If you want to avoid a tax audit this year, here’s the best piece of advice: don’t make millions.
According to the most recent data from the IRS, only 1 in 143 Americans faced an audit in 2015. Those making around the median income faced the lowest audit rates, with only 1 in 244 people who made between $50,000 and $75,000 a year being subjected to one.
Millionaire earners had much higher odds of getting audited. Those who made between $1 million and $5 million in adjusted gross income faced nearly a 1 in 20 chance of getting audited. Those making $5 million to $10 million faced a more than 1 in 10 chance.
Super earners, or those making more than $10 million in 2015, faced by far the highest audit rates. Fully 19 percent of them were audited in 2015 — or nearly 1 in 5.
Audits of the rich tend to yield more dollars than those on the middle class or merely affluent individuals, so it makes sense the IRS would go where the money is.
Still, while audit rates for the wealthy are higher than they were a decade ago, they are way down from the previous year. In 2014, more than a third of those making $10 million or more were audited. And 19 percent of those making $5 million to $10 million were audited.
There is one rich taxpayer, however, who is 100 percent certain to be audited this year: Donald Trump. Ever since Watergate, the president of the United States has been automatically audited by the IRS.
Since Trump says he will not publicly release his taxes while he’s under audit, the IRS may be the only one who ever sees his returns.