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This is my fear with this - even if it is determined to be low level individuals acting badly, what protections do we have against other low level individuals acting badly as it pertains to other tax returns or applications?

The same thing one would have with any employer: internal discipline. Sometimes a reduction in pay grade (usually more with government, and possibly in a unionized shop). Sometimes termination. In the worst cases criminal charges.

Those are really the only deterrents in any such situation.

Why are such decisions even allowed to be made at such levels? Audits and extra scrutiny should be random and blind.

I can't really answer the first question. It's a valid question, and it may even have a good answer. Don't know. As for the second, I know audits are not "random and blind". The IRS looks for certain things that raise "flags". Those returns flagged are subjected to added (human) scrutiny, and if they still look unusual then an audit is called. Turbo Tax apparently knows what the IRS looks for and actually rates your audit risk after you've completed your return (but before you file it).

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