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A smaller percentage of audits, yes, but in the aggregate …

It’s flatly unquestionable that a statistic can be adjudged a number of ways.

Consider a figure from the world of tax audits, for example. On the one hand, the 0.57 percentage cited by the Internal Revenue Service as the audit rate for American businesses during fiscal year 2014 is highlighted as being the lowest amount of audit activity in a number of years.

A recent media report on IRS audit levels for businesses and individual filers underscores just how notable that rate is by noting that “IRS audits of U.S. businesses plunged to the lowest level in eight years during 2014.”

On the other hand, though, that 0.57 percentage extrapolates to this: approximately 57,000 companies across the country undergoing federal tax audits that year.

Some people will of course cite — and applaud — the lowered odds of a business being audited presently, while others might reasonably point to that 57,000 figure and simply dwell on the high number of companies that are subjected to IRS audits, lowered percentage or not.

The same holds true for individual filers. IRS-supplied date indicate that about 0.86 percent of those taxpayers were audited last year, which spells the lowest rate in years. In the aggregate, though, such a number still equates to millions of individuals getting audit notices.

What the above-cited article stresses is that the lowered numbers might be anomalous and destined to rise again in the future. The top IRS official, Commissioner John Koskinen, notes that he wants to “stop this decline” in audit activity, and the IRS might be able to do just that if it receives the influx of budget money it has asked for from Congress.

In the event it does, filers might just end up looking back on 2014 with nostalgia and as the good old days.

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