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"The exact rules for which returns get audited by the IRS are of course a very closely held secret. Nevertheless, according to Smart Money and the 1997 IRS Data book, only 2.27% of 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ returns with income greater than $100,000 were audited. Only about 4% of the largest sole proprietorships, those with receipts greater than $100,000, were audited. Yet estate tax returns, especially those for estates with greater than $1 million, had much higher audit rates. In fact, the audit rate for estate returns greater than $5 million was 47.43%. (Of course, there were only 3,000 such returns that year, according to this downloadable spreadsheet from the IRS web site.)"
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