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If I am being audited, can I deal with the IRS on my own?

If you have already been contacted by an IRS agent, you should not attempt to communicate with the agent directly. Instead, contact a qualified tax attorney to discuss your case.

The IRS has a number of different types of audits, and the one that you are facing will depend on the specific issues in your case. The three most common types of audits are correspondence audits, office audits, and field audits.

Correspondence audits are conducted entirely through the mail, and they are the least invasive type of audit. In a correspondence audit, you will be asked to provide documentation to support certain items on your return. If you do not respond to a correspondence audit within the specified timeframe, the IRS will make changes to your return based on the information that they have on file.

Office audits are conducted at an IRS office, and they are more invasive than correspondence audits. In an office audit, you will be asked to provide documentation to support certain items on your return, and you may also be asked to participate in an interview with an IRS agent.

Field audits are conducted at your home or place of business, and they are the most invasive type of audit. In a field audit, an IRS agent will examine all aspects of your financial life in order to determine whether or not you have complied with tax laws. Field audits can be very intrusive, and they can last for several months.

What if I Disagree with the IRS Audit Results?

If you do not agree with the audit results, you have the right to file an appeal. An appeal is a formal request for review of your case by a senior IRS official. It is important to note that an appeal does not give you the opportunity to present new evidence or arguments that were not previously presented during your initial audit. If you wish to present new information, you must first file a petition with the U.S. Tax Court.

The IRS has a three-level appeals process:

First level: The auditor’s supervisor will review your case and determine whether any changes should be made to the proposed assessment of tax liability and penalties. The auditor’s supervisor may also decide to hold a conference with you and/or your representative (e.g., tax attorney, accountant) in order to discuss your case and resolve any disputed issues.

Second level: If you are not satisfied with the decision of the auditor’s supervisor, you can request a review by an independent appeals officer within the IRS. This officer is responsible for making decisions on cases in which taxpayers disagree with their auditors or examiners about proposed adjustments to their taxes or penalties. The appeals officer will consider all evidence presented by both parties before making a final determination as to whether any adjustments should be made to your tax liability or penalties (if applicable). If no agreement can be reached between you and the appeals officer, then he/she may refer your case back to the auditor for further consideration and/or provide guidance on how it should be handled going forward. Alternatively, if there is still no agreement after further consideration by the auditor, then he/she may refer your case back up through the appeals process for further review by another appeals officer.

Third level: If an agreement cannot be reached between you and either of two independent appeals officers at lower levels within the IRS (as discussed above), then you can request a review by either of two senior-level officials within the agency: The Office of Appeals Director or Chief Counsel Attorney General’s Office

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