How to Handle an IRS Audit of Your Tax Return

Keys to success in handling an IRS audit include being well prepared, establishing credibility, and keeping your wits about you.

magnifying glass over tax calculator
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Regardless of why you're chosen, it's quite a shock to learn that you have to deal with an IRS audit. Even if you have no reason to think you did anything wrong, you can't escape the anxiety that accompanies an IRS audit notice. 

For one thing, the tax return being audited is unlikely to be the one you just filed. (The IRS generally has three years from the due date of your return to initiate an audit. So, for example, the IRS generally has until April 18, 2023, to flag your timely filed 2019 return for an examination.) 

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Kevin McCormally
Chief Content Officer, Kiplinger Washington Editors
McCormally retired in 2018 after more than 40 years at Kiplinger. He joined Kiplinger in 1977 as a reporter specializing in taxes, retirement, credit and other personal finance issues. He is the author and editor of many books, helped develop and improve popular tax-preparation software programs, and has written and appeared in several educational videos. In 2005, he was named Editorial Director of The Kiplinger Washington Editors, responsible for overseeing all of our publications and Web site. At the time, Editor in Chief Knight Kiplinger called McCormally "the watchdog of editorial quality, integrity and fairness in all that we do." In 2015, Kevin was named Chief Content Officer and Senior Vice President.
With contributions from