The U.S. Internal Revenue Service audited 5.3 percent fewer taxpayers in 2012 compared with 2011, according to data released today by the agency.
The IRS audit rate for individuals declined to 1.0 percent from 1.1 percent.
High-income taxpayers are much more likely to get audited than others. In 2012, the IRS audited 12.1 percent of individuals with income exceeding $1 million, down from 12.5 percent the year before.
Taxpayers making between $50,000 and $100,000 have the least chance of being audited, according to the data. Of those taxpayers, IRS examined 64 out of every 10,000 returns, or 0.6 percent.
By contrast, the IRS examined returns for 27.4 percent of taxpayers who reported adjusted gross incomes exceeding $10 million.
The IRS budget was reduced to $12.1 billion in fiscal 2012 from $12.4 billion the year before. At the end of the fiscal year, the agency had 89,551 workers, down 2 percent.
The data released today demonstrate the rise in identity theft occurring through tax returns. The taxpayer advocate service, an independent organization within the IRS, received 54,748 identity theft cases in 2012, up 61 percent from the prior year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at email@example.com