Barthle Tax and, Here Are Your Articles for Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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What To Do When You Get an Audit Notification

 

You may be surprised to learn that not every audit notification you receive will be legitimate. So, first, make sure you received an official audit notification. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will notify you either by letter or by a phone call followed by a letter. The IRS does not notify taxpayers about audits through email, so if you do get an email saying you've been selected for an audit, it's probably fraudulent. If you've determined that you're definitely getting audited, your next step is to learn what's involved.

What Exactly Is an Audit?

According to the IRS, an audit is "a review/examination of an organization's or individual's accounts and financial information to ensure information is being reported correctly, according to the tax laws, to verify the amount of tax reported is substantially correct."

That's it. It's an audit — not an arrest and not a trial — so don't panic. Contrary to popular belief, an audit doesn't automatically mean you made a mistake. Yes, an inconsistency can trigger an audit if there's a discrepancy between what's on a tax form and what you actually reported. But the IRS may choose to audit a taxpayer based on random selection or a statistical formula. Also, an audit may be less intrusive than you feared. For example, it may be entirely through the mail, although in some cases, it may be at an office or the taxpayer's home or place of business. And not all audits result in your owing money. In fact, your audit may lead to no changes at all.

Both businesses and individuals may be audited (even sole proprietorships), and there may be some differences in how they are handled. One thing that virtually all audits have in common, however, is access to records. The IRS is going to want to check some of your records, and maybe a lot of them. Did you deduct business expenses? Make some substantial charitable contributions? You'll need to show the IRS some receipts. The good news is that in many cases the IRS accepts electronic records.

What Happens Next?

There is no typical length of time for an IRS audit, but if you have your records handy and cooperate fully and quickly, you increase your chances that it will be as brief and painless as possible. Ultimately, the IRS may determine that you owe more money. At this point, you can pay it or you can appeal. The audit doesn't have to be the end of the road. There is a substantial appeal process and a long and expensive court trial may not even be necessary.

The important thing to remember is that you don't have to go it alone! Your accountant can work with you throughout the audit process, including any appeals. The key factor is to call us as soon as you receive the notification about your audit. We’re ready to work through the details and help you gather any records you may need.

 
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Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this e-newsletter are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
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