The IRS has the authority to examine, in what can be termed a “real” or traditional audit, any books, papers, records, or other data that may be relevant to ascertain the correctness of any return. However, the IRS does not consider a significant number of compliance contacts with taxpayers to be “real” audits, including math error corrections, Automated Underreporter (AUR), identity and wage verification, and Automated Substitute for Return (ASFR). Yet these contacts, or “unreal” audits, require taxpayers to provide documentation or information to the IRS, comprise the majority of compliance contacts, and feel very much like a “real” examination to taxpayers. “Unreal” audits lack taxpayer protections typically found in “real” audits.
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