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Surviving the Audit #1: Ask Questions

August 17th

For many Americans, the tax audit is a terrifying proposition. Taxpayers imagine the revenue agents as terrifying figures out to victimize innocent citizens. Feel reassured, this is not usually the case. In most instances, those who staff the Internal Revenue Service are usually trying their best to sort out mistakes and inconsistencies and are only aiming to charge you that tax which you owe.

However, by staying alert and adhering to a few simple practices, the audit can seem significantly less painful and a lot more manageable.

Do Not Assume the Tax Authorities Are Correct

Every year federal and state tax offices send out enormous numbers of letters to individuals and businesses informing taxpayers that they owe money. This does not necessarily mean that everyone who receives a letter will always in reality need to pay.

If you carefully gathered your tax information and had a qualified individual review your materials, it is likely that this letter will be incorrect. However, be sure to double-check your materials. Gather your tax information and review everything. It is also a good idea to have your tax preparer have another look at the materials to be certain.

When reviewing your materials, check to ensure you have possession of all relevant data. You are permitted to reconstruct anything that may be missing, and it is highly recommended that you do so.

Do Not Be Intimidated

Most agents of the IRS will not yell at, threaten, or otherwise mistreat a taxpayer. However, on occasion it does happen. If this does occur, be sure to react calmly. You may hire a tax lawyer to represent you if you feel like you aren’t making headway.

Simply speak with the agent’s supervisor, or document the behavior to be shown to the supervisor at a later date. It is also useful to have documentation of such conduct if it becomes necessary during an appeals process.



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