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Forms and Instructions

Individual Tax Return
Instructions for Form 1040
Request for Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and Certification
Request for Transcript of Tax Return


Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return
Employers engaged in a trade or business who pay compensation
Installment Agreement Request

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Amend/Fix Return
Apply for Power of Attorney
Apply for an ITIN
Rules Governing Practice before IRS

Enforcement: Examinations

Section 2 of the Data Book deals with IRS examinations (audits) of returns to determine if income, expenses, and credits are being reported accurately. The IRS enforces the tax law in a number of ways; the more common methods include correspondence (examination by mail) and field (face-to-face audit) examinations. This section provides information about examinations of most types of tax returns such as income tax, estate and gift tax, employment tax, and excise tax. Information is also provided about examinations of tax-exempt organizations.

Graphic on the left shows total returns filed in calendar year 2016. There were 196 million returns filed in calendar year 2016 and the IRS audited approximately 0.5 percent in fiscal year 2017.

View details (XLS). For additional graphs from this section, download the PDF of this year’s Data Book.

Highlights of the Data


  • The IRS audited almost 1.1 million tax returns, approximately 0.5 percent of all returns filed in Calendar Year 2016 (Table 9a).
  • IRS conducted the majority of Fiscal Year 2017 audits, 70.8 percent, via correspondence. The remaining 29.2 percent were conducted in the field (Table 9a).

  • Of the almost 1.1 million examinations of tax returns, almost 34,000 resulted in additional refunds to the taxpayer totaling more than $6.0 billion (Table 12).

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