Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs)


These Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) help IRS examiners during audits by providing insight into issues and accounting methods unique to specific industries. While ATGs are designed to provide guidance for IRS employees, they’re also useful to small business owners and tax professionals who prepare returns.

ATGs explain industry-specific examination techniques and include common, as well as, unique industry issues, business practices and terminology. Guidance is also provided on the examination of income, interview techniques and evaluation of evidence. So they may be helpful for business and tax planning purposes. To find out more about how these guides may be helpful to you, watch this short video.

Audit Techniques Guides are available here in Adobe PDF, or as webpages, or both. The PDF versions must be viewed with the Acrobat Reader.

Note: These guides are current through the publication date. Since changes may have occurred after the publication date that would affect the accuracy of these documents, no guarantees are made concerning the technical accuracy after the publication date. Please note obsolete or outdated guides will be removed.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Activities Not Engaged in for Profit Internal Revenue Code Section 183 PDF
Publication Date: 09/2021
This audit techniques guide (ATG) has been developed to provide guidance to Revenue Agents and Tax Compliance Officers in pursuing the application of IRC § 183, Activities Not Engaged in for Profit (sometimes referred to as the "hobby loss rule").

Aerospace Industry
Publication Date:
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating research credit in the aerospace industry. The guide focuses on the particular unique aspects of the industry and provides examiners tools and tests to utilize in evaluating and auditing research credit.

Attorneys Audit Technique Guide PDF
Publication Date: 01/2022
The Attorneys Audit Techniques Guide is intended to provide guidance to the examiner who is auditing a taxpayer who is an attorney or an attorney firm and to provide tax related guidance to taxpayers and other professionals in this industry.

Capitalization of Tangible Property PDF
Publication Date: 09/2022
This Audit Techniques Guide is for IRS examiners to use as a tool for identifying potential tax issues. Examiners are advised to carefully risk assess and apply the law to the facts and circumstances for issues involving capitalization and dispositions of tangible property.

Child Care Provider PDF
Publication Date: 01/2022
This Audit Techniques Guide will provide information on tax related issues pertaining to the child care providers industry. It provides guidance on accounting for income and deductions. Intended audiences are taxpayers, tax professionals and IRS examiners.

Conservation Easement PDF
Publication Date:
Audit Techniques Guide providing guidance on charitable contributions of conservation easements.

Construction Industry PDF
Publication Date:
Overview of the industry including a glossary. Discusses types of contracts; types of contractors; methods of accounting; and joint ventures. See Examination and Closing Procedures Form 8697, Look-Back Interest, for general information regarding the application of Form 8697, Interest Computation Under the Look-Back Method for Completed Long-Term Contracts.

Cost Segregation PDF
Publication Date:
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating cost segregation studies submitted by taxpayers in support of depreciation deductions. The guide is also beneficial for taxpayers and practitioners in preparing these studies.

Credit for Increasing Research Activities (i.e. Research Tax Credit) IRC § 41
Publication Date: 06/2005
This audit techniques guide sets forth the Research Credit Technical Advisors’ suggested guidelines for auditing research credit issues.

Entertainment Audit Technique Guide PDF
Publication Date:
The Entertainment Audit Techniques Guide (ATG) provides technical information for common issues in the entertainment industry. The Guide contains examination techniques, common and unique industry issues, business practices, industry terminology and other information to assist examiners in performing examinations.

Equity (Stock) - Based Compensation Audit Techniques Guide PDF
Publication Date:
This ATG was developed to assist examiners to evaluate equity (stock)-based compensation. The term "equity-based compensation" includes any compensation paid to an employee, director, or independent contractor that is based on the value of specified stock.

Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning Services PDF 
Publication Date:
The Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning Services Audit Techniques Guide provides an overview of the indoor tanning tax and examination direction. Intended audiences are taxpayers, tax professionals and IRS examiners.

Golden Parachute PDF 
Publication Date:
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating parachute examinations. The parachute examination can occur during the examination of either the corporation's or the individual's return.

IC-DISC Audit Guide
Publication Date:
This IC-DISC Audit Guide is intended to provide guidance to examiners who are auditing a Form 1120 IC-DISC and/or its related shareholder(s).

IRC 162(m) Salary Deduction Limitation
Publication Date:
Every publicly held corporation maintains its executive compensation records differently. Likewise, every publicly held corporation maintains different methods for compensating its executives. As the examining agent, you must first learn the identity of the individual(s) within the corporation who are most familiar with how the executive compensation records are maintained.

Low-Income Housing Credit - Guide for Completing Form 8823 PDF 
Publication Date:
The purpose of this guide is to provide standardized operational definitions for the noncompliance categories listed on Form 8823. The Form 8823 Guide provides state agencies with a single accumulative reference of current legal authorities needed for determining whether a Form 8823 must be filed with the IRS under Treas. Reg. 1.42-5(e)(3), along with guidelines and examples of the laws application to specific fact patterns.

Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation PDF
Publication Date:
The Service has prepared a comprehensive audit techniques guide to assist examiners in evaluating non-qualified deferred compensation. A nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan is any elective or nonelective plan, agreement, method, or arrangement between an employer and an employee (or service recipient and service provider) to pay the employee compensation sometime in the future.

Oil and Gas Audit Technique Guide PDF
Publication Date:
This guide introduces examiners to and assists them in the examination of income tax returns of taxpayers in the oil and gas industry.

Petroleum Refining Audit Technique Guide PDF 
Publication Date:
Audit Technique Guide for the Petroleum Refining Industry.

Pharmaceuticals Industry Research Credit Audit Technique Guide PDF
Publication Date: 04/2024
This audit techniques guide (ATG) provides guidelines for an IRS examiner reviewing the credit for increasing research activities reported by taxpayers in the pharmaceutical industry. It also provides helpful information to industry taxpayers.

Real Estate Property Foreclosure and Cancellation of Debt PDF 
Publication Date:
The Real Estate Property Foreclosure and Cancellation of Debt Audit Technique Guide is intended to provide guidance to Revenue Agents and Tax Compliance Officers conducting examinations of real estate foreclosures and cancellation of debt income.

Rehabilitation Tax Credit PDF
Publication Date:
Provides examiners with audit aids (i.e. issue checksheet, pro forma Information Document Request, and standardized audit reports, etc.) which assist in identifying and addressing common rehab tax credit issues.

Research Credit Claims: Credit for Increasing Research Activities § 41
Publication Date:
See table of contents for publication/revision date for the individual chapters, exhibits, and letters & forms. This guide provides guidance on the handling and evaluation of research credit claims.

Retail Industry PDF
Publication Date:
Provides guidance on conducting income tax examinations in the retail industry. It incorporates practical procedures and techniques that are unique to the retail industry.

Sections 48A and 48B - Advanced Coal and Gasification Project Credits PDF
Publication Date:
Section 46 provides that the amount of investment credit for purposes of § 38 for any taxable year is the sum of the credits listed in § 46. Section 1307(a) of the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005, Pub. L. 109-58, 119 Stat. 594 (August 8, 2005), amended § 46 to add two new credits to that list: The qualifying advanced coal project credit, (section 48A) and the qualifying gasification project credit, (section 48B).

Split Dollar Life Insurance PDF
Publication Date:
Split-dollar life insurance arrangements can be a key feature of executive compensation packages. Over the years, the Service has provided limited guidance regarding the taxation of these arrangements. Beginning in 2001, transitional guidance on the valuation of split-dollar life insurance arrangements was provided in the form of notices and proposed regulations in anticipation of final regulations.