Are You Likely to Get Audited?

What's Hot


The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

How a Mexican Tariff Will Boost the Cost of 6 Common PurchasesFamily

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

How to Protect Yourself From the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Phone ScamFamily

Report: Walmart to Begin Selling CarsCars

Is Your TV Tracking You? Here’s How to Tell — and Prevent ItAround The House

Trump Scraps FHA Rate Cut — What Does It Mean for You?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

11 Staging Tips to Help You Get Top Dollar When Selling Your HomeAround The House

8 Tuition-Free U.S. CollegesCollege

10 Overlooked Expenses That Ruin Your BudgetFamily

4 Car Insurers That Might Raise Rates Even When the Accident Wasn’t Your FaultCars

How to Invest If Trump Kills the ‘Fiduciary Rule’Grow

20 Simple Hacks to Make Your Stuff Last LongerAround The House

12 Surprising Ways to Wreck Your Credit ScoreBorrow

Find out if you live in one of the 5 metro areas where the IRS is most likely to give tax returns a closer look.

The IRS doesn’t explain how it picks targets for a tax audit. But new data show it happens most often near Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

The data come from a study done by the National Taxpayer Advocate and reported on by The Associated Press. The taxpayer advocate’s office is an independent part of the IRS, like an ombudsman, that handles complaints. It got insider access to audit data to try and figure out why some people are more likely to cheat on their taxes.

The study looked mostly at small-business owners, especially sole proprietors, because they have greater control over their cash flow than employees do — and thus more opportunity to twist the truth. It found that owners of construction and real estate rental companies are more likely to cheat on taxes, and that audits often take place in middle- to upper-class communities.

One-third of the communities where audits happened most frequently were in California, mainly near Los Angeles and San Francisco. Audits were rarer in the Midwest and the Northeast. Citizens in West Somerville, Mass., near Boston, were found to be especially unlikely to cheat on their taxes.

The study also explained that every tax return is automatically scored on the odds it’s untruthful. The score is called a Discriminant Inventory Function, and returns with a high DIF are more likely to be audited. Lawyers, accountants and architects were more likely to have low scores, the study said. (Location is not a factor in the score, but the data still showed a trend that likely reflects other factors, such as income.)

The IRS audits about 1 percent of tax returns every year, and for 2012 those investigations netted them an additional $30.4 billion in missing taxes. Worried about an audit? Check out the links below.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 25 Ways to Spend Less on Food

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,872 more deals!