof of the items in question on your return.
The IRS has three years from the date you file your return to start and finish an audit. Most audits are started within one year of the date the return was filed and take less than a year to complete.
There are three types of audits:
- Mail audits are usually limited to just one or two issues and are done entirely by mail. This is the most common type of audit.
- Field audits are conducted by an IRS agent at your home or business and are more complicated examinations.
- Office audits are also more complex, and usually take place at an IRS office.
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Related tax terms
Related IRS notices
IRS Letter 525 - The IRS is Auditing Your Form 1040 and Needs a Response From You
IRS Letter 566 - The IRS Has Selected Your Tax Return For Audit
IRS Notice CP75 - Exam Initial Contact Letter - EIC Entire Refund Frozen
IRS Letter 2202 - Your Federal Income Tax Return Has Been Selected for Examination
IRS Letter 2205 - Your Federal Income Tax Return Has Been Selected for Examination