The IRS will audit your tax return to make sure that it doesn’t contain any errors. If you receive a notification that your financial records will be examined by the IRS, you are not necessarily suspected of a tax crime; the IRS choses to audit tax returns for a variety of reasons. However, the IRS is extremely wary of mistakes on your tax return—even careless and inadvertent ones. If you’ve been audited, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your rights are protected.
Sometimes, the IRS audits specific tax returns because, statistically speaking, they are more likely to contain an error that other returns. According to the IRS, you may be audited if your return is outside of the norm. The norm is determined by the IRS. Beside randomized computer screenings, you may be audited if your financial documents aren’t consistent. For example, if your tax return and your Form W-2 contradict each other, the IRS may assume that one of the documents contains and error and audit your financial records.
According to the IRS, you have specific rights during the auditing process. To make sure none of your rights are violated, talk to a lawyer. You are entitled to fair, professional, and courteous treatment by all IRS employees while your tax return is audited. If you are treated rudely, your attorney can help. You have the right to know why you have been audited. The IRS cannot audit your financial records without telling you why they are being examined. When the IRS requests information from you, it is required to tell the consequences if you fail to comply.
During the auditing process, you have the right to legal representation; you don’t have to face the IRS alone. Once you are notified (by mail or by phone), contact your attorney as soon as possible. The auditing process can be intimidating and overwhelming—that is why the lawyers at Okabe & Haushalter are dedicated to helping people like you stand up for their rights in the face of an examination. Finally, you have the right to appeal any decision made by the IRS that you don’t agree with. If you decide to contest the IRS’s determination about your tax return, you may take your cases to Tax Court or pursue an alternative dispute resolution.
There are three possible determinations the IRS can make at the end of your audit:
If you agree with the determination of the IRS, you will be asked to sign an examination report indicating your compliance. If not, talk to your attorney about settling your tax controversy in Tax Court. Additionally, the IRS is open to certain forms of alternative dispute resolution.
The length of your audit is determined by the type of examination and the nature of documents to be examined. Some documents are significantly more complex than others and take more time to review. Additionally, if the information required by the IRS is not readily available, the auditing process may take more time. If you disagree with the findings or determinations of the IRS regarding your financial records or tax return, your audit may tax more time than expected.