How Often Are Amended Tax Returns Audited

The likelihood of an amended tax return being audited depends on several factors. Generally, amended returns are audited more frequently than original returns, as the IRS scrutinizes changes made to previously filed information. The significance of the changes, such as the amount of additional tax owed or the nature of the adjustments, can also influence the audit risk. Additionally, the IRS may target amended returns for specific issues, such as unreported income or improper deductions, based on known patterns or trends. It’s important to note that the audit rate for amended returns varies from year to year, and the IRS may prioritize certain types of amended returns for review.

Triggers for an Amended Tax Return Audit

Amending a tax return can be necessary to correct errors or make changes based on new information. However, it’s important to be aware that amended returns are more likely to be audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) than original returns.

  • Significant changes: Making substantial changes to your reported income, deductions, or credits can trigger an audit. This includes adding new deductions, altering business expenses, or claiming a different filing status.
  • Mathematical errors: Errors in calculations or mathematical mistakes on an amended return can raise red flags and increase the likelihood of an audit.
  • Suspicious deductions: Claiming deductions that are uncommon or seem inflated can draw the IRS’s attention, especially if the deductions are not well-documented or supported by evidence.
  • Late filing: Amending a return after the original filing deadline can also increase the chances of an audit. The IRS is more likely to scrutinize late-filed returns for potential errors or fraud.
  • Multiple amendments: Filing multiple amended returns for the same tax year can raise concerns and make the IRS more likely to suspect intentional errors or tax avoidance schemes.
Reason for AmendmentAudit Risk
Correcting minor errorsLow
Changing filing statusModerate
Adding significant deductionsHigh
Claiming large tax refundsVery high

Probability of Audit Based on Amendment Details

The likelihood of an amended tax return being audited depends on various factors, including the nature of the amendments made:

  • Math errors: Minor math errors are less likely to trigger an audit.
  • Income increase: Amending to report additional income increases the risk of audit, especially if significant.
  • Deduction changes: Altering deductions, particularly large or unusual ones, can raise red flags.
  • Late filing: Amending after the tax filing deadline may increase the chance of audit.
  • Audit history: Taxpayers with a recent audit history may face higher scrutiny.

Additionally, certain types of amended returns are more likely to be audited, such as:

  • Corrected returns: Significant changes or corrections to previously filed returns can prompt an audit.
  • Claims for large refunds: Amending to request a substantial refund may trigger an audit.
  • Forms and schedules with high error rates: Returns with specific forms or schedules known for frequent errors have a higher audit probability.

While the exact probability of audit for amended returns is not publicly available, a study by the Taxpayer Advocate Service found that around 1% of all individual tax returns are audited, and amended returns have a slightly higher risk of audit compared to original returns.

Amendment TypeAudit Risk
Math errorsLow
Income increaseMedium
Deduction changesMedium to High
Corrected returnsHigh
Large refundsHigh

## IRS Resources and Audit Capacity

The IRS has limited resources available for audits. In recent years, the IRS has faced budget cuts and staff reductions, which have impacted its ability to conduct audits.

The IRS prioritizes audits based on the potential for tax fraud or non-compliance. Audits are more likely to be conducted for taxpayers who have complex tax returns, high incomes, or have been identified as having a high risk of non-compliance.

The IRS uses a variety of methods to select tax returns for audit. These methods include:

  • Computerized screening programs
  • Random sampling
  • Information matching programs
  • Leads from other sources, such as whistleblowers

The IRS’s audit rate has declined in recent years. In 2023, the IRS audited about 0.6% of all individual income tax returns. This is down from an audit rate of about 1.1% in 2010.

## Table: IRS Audit Rates

YearIndividual Income Tax Returns AuditedAudit Rate

Tips for Avoiding an Audit after Amending

Amending your tax return can be a necessary step to correct errors or provide additional information, but it also increases the chances of your return being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To minimize the risk of an audit, follow these tips:

  • File early. The sooner you file your amended return, the less time the IRS has to scrutinize it.
  • Be accurate. Carefully proofread your amended return for any errors or omissions. Even minor mistakes can trigger an audit.
  • Provide clear explanations. Use the “Explanation of Changes” section to provide detailed explanations of any changes you made to your original return.
  • Attach supporting documents. Include copies of any documents that support your amended return, such as new income statements, expense receipts, or medical bills.

In addition to these general tips, there are specific actions you can take to avoid an audit based on the type of amendment you are filing:

Type of AmendmentActions to Avoid Audit
Claimed a new deduction or credit
  • Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for the deduction or credit.
  • Keep detailed records of any expenses or other information used to support your claim.
  • Changed your filing status
  • If you changed your filing status to married filing jointly, make sure your spouse signs the amended return.
  • If you changed your filing status to head of household, be prepared to provide documentation that supports your claim.
  • Corrected an error
  • Clearly explain the error you made on your original return and how you corrected it.
  • Attach copies of any relevant documents that support your correction.
  • Well, there you have it, folks! Now you know the odds when it comes to amended tax returns and audits. Remember, while it’s unlikely, it’s always a good idea to be accurate and file your returns on time. Just think of it as playing the lottery – you never know when your number might come up!

    Thanks for joining me on this little adventure. If you’ve got any other burning tax questions, be sure to come back and check out my articles again. Who knows, you might even learn something that saves you a pretty penny! Until next time, keep those taxes in check!