To most people a request by the Internal Revenue Service to audit one or more tax returns is about as welcome as a Root Canal. It need not be if you are professionally represented.
A word of caution however. If you lie, fudge and out and out cheat knowingly on your tax returns a man of the cloth might better serve you in your time of need. If the items in question during the audit were a matter of tax law interpretation then an experienced tax pro would be your best bet. Don’t go it alone. Remember, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” In a perfect world using the tax professional who did the returns in question would be the best choice. If however that practitioner is not real experienced in dealing with IRS auditors, hiring outside help would be wise.
Remember not all CPA’s, Tax Attorneys, or Enrolled Agents are experts at performing well at an audit. As talented and knowledgeable as they may be, audit representation is part science and part art form. Interview a perspective professional and make sure they have vast experience in the area you need their help in.
Many things can trigger an IRS audit. Deductions that are out of line for the reported income level, mortgage interest that seems out of line with a taxpayer’s income level, information on line items that JDSR, just don’t seem right, to name a few. The Internal Revenue does random audits to collect info and data on certain jobs and professions.
If you are selected for an audit you will be notified by mail. The year or years and the items of interest being audited will be outlined, so you and your representative may prepare properly. DO NOT ignore this correspondence. Take it very seriously. The IRS expects to collect money. It is important to know that the average audit costs the IRS about $600. to perform. They have every hope and intention to collect this amount and more. Auditors are graded on their success. Many criminal investigations are born out of the audit division at the IRS. If the audit is being conducted by a Revenue Agent he/she may come to your home or your business. YOU DON’T WANT THEM THERE if you can help it.
Auditors are well trained to do their jobs. They have all the tricks of the trade at their disposal. The taxpayer has RIGHTS. Let’s touch on some of their tricks and some of your rights. Auditors are taught to remain silent at times during an audit. Knowing people are usually nervous during an audit the silence is usually filled by a talkative taxpayer saying things he shouldn’t. Things that open up a whole can of eormms the auditor can now investigate.
You have the right to be silent. Sound familiar? Auditors will appear friendly and ask questions that to the untrained will seem very innocuous, but they’re NOT. Everything has a reason and a purpose. “How far did you go in school?” “How often do you get your hair and nails done?” These are common questions and they have a purpose.
Taxpayers have the right to say, “I don’t see how that pertains to the audit, Let’s move on.”
If you were ever the “winner” of the great IRS lotto it would be wise to hire an expert and take advantage of their knowledge and experience. Protect your rights and protect your hard earned assets.