The Internal Revenue Service collected about $3 billion less in revenue from audits this year after assigning staff to work on processing economic stimulus payments.

Overall, the IRS collected $56.4 billion in enforcement revenue in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008, compared to $59.2 billion in fiscal 2007, according to new statistics. However, that was higher than the $48.7 billion collected in fiscal 2006.

Staffing in key enforcement occupations such as revenue officers and special agents also declined, from 21,187 in fiscal 2007 to 20,722 in fiscal 2008.

Taxpayers with incomes of $1 million or higher had a 5.57 percent chance of being audited in fiscal 2008, down from the 6.84 percent chance in fiscal 2007. Taxpayers with incomes of $200,000 or higher had a slightly greater chance of being audited, however, with 2.94 percent of them audited in fiscal year 2008 compared to 2.87 percent in fiscal year 2007. Taxpayers with incomes under $200,000 had a 0.95 percent chance of being audited in fiscal 2008, compared to a 0.97 percent chance in fiscal 2007.

Small corporations with assets under $10 million had a slightly greater chance of being audited in the past fiscal year, with 0.95 percent audited in fiscal 2008 compared to 0.92 percent in fiscal 2007.

Conversely, large corporations with assets over $10 million had less chance of being audited, with 15.26 percent audited in fiscal 2008 compared to 16.8 percent in fiscal 2007. S corporation audits were down slightly from 0.45 to 0.40 percent, while partnership return audits held steady at 0.42 percent.

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