Setting up your own business

Revenue audit

A Revenue audit is where your tax returns are compared to your tax records. There are generally three reasons for which we can decide to audit you:

  • Screening tax returns - this is where we look at your returns and compliance history for any patterns or trends. This is the most common method of selecting a business or tax payer for audit.
  • Projects on business sectors - Revenue might focus on a particular business sector, trade or profession when choosing businesses or tax payers for audit.
  • Random selection - a small number of audit cases are selected using this method.

If we select you for an audit, you will be given written notice 21 days in advance. This letter will include:

  • the date and time of the audit
  • the accounting period that will be audited
  • whether the audit will focus on one issue or several issues. 

What happens during a Revenue audit?

A Revenue audit usually involves the following steps:

  • The auditor explains the purpose of the audit and indicates how long it will take.
  • You are given the opportunity to make a disclosure if you suspect you have avoided paying some tax.
  • Your books and records are examined.
  • If your return is largely correct, you will be informed as soon as this is certain.
  • If your return will need to be adjusted, the auditor will discuss this with you and will also provide written notification.
  • You will have a final interview where you will be asked to agree on the total settlement.
  • After your agreement you should pay the auditor who will give you a receipt. 

See the Code of Practice for Revenue Compliance Interventions for more details on Revenue audits and how they are selected.