Treading Lightly: Here’s Why Jumping Straight to IRS Appeals After a Tax Audit is Not a Good Idea

Finding yourself under the spotlight and being subjected to an IRS tax audit can be an uncomfortable experience and it can be all too easy to make rash decisions in such stressful circumstances.

One thing that would help your situation would be to have tax attorneys with decades of experience on your side as they will know what steps to take, and when its the right time to launch an appeal.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about the appeals process when you are subjected to a tax audit.

Three different types of audit

The first relevant point to consider is what type of IRS audit you are being subjected to, as this can make a difference to the approach you take and the process you follow.

A field audit will involve a visit from an IRS employee and this is normally the type of audit that businesses are subjected to.

Correspondence audits are the usual method of investigation and this is where the IRS requests information from you but does not require a meeting.

An office audit is where you are asked to attend an IRS office in order to meet an agent to discuss your tax affairs.

Don’t ignore the notice

The most important point to remember when you are notified of an IRS audit is to not ignore the notice.

You have 30 days to acknowledge receipt of the audit notice and it is critical that you respond within that timeframe as your options will become limited if you simply ignore the notice or take too long to reply.

The IRS could automatically adjust your bill and make their own assumptions in the absence of your response, so reply within 30 days so that you have time to gather information and get professional help if you need it.

Get your documents in order

Before you even consider appealing the notice and disputing the figures it is essential that you work on organizing your records and presenting your documents in a way that makes it easy for the auditor to find what they are looking for.

Being organized with your documents also helps the auditor to make the assumption that your tax records are in order, which means the audit could be concluded more swiftly.

Take your time and know your rights

It is often best to only provide the information requested and see if you can reach an agreement about what is owed at this stage before launching an appeal.

It is worth noting that if you do decide to appeal your file will be transferred to someone who is more senior than the agent you are currently dealing with. This means they are more experienced and knowledgable when it comes to finding ways to support their claim for extra taxes to be paid.

The bottom line is that it is often better to be patient and try to resolve the issue at the first stage before launching an appeal. If in doubt, seek professional help with your taxes as they may be able to get you out of a tight spot and get you out of the spotlight as soon as possible.