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Could we just say that it's not what people usually think of when they say "IRS audit"? Getting a letter in the mail asking for some paperwork isn't really scary.



I'd imagine a letter in the mail asking for some paperwork is pretty terrifying if you have been cheating on your taxes. :)


I think it's actually something that will raise your anxiety level even if you are "pretty honest".

Also there are some borderline issues with taxes (and/or self employment or small corp) that can give you problems.[1] (One for example is deducting for a home office, another might be charitable deductions, another might be writing off some auto usage).

Think in terms of what happens when you see the flashing lights of a police officer in back of you. Even if you haven't been speeding you don't automatically think "no problem I didn't do anything wrong" you get anxious thinking there might have been some mistake that you have made.

[1] See the typical business owner isn't Zuck and doesn't have an army of knowledgeable advisers to handle all the details. You are essentially on your own with your accountant.


I should have phrased that better. You're right, it is a bit frightening. But not on the same level as what we would think of as a real audit (I imagine, haven't had one).


But they should be scared. Why? Because it could be the tip of the iceberg. If you are able to sufficiently answer the inquiry they are generally done with you. Otoh, depending on the inquiry, if you are not you then possibly open yourself up to further scrutiny in the current year or future years.




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