Under A Microscope Part 2: Representing Yourself In An Audit

Photo: cohdra/morguefile
Photo: cohdra/morguefile

 

Preparing for an audit is crucial. Here’s how.

Friday’s post discussed IRS Publication 556 and hiring a tax pro to represent you in an audit. What if you’ve decided to take the plunge solo and represent yourself in an audit? You might be up to the task if:

  • Have the time and energy to devote to what can be a long process.
  • You fully understand the tax form required for your case
  • Understand tax law as it applies to your audit
  • You can remain calm under pressure
  • Aren’t easily intimidated, upset, or confused
  • You are organized and have all the needed documentation at hand.
  • Have done your research using reliable online sources.

Let’s suppose you decide to move forward and represent yourself. Here are some things you should know before you meet with the IRS examiner or judge:

  • You should fully understand what information is needed, and avoid volunteering information that isn’t relevant to the audit or required for the audit.
  • Make clear copies of all receipts, tax returns and other requested documentation.
  • Keeping organized records; nothing is more stressful than fumbling for a receipt in the middle of an audit.
  • Fully understanding your rights, especially if the IRS rules against you.

Regardless of whether you’re going to hire a tax pro or represent yourself, do not ignore any correspondence from the IRS. Respond to all requests for information in a timely manner, and make copies of your certified mail receipts and of the documentation the IRS has requested. Before you send anything to the IRS, request a return receipt and keep it with the copies of the documents you sent in.

If you ignore any correspondence from the IRS, you could end up owing more in late fees and penalties than you did originally. If you are highly organized, calm, confident, and aware of your rights, you could successfully represent yourself in an audit if you are required to meet with an IRS examiner or judge.

If you’ve thought it over and would prefer to hire a tax pro, we’re here to help. Get started today by clicking on the white “start chat” button at the top of your screen. You don’t have to go it alone. We can help.

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