6 Tips for Surviving an IRS Audit

Help with your taxes

If you are like most Americans, you may worry about getting a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Many people live in fear of having their taxes audited. Whether or not you file on your own to go to tax advisers for help, there is always the chance that the government will want to do a tax audit on your. This is not the time to panic. Here are some things you can do to get through it.

  1. Make sure your records are in order. You do not have to be surrounded by tax advisers to know that it is always in your best interests to keep good records. If you keep track of your spending and other records throughout the year, when tax season rolls around, you will have everything you need to either do your taxes or get some help. Having all of your documents in order will also help if the IRS wants to do an audit on you. You should keep all of your tax records and receipts for three years. That should be extended to seven years if you take a loss for a bad investment.
  2. Do not panic if you do not have your records. If something has happened to your records or if you were not great at keeping everything, do not panic. There are ways to go back and recreate the records of your spending and tax payments. If some of your expenses are related to your business, think about how you paid. If you used a credit card, you can get the receipts. If you are looking to make deductions for medical bills, you can get copies of those.
  3. Learn about the process. Your tax advisers can help you negotiate the process but if you go into the process with some idea about what will happen and how, you will be in a much better position. In the first place, it will reduce your stress level. There is a lot of information on the IRS website to help tax payers understand the process.
  4. Get professional help. If you have received a notice that you are the subject of an audit by the IRS, you should talk to your tax advisers about hiring someone to help you deal with the government. You need to understand the process but also need a professional to get you through. A person who has been trained in tax law and will know what your options are. Tax law is very complicated so you want an expert who has worked in this area a lot to help you make it through your audit.
  5. Do not lose your composure. When you get a notice from the IRS, they will set a date and time. If you and your tax advisers are not able to make that time, you should be able to change it. The IRS may be frustrating to deal with but you will do yourself no favors by getting upset with the agents who are working on your case. Be as polite as you can be. When you go in to meet with the IRS, dress professionally and try to be as organized as you can be. You want the very first impression you make on them to be a good one.
  6. Never think you can win the IRS personnel over. Some people go into their meetings with the IRS and are surprised to see that they really like the people working on their case. That is fine, there is no reason to not like them. By the same token, you should not get the mistaken view that these people are on your side or that you should become friends with them. They believe that you have made some grave mistake on your taxes, whether this was on purpose or by accident does not matter. Never fill any silences with more information. Having an expert by your side can prevent you from talking your way into more trouble.

The IRS audit process can be scary. Having good tax advisers by your side can help you a lot. Another point to remember is that the IRS agents make mistakes, too. You will make it through your audit.

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