How Long Does an IRS Audit Usually Take?

Well that can be a difficult question to answer and it's dependent on a lot to do with the taxpayer's factual circumstances. Some taxpayers are bigger, some are more complicated and some have a lot more to go through. Generally speaking, the IRS audit process shouldn't take all that long if you gather your information. If you could substantiate the items that are on the return in that meeting, the audit should be over with. Audits that take longer than a few months are a red flag for me and the reason for this is it's a sign that the auditor is engaging in a fishing expedition. You should come in with a clear plan of the audit, you should present your material and if you do so clearly and cognizantly, there shouldn't be any issue for the auditor. Here's my return, here's my substantiation, now go home. It really should be as easy as that. The problem is that most taxpayers that get audited have some sort of adjustment that the IRS is seeking to make. So the important thing is understanding where your particular pain point is, addressing that pain point as much as possible and then moving on quickly. The longer the audit remains open, the more documentation that's provided to the auditor, the greater the risk. So audits that go longer than four or five months are generally a negative sign to the taxpayer and need to be dealt with quicker.


Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law