Surviving An IRS Audit

Finding out that you are going to be audited by the IRS can be a little bit scary. However, with the right preparation, anyone can get through it. Here’s what you need to know to survive your IRS audit.

Don’t Ignore The Notice

Once you receive your IRS audit notice, you will usually have 30 days to respond to it; the precise time period will be specified in the notice. You should never ignore any correspondence from the IRS, claiming to not have received the letter won’t hold water in a courtroom. You can’t simply feign ignorance on the basis of not having received the letter.

Not only should you not ignore the notice, but you should make sure that you read it through carefully and that you are confident you understand every word of it. If you are uncertain about anything, you can usually find answers on Google. If you are really stuck, or if you think you will need help preparing your tax return, you should approach someone like Tax Group Center – you can check them out on social media and find out how to contact them.

Get All Your Records Organized

The more organized you are with your financial records, the easier the auditor’s job will be. Remember, these people usually charge by the hour, so you will want to make their life as easy as possible. Having everything in order beforehand will minimize the chances of them making a mistake, reduce the time it takes to complete your return, and help to ensure that your return is completed correctly.

Replace Any Missing Records

Another reason to organize your records beforehand is that it will alert you to any records that are missing and need to either be found or replaced. If you really can’t find a particular piece of evidence, don’t worry too much. The IRS doesn’t expect you to be perfect; if the odd document or receipt is missing, they will understand. It is only if there is a pattern of missing documentation that they are likely to become suspicious.

Don’t Bring More Than You Need to

It might seem like a good idea to bring as much documentation with you as you can just in case you need to show them anything else. However, you don’t want to enable them to go on a fishing expedition through your finances. You aren’t legally obligated to provide anything beyond what you are asked to provide on your audit notice, so you can’t be penalized for not bringing something you weren’t asked to bring.

Be Polite But Assertive

It might seem like a good idea to show them that you’re tough, but this will have the opposite effect. It doesn’t matter who you are – whether you are small and petite or an experienced bodybuilder, you can’t intimidate the IRS. Remember, there are the guys that got Capone! If they can get him, and scare Trump, they can get you too. Instead, be polite and comply with their requests to the extent that you are required to. If they try to go beyond the scope of the IRS audit, politely but firmly tell them you will be sticking to the issues outlined in the notice.

Consider Hiring A Tax Professional

You have the right to have a tax professional represent you during the audit.  If you hire a tax professional, you may never need to meet with the auditors.  If choose to handle the audit yourself or to have a representative go with you, you increase the risk that the agent/auditor will ask questions that you would prefer not to have to answer on the spot.

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