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Do You Need Tax Audit Assistance?

Accounting and Taxes
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When facing an IRS tax audit, one of the first things you need to decide is if is you're going to need tax audit assistance. Depending on the type of audit indicated in the audit notice you've received, you may be dealing with a simple correspondence audit or a more involved face-to-face audit at the IRS or your home or office. If the audit you are facing is in any way complex, it may be in your best interest to arrange for tax audit assistance in order to expedite your audit experience and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. A tax professional can help ensure that you are properly represented and are not inappropriately assessed for additional tax dollars. There are many different stages in the tax audit process where a professional might be of assistance.

Assistance in Preparing for the Audit

Upon receipt of an audit notice, it's very important that you understand the specific issues in your return that the IRS is focusing on. This can be done independently by carefully reviewing the appropriate IRS publications and/or conducting research on the IRS website. You'll also need to be clear about what specific documents the IRS is requesting to review. The documentation will need to be presented in an organized manner, and if any items are missing, the information will have to be reconstructed as best you can, based on other documents. If you are confused in any way about any aspect of this preparation process, then this would be an appropriate time to seek out tax audit assistance. A tax professional will be able to explain everything you need to know and will also help you get your documentation correct and in order.

Assistance during the Audit

Many people opt not to be present at an audit, sending a tax professional instead. Others prefer to appear with a professional present, as he or she will be able to actively mediate between you and the IRS employee, and protect your interests. However, if you do decide to go alone, remember to answer any questions truthfully and concisely without volunteering additional information. If at any time during the meeting you feel unsure, don't hesitate to stop the audit until you're able to consult with a professional.

Assistance in the Case of an Appeal

Once the audit is complete and the IRS has made its decision regarding what you owe, you have the right to an appeal. The appeal can either be made to the IRS Appeals Office or, if necessary, in Tax Court. A tax professional can help you determine the likelihood of a successful appeal, as well as walk you through the requisite paperwork.

The thing to remember about an IRS tax audit is that by the time you get around to receiving an audit notice, the IRS has already spent some time investigating the issue. Thus, by seeking tax audit assistance, you level the playing field a bit, as you can get help with understanding the tax law, gathering proper documentation, and getting through other auditing processes and procedures.

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