What you need to know about IRS audits

A good attorney can help the audit process move more smoothly

If you asked people to make a list of the scariest things they could think of, getting an audit notice from the IRS might rank pretty near the top.

But, while an IRS audit is certainly serious business, it doesn't have to be as stressful as most people imagine it to be. With the help of an experienced tax attorney, you can investigate the IRS's claims and respond appropriately.

How do audits get started?

Most audits start when the IRS notices something out of the ordinary on a taxpayer's return. This doesn't necessarily mean that the taxpayer has done anything wrong, just that their return stands out from the average - for example by claiming significant charitable contributions or business losses.

Taxpayers may also be more likely to get audited if they have offshore accounts, or if they have business partners or investors who are also being audited.

What happens in an audit?

Depending on the complexity of the issue, audits may either occur in person or by mail. During the audit, the IRS will request receipts and other documentation to verify the information submitted on the tax return. It may also conduct interviews to gather more information. Based on this evidence, the IRS will issue findings that indicate whether changes are needed to the taxpayer's return.

Taxpayers have a right to be represented by an attorney during an audit. Representation is always a good idea, as every statement and decision you make during the audit process has the potential to open you up to further liability.

What happens when the audit is over?

If the audit reveals that there were no issues with the return, then no further action is needed. If the audit reveals issues, you can either agree or disagree with the findings. If you agree and money is owed, you can work with the IRS to set up a payment plan.

If you disagree with the IRS's findings, you have a right to challenge them. You can request a manager take another look at the issue to review the auditing agent's work. You can also request an appeal if you disagree with the facts or law underlying the IRS's decision.

Your choice of attorney matters

No one should go up against the IRS alone. Based in Florida, the tax attorneys at Bucci Law Offices represent taxpayers locally and throughout the world. We can help you protect and assert your rights during an audit.