How often can I get audited? If my business gets audited, can the IRS audit my personal return?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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There is no limit on how many times a taxpayer can be audited by the IRS. Typically, the IRS will initiate a second audit if they discover discrepancies during the first audit that gives them reason to believe that additional tax returns for other years may also contain inaccurate declarations of income or improper deductions. If the IRS continues to uncover information that makes them doubt the validity of previous income tax returns, the auditing can go on for an indefinite period of time.

Most taxpayers will survive a first audit and will not be subject to another audit for many years. Some taxpayers may not ever be audited again. However, if you falsified information on your tax returns or made the same errors many years in a row, the situation can get complicated. It is strongly recommended that taxpayers who suspect that they could be subject to multiple audits consult an experienced tax attorney who can advise you on how to approach the IRS.

At the conclusion of the first audit, the IRS will issue an audit report. You should carefully review the report with an attorney, if possible, and determine whether there is anything in the report that could trigger another audit of a prior year’s income tax return.

If you are a business owner and your business tax return gets audited, it is a strong possibility that the IRS could issue an audit notice for your personal return. Generally, after completing an audit of the business return, the IRS will pursue an audit of a personal income tax return if they discovered information during the audit of the business return that causes them to question the accuracy of the personal income tax return. A common scenario that causes the personal income tax returns of business owners to be audited following the audit of a business return, is when a business continues to show a loss in profits, but the owner continues to declare an annual income on the personal return that does not match accordingly. 

Sometimes an audit is triggered merely due to simple mistakes made by taxpayers which can be easily corrected without severe penalties.

However, if you find yourself in a complicated situation where multiple audits can be triggered, you should work with an attorney who will help you alleviate or eliminate some of your tax burdens that are discovered during the audits.

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