According to an informational web page on the IRS's web site, when they conduct an audit, they will ask for a specific document and (presumably) ask specific questions relating to that document.

Can I expect an audit to stick to specific questions about specific documents about which I have been notified ahead of time, or can an audit veer off into uncharted territory and become a fishing expedition? If so, am I within my rights to insist that the auditor stick to specific questions about which I have been notified beforehand?

One reason why I ask this question is that the information on the IRS web site, does not jive with other web sites that suggest the IRS asks all kinds of probing questions about matters that have nothing to do with the return.

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    There are two kinds of audits. In a "full" audit of course everything is fair game. In a limited audit my understanding is that if the audit veers off into uncharted territory, you are within your rights to decline to answer and to ask to reschedule to give you time to prepare. I have heard that you should not bring documents other than those pertaining to the questions you are prepared for, so they can't go digging through them when you're not prepared to explain them. However I've also heard that you should bring everything you have that is relevant, so I'm not sure which is better advice. – prl Feb 5 '18 at 8:54

My experience has been that the IRS wants to answer a particular question and is seeking information to confirm that area of the tax return. My experience was income that was double reported by an employer so it looked like I hadn't paid any tax on "half" my income.

The list of questions in your link could all be on topic depending on what they are investigating. Most of that list of questions sounds like the IRS thinks the income does not match expenses or donations. Those questions in that scenario would be very much on topic.

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