The potential for an audit was likely in the back of your mind as you filed your taxes. You carefully keep track of every tax document that arrives in the mail and look over your return for errors. If someone else does your taxes for you, you trust that they’ve taken the same caution to prevent an audit.

New research shows that you’re more likely to receive a tax audit depending on the county you live in. For reference, the national average is 7.7 audits per 1,000 tax return filings. These are the five counties where your taxes are most likely to receive an audit:

  1. Starr County and Zapata County (Tie): 10.4 audits per 1,000 filings
  2. Willacy County and Zavala County (Tie): 10 audits per 1,000 filings
  3. Hidalgo County and Real County (Tie): 9.9 audits per 1,000 filings

The IRS audits these counties well above the national average and neighbor Texas’ southern border. These counties feature predominately Hispanic populations, including Starr County where 95.8 percent of the population is Hispanic.

Travis County residents also see their taxes audited at a higher rate than the national average with 8.0 audits per 1,000 filings. Bastrop and Burnet counties receive audits at a similar rate to Travis County. Neighboring Williamson and Hayes counties receive audits 0.4-0.6 per 1,000 filings less than the national average.

What happens if the IRS audits your taxes

If you receive an audit, don’t panic. Audits are often determined randomly by a computer. The auditor will meet with you to review your tax records from the previous four years. The IRS will usually look at your past tax returns for over or underpayments. Who knows, you could receive a refund. You have the right to contest the auditor’s findings after they finish their review if you wish.

Having your mind race to the worst-case scenarios is an understandable response to receiving a notice from the IRS. While this experience is concerning, you do have rights in the event the IRS chooses to audit you.