You’ve filed your income tax with the IRS and breathed a sigh of relief; then you’re notified that you’re being audited. If the IRS taps you for an audit, don’t panic. While you don’t have a choice about the audit, you can choose to make it as painless as possible if you remember a few helpful tips.
Be professional and courteous. Auditors don’t have an easy job, it’s stressful and they have to deal with people who are usually annoyed at being audited. Some people take out their annoyance on the auditor, which isn’t wise. You’re depending on this individual to conduct your audit fairly and quickly.
Answer questions briefly. Keep in mind that auditors are trained to not only recognize irregularities in tax returns, but to listen to and gauge what’s being said to them. It’s a good idea to take a page from what trial lawyers often tell witnesses. Keep your answers brief and pertaining only to what’s been asked. Don’t volunteer information or open the door to further auditing.
Be prepared. Get all your documents for the year in question organized and ready to review. If you’re fumbling around to find receipts and information scattered around your home or office, the auditor may get the impression that you filed your taxes haphazardly. That may raise a red flag for the auditor and result in a review of more than a single year.
Don’t lie. This seems obvious, but when people are under pressure and fear the worst, they might be tempted to fudge the truth or gloss over details that might influence the outcome of the audit. Don’t do it. If you’re caught in the lie, or if the auditor senses that you’re not telling the truth, they may look more closely at the information you provide.
Remember that you can appeal an audit you feel is inaccurate or unfair. It’s in your best interest to hire a tax professional to help you with an appeal. Or better yet, hire a tax professional when you find out you’re going to be audited. They can represent you before the IRS, and they’re well-versed in the tactics many IRS auditors may use.
ORT Consulting can work with you on all your tax preparation needs and is experienced at helping you work through the audit process. We can represent you before the IRS to ensure the best outcome for you. Contact us today for tax preparation or tax audit information.