How Often Does the IRS Make Mistakes?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for processing millions of tax returns each year. While the IRS strives for accuracy, mistakes can happen. Understanding the frequency and types of errors the IRS makes can help taxpayers identify and address any potential issues.

Frequency of IRS Mistakes

According to a 2017 study by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS makes errors in less than 1% of the returns it processes. This means that for every 10,000 tax returns filed, the IRS makes an error on just 100 of them.

While 1% may seem like a small number, it still translates to a significant number of errors given the vast volume of returns processed by the IRS. In 2022, the IRS processed over 155 million individual tax returns. Based on the TIGTA study, this means that over 1.5 million returns may have contained errors.

Types of IRS Mistakes

IRS mistakes can take various forms, including:

  • Mathematical errors: These are simple math errors, such as addition or subtraction mistakes, that can occur during data entry or calculations.

  • Auditor misinterpretation: Auditors may misinterpret tax laws or guidelines, leading to incorrect assessments.

  • Data entry errors: Errors can occur during the manual or electronic entry of data, such as transposed numbers or incorrect names.

  • Omission of income or deductions: The IRS may fail to include all sources of income or deductions

Does the IRS ever make a mistake during the audit process?


Is it possible that the IRS make mistakes?

When the IRS makes an error, you must be vigilant about preserving your appeal rights and meeting the appropriate deadlines. If you think an IRS mistake is costing you more penalties and back taxes than you actually owe, consult with our tax controversy attorneys.

How often does the IRS catch mistakes?

Regardless of whether you’re among the “high-income, high-wealth individuals” the IRS is targeting this year, your chances of being audited are still pretty slim: Of the roughly 165 million returns the IRS received in 2022, approximately 626,204, or less than 0.4%, were audited.

How common are errors on tax returns?

The IRS found nearly 2.5 million math errors on returns filed for the 2017 tax year, according to statistics for the agency’s 2018 fiscal year. The errors range from a simple mistake in addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division to selecting the wrong number from a tax table or schedule.

How long does it take IRS to correct their mistake?

The current processing time is more than 20 weeks for both paper and electronically filed amended returns. See our processing status dashboard for timeframes. Additionally, calling the IRS will not speed up return processing.

Are You making errors on Your Retirement Income Tax Return?

The IRS knows that a substantial number of filers make errors on their income tax returns with respect to retirement payouts, with most of the mistakes coming from taxpayers who don’t qualify for an exception to the 10% additional tax on early distributions. The IRS is looking at this issue closely.

What happens if the IRS makes a mistake on your tax return?

Generally, you can file a claim for a credit or refund within three years of the date you filed your original return. Every year, millions of Americans spend money to have their taxes done to avoid mistakes, but what happens when the IRS makes an error? Here’s what to do.

Did the IRS make a mistake in tabulating my taxes?

If you suspect that the IRS has made a mistake in tabulating your taxes, here’s what you should do: 1. Have your documentation handy If you feel that the IRS assessment of what your tax liability should be is in error, compile your paperwork to prove it.

What are the most common tax mistakes?

Math errors are some of the most common mistakes. They range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex calculations. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, tax prep software does it automatically. Figuring credits or deductions.

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