U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s Audit Rate at 15-year Low

The IRS audit rate for 2017 was the lowest since 2002, according to statistics released on 29 March, 2018, by the IRS. For the report, see https://www.irs.gov/statistics/enforcement-examinations.  Overall, the audit rate slipped to 0.6%, as budget cuts over the last several years continued to erode the agency’s manpower and ability to enforce the tax law. The number of employees involved in examinations was 31,049 in 2017, down from 32,920 in 2016. Those personnel audited some 1.1 million returns (many by correspondence, rather than in-person), out of more than 195 million filed.

Within those numbers, audits of employment tax returns, which are the audits of most concern to the mobility industry, fell to just 53,716 of the over 30 million returns filed, or 0.2%.  Consequently, the odds of an audit of relocation home sale programs, gross-ups and other employee relocation benefits have again declined. In contrast, the IRS audited some 1.0% of corporate returns.

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