In general, the IRS must audit you within 3 years from the date that you filed your income tax return. This is called the audit statute of limitations.
The date that you filed your return for purposes of the statute of limitations may not be the date that the IRS actually received your return. For any return that is filed prior to the tax deadline, the IRS considers that return filed on the tax deadline. For example, if your tax return was due on April 15, but you filed it on March 11, the date of filing for purposes of the audit statute of limitations is April 15.
In some cases, the IRS has more than three years to audit a tax return. If a taxpayer omits more than 25% of their gross income from their return, the time period for which the IRS can audit increases from 3 to 6 years. If a false or fraudulent return is filed with the intent to evade tax, there is no statute of limitations and the IRS has an unlimited time period within which to audit that return. Similarly, if no return is filed, the statute of limitations does not begin to run, and the IRS can begin an examination of that tax year at any time.
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