IRS Audits – Office Audit Hints – Tips To Survive An IRS Audit
Enduring An Office Audit
IRS auditors do about five office audits a day – they wont have much time to prepare for you. You can make a sound recording, but you have to give the IRS 10 days’ notice. Other bits of advice:
- Get an extension, if needed. The IRS letter will assign a date, but you can ask for an extension. The first is almost automatic, and you can probably get a second if you have a good excuse. Beyond that, you’ll plant to many seeds of suspicion.
- Arrive on time and be friendly. Although your documentation will carry the day, your attitude will set the tone.
- Make sure you have all documents to support your contentious tax points. Remember that you can reconstruct lost records. It’s perfectly legal to get other evidence than to substantiate a deduction, such as signed statements from the parties involved.
- Present your documents one piece at a time, when the auditor asks. Take it back once he is done looking at it.
- Stay cool when fielding tough questions. If you don’t understand why an auditor is asking certain questions, it’s within your rights to ask.
- Don’t volunteer extra information. Answer only the specific questions you’re asked. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t wing it –admit that you don’t know and say you’ll find the answer.
- If you have a personality clash with your auditor, you have the right to summon his supervisor and ask that another auditor be assigned to your case.
Bracing For A Field Audit
The field audit is reserved for more complex returns or cases in which the IRS suspects big underpayments. A more rigorously trained IRS agent usually performs it at your business or home.
Much of the advice that applies to office audits applies to field audits. But here are a few extra tips:
- Get help from a tax pro experienced in handling field audits. While it’s possible to go it alone in an office audit, you definitely want to have a tax pro represent you during a field audit.
- Try to have the audit held away from your business, such as at an accountant’s office. You don’t want the agent to observe your operation or listen to workers. If the agent insists on coming to your business, provide a workspace that’s isolated from your employees.
- Appoint a company contact person for the agent. Tell the agent that all requests for company information must go through that contact person.
- Don’t give the agent blanket permission to dig into your files, such as those containing cancelled checks and paid bills.
Photocopy all documents the agent requests- these records may save you money if you appeal.