You Filed Your Taxes. Are You Going to Get Audited?

The IRS slapped Americans with an additional $34 billion in levies last year. It depends, in part, on how rich you are.

Uh-oh. You messed something up on your tax return. What now?

Audits alone found an additional $25 billion in taxes owed last year, half of that from individual returns. Budget cuts at the Internal Revenue Service have made it harder for the agency to spot mistakes and evasions, but worst-case scenarios include a financial penalty and a prison term. Correcting the return yourself could spare you some anxiety and paperwork if the IRS should eventually notice.

The IRS collected about 2.6 billion documents last year, including W-2 and 1099 forms and other filings. These can reveal a lot about taxpayers' financial lives. IRS computers take all this information and compare it to filed tax returns. Did you forget to report some freelance income? Is there a typo in the amount of student loan interest you claimed you paid? When the computers spot these discrepancies, they automatically recalculate your return and send you a bill.

Ben Steverman | Bloomberg

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