Will Fewer Audits Lead to More Cheating?

There’s an old saying that cheaters never prosper. Of course, there are probably many people who have gotten away with cheating that would beg to differ. When it comes to taxes, however, it’s always best to avoid cheating. Surely, some people do get away with it, but if you ever get caught it could cost you dearly. So why all the talk about cheating? We certainly don’t condone cheating on your taxes at GROCO, but some people might be under the impression that this could be a good year to try.

Why is that? Well, according to recent reports from the IRS, because of budget cuts, the agency will be doing a lot fewer audits this year. That means more false or erroneous returns are likely to slip through the cracks. While fewer audits are good news for taxpayers, it could also be bad news at the same time for those who are chosen for audits. The IRS estimates it will do about 1 million audits this year, down from 1.2 million in 2014 and 1.4 million in 2012.

You might think that with fewer audits to perform the process might go a little quicker, but with a depleted staff the IRS expects that the audit process could actually take longer than normal. In any case, with fewer audits expected the IRS warns that that is not a reason for people to think they can get away with brazen cheating.

 Plus, even though you might avoid an audit this year, the IRS has three years to go back and audit a return after it has been filed. Plus, if someone bluffs on their income by 25 percent or more the tax agency has as long as six years to review his or her return. Add to that the fact that the IRS’s budget could improve in coming years, which would give them more money and staff to work with, and cheating on your taxes should seem less tempting.

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