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Statutory Audit vs. Tax Audit: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 8, 2023
A Statutory Audit assesses a company's overall financial statements' accuracy, while a Tax Audit evaluates the correctness of tax returns.

Key Differences

A Statutory Audit is a legally mandated review of the accuracy of a company's financial statements. This audit ensures that businesses present their financial situations honestly and in line with established accounting standards. Conversely, a Tax Audit pertains to the examination of an individual's or company's tax returns by tax authorities to ensure that the correct amount of tax has been paid.
When organizations undergo a Statutory Audit, the primary focus is on their accounting records, internal controls, and financial information. The outcome of a Statutory Audit helps stakeholders, investors, and regulators understand the financial health of the company. In the realm of a Tax Audit, the primary emphasis is on verifying the accuracy and correctness of tax-related information. This process is pivotal in ensuring that taxpayers comply with tax laws and regulations.
While both the Statutory Audit and Tax Audit processes aim to ensure transparency and adherence to respective regulations, their scopes differ significantly. A Statutory Audit covers a wide range of financial aspects within an organization, going beyond just taxation. However, a Tax Audit is narrowly focused on ensuring correct tax calculations and adherence to tax laws.
The requirement for a Statutory Audit usually stems from regulations that target companies of a particular size or nature, ensuring public trust in their reported finances. On the other hand, a Tax Audit can be mandatory for certain taxpayers or randomly selected to verify tax compliance.
Concluding, both the Statutory Audit and Tax Audit play vital roles in the financial landscape. While the Statutory Audit upholds financial transparency at a broader level, the Tax Audit ensures that individuals and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

Comparison Chart


To verify accuracy of financial statements.
To validate the accuracy of tax returns.


Required by law for certain companies.
Required by tax authorities for specific taxpayers.


Covers overall financial health of a company.
Focuses solely on taxation aspects.


Stakeholders, investors, regulators.
Tax authorities and the taxpayer.

Conducted by

Certified public accountants or external auditors.
Tax professionals or internal/external auditors.

Statutory Audit and Tax Audit Definitions

Statutory Audit

A comprehensive verification of financial records by independent auditors.
The Statutory Audit revealed discrepancies that the company needed to address.

Tax Audit

A methodical review to validate tax compliance.
The Tax Audit findings indicated that the business owed additional taxes.

Statutory Audit

A legally mandated review of a company's financial statements.
The corporation underwent its annual Statutory Audit to comply with federal regulations.

Tax Audit

An inspection to confirm adherence to tax laws.
As part of the Tax Audit, all relevant documents were submitted for review.

Statutory Audit

A regulatory process ensuring accurate financial reporting.
Before going public, the firm underwent a stringent Statutory Audit.

Tax Audit

A scrutiny process by tax authorities ensuring correct tax payment.
The company was selected for a Tax Audit due to discrepancies in their returns.

Statutory Audit

An audit to ensure adherence to accounting standards and principles.
The board awaited the findings of the Statutory Audit to make informed decisions.

Tax Audit

An assessment of tax-related information for correctness.
The individual was relieved when the Tax Audit concluded without any penalties.

Statutory Audit

An external examination to ensure financial transparency.
The results of the Statutory Audit were positive, boosting investor confidence.

Tax Audit

Examination of tax returns to verify accuracy.
After the Tax Audit, John realized he had overlooked certain deductions.


Who usually conducts a Statutory Audit?

Certified public accountants or external auditors.

Does every company need a Statutory Audit?

Not always; it depends on local regulations and company size or nature.

Why is a Tax Audit conducted?

To ensure the correctness of tax returns and adherence to tax laws.

How long does a Tax Audit usually take?

Duration varies based on the complexity of the tax returns and the issues identified.

Can anyone be subject to a Tax Audit?

Yes, any taxpayer can be selected for a Tax Audit, either randomly or based on specific criteria.

How often is a Statutory Audit conducted?

Typically, it's conducted annually.

Are the findings of a Statutory Audit made public?

For publicly traded companies, yes. For private companies, it depends on local regulations.

What should I do if I'm selected for a Tax Audit?

Cooperate fully, provide all requested documentation, and consider consulting a tax professional.

Can a company refuse a Statutory Audit?

No, if it's mandated by law, refusal can lead to penalties or legal actions.

What's the primary purpose of a Statutory Audit?

To verify the accuracy of a company's financial statements.

Does a Statutory Audit evaluate company operations?

Its primary focus is on financial statements, but it might touch on operational aspects affecting finances.

How detailed is a Statutory Audit?

Very detailed, examining various financial records and statements.

Are all Tax Audits the same?

No, the depth and scope can vary based on reasons for the audit.

Can a Tax Audit result in a refund?

Yes, if overpayments are identified during the audit.

What happens after a Tax Audit is completed?

Taxpayers receive findings, which could mean no changes, tax adjustments, or penalties.

Can the findings of a Statutory Audit impact a company's stock price?

For publicly-traded companies, yes, as it affects investor confidence.

Are Tax Audits common?

Not for every taxpayer, but they're routine processes for tax authorities.

Can a Tax Audit be avoided?

Not if you're selected, but accurate and timely filing can reduce the chances.

If I disagree with a Tax Audit's findings, can I appeal?

Yes, most tax authorities have an appeals process for disagreements.

What happens if discrepancies are found in a Statutory Audit?

Companies need to address and rectify them, potentially facing penalties.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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