It’s the notice no one wants to receive; a brown envelope marked “Official Government Business.” In some cases, it may be the first indicator you’re getting audited. However, you shouldn’t panic immediately.
Often, the IRS sends these notices because of a simple math error, or because your W2 and your return don’t quite line up. But in others, the notice may state the agency is reviewing one or more of your returns in full.
If that’s the case, now is the time to take action.
Preparing for audits like these can be nerve-wracking. However, taxpayers can arm themselves with the proper tools, resources and information to fight back.
How do I prepare for my audit?
Taxpayers may want to keep these things in mind:
- Gather reliable records: Filing your taxes every year isn’t always enough to prepare for an audit. If you aren’t keeping records already, now’s the time to start. Whether you do it yourself or use a professional service, having detailed records of everything from charitable to business deductions at the ready can alleviate much stress.
- Understand what the audit process is like: You likely know friends or loved ones who’ve been audited, but never been through the process yourself. Knowing what questions an auditor may ask and what information you should and shouldn’t keep to yourself can give you more leverage.
- Remain confident but professional: Once you get to the auditing process, it’s vital to keep your wits about you. While you don’t want to be aggressive in front of an IRS auditor, you also don’t want to come off as nervous. You should remain calm but confident that you’ve given them the correct information.
It‘s possible to come out unscathed
Fighting the IRS can feel like a losing battle, which could happen if you go it alone. Fortunately, there are professionals out there who can help you stand up against this government bully. An experienced and aggressive tax attorney can give you the fair and accurate representation you deserve.