Alleviate Audit Anxiety

IRS4Internal Revenue Service tax audits can be complicated and time-consuming, but the right tax preparation can make them less stressful. Taxpayers facing an audit should remember these five things:

1. Seek Professional Help

Upon receiving an IRS audit notification, taxpayers should meet with their tax professional to discuss what the audit notification means, what is being requested and what records are needed.
2. Seek Representation

Correspondence audits are handled via mail, field audits have auditors visit a home or business in question, and office audits require taxpayers to report to an IRS office. Depending on the type of audit and individual situation, taxpayers may represent themselves or seek assistance from a certified public accountant, lawyer or enrolled agent. Enrolled agents are federally authorized tax practitioners empowered to represent taxpayers before the IRS.

3. Organize

Ideally, taxpayers should keep complete, organized financial records for the past seven years. Gather all receipts, checks and other records relevant to the audit. Be thorough; having the records the IRS requests readily available will help the audit go more smoothly.

4. Be Concise

Taxpayers should only give the auditor copies of documents the IRS specifically requests and answer all questions honestly. Do not volunteer information that is not requested.

5. Appeal

If taxpayers disagree with auditors’ findings, they can file an appeal with the IRS. Appeal options include meeting with the auditor’s supervisor, or filing an administrative appeal to the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Claims Court or the local U.S. District Court.
Of course, the best audit is the one that doesn’t happen. To lessen the likelihood of being audited, taxpayers should report all income and only claim credits and deductions they are entitled.

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