After you file your taxes, the IRS may decide to review what you submitted to ensure it is correct. This is the auditing process, and it can happen to anyone, no matter their situation or financial circumstances.
According to the IRS, the purpose of the auditing process is to ensure an individual’s financial information and accounts align with what he or she reported and to make sure the tax amount is right. While you may assume that an audit means there is a problem with your taxes, this is not necessarily the case.
How the IRS selects returns for audits
There are two ways the IRS selects tax returns for audits: through random selection and through related examinations. Through random selection, the IRS often chooses returns to audit based on a statistical formula. Through related examinations, the IRS may choose returns to review that typically involve issues.
Documents to provide
The IRS will notify you by mail that an audit of your tax return will occur. From there, the agency will conduct the auditing process through mail or an in-person interview process. In their written request for an audit, the IRS will let you know which specific documents you should provide.
Once you receive notification of an audit, how long the process takes depends on your situation, the complexity of your tax situation and the information the IRS wants to review. You have a right to legal representation during the auditing process, and you should take steps to protect your interests if the IRS notifies you that they want to audit your records.