Audits (or as the IRS calls them examinations) have been up over the past five years. I’m sure someone in goverment has told the IRS to find more money as we all know the Federal government has a lot of debt to pay down. So, if a taxpayer wants to be prepared for an audit, how long should they keep their documents? Our general answer is four years. In general, the IRS has three years (the regular statue of limitation) from the filing date to audit a tax return. Most states have four years to audit as they want time to see if the IRS audits a return. If the IRS audits a tax return and there are changes which require a taxpayer to pay more tax rest assured that the Federal government will tell the state(s). Then it is the states turn.