1.1% of returns by an individual were audited
In a recent year. People with incomes in excess of a million dollars are more likely to get audited. 78% of audits are replied to by mail.
You can try to alleviate the misery of coming up with a large lump sum of cash by requesting a payment plan online.
Your attitude with the IRS
In general if you take a confrontational attitude with them you will lose.
When asked simple questions "Yes" or "No" might be better than a detailed and confusing explanation that might get you deeper into hot water.
On your own, the less said the better.
Get tax relief help from a professional if the situation is anything but simple.
There are basically three types of audits; correspondence, office and field.
A lot of people break out in a nervous sweat and get the shakes when it comes time to file their taxes.
The first time that I tried to file by myself left me with a feeling of confusion because I did not bother to read any information about how to go about it in a fair way, a way that didn't leave me broke and living in a cardboard box in the alley.
I just had at it without reading anything and it was overwhelming. I assure you that after all these years I won't get into a difficult situation like that without any proper info and good forms to file.
Some folks just file as fast as they can to get it over with. They loose out on a bunch of legitimate deductions and allocations that could have saved them a ton of money at tax time.
I would rather be getting a nice tax refund than pay the IRS a lot of money. Pay attention to the details.