Surviving an IRS audit
There are two types of people in Nevada: those who dread tax time and those who work for the Internal Revenue Service. You probably fall into the former category, especially if you have received a notice in the mail that the IRS is going to audit your tax return. This means that the IRS is checking to make sure that the financial information you reported to the government is accurate.
Many times, audits are electronically triggered when computers determine your credits and deductions exceed what they consider normal. If the IRS is auditing someone close to you – for example, a business partner – the IRS may look into your accounts as well. On the other hand, you may be one of the lucky few whom the agency randomly selects for an audit.
How to prepare for an audit
If you have been honest on your tax returns, you shouldn’t have to worry. However, you do need to prove that what you reported is true, and that may be difficult if you aren’t very organized. Even if you bank online and file your return electronically, your audit will go more smoothly if you gather and organize the following documents:
- Receipts for pertinent retail purchases, credit cards and donations
- Proof of payment for bills you claimed as deductions
- Logs for mileage, medical expenses, gambling winnings or losses, etc.
- Investment statements
Canceled checks for anything you claimed on your return, for example:
- Mortgage or car loans
- Fees for the sale or renovation of your home
- Charitable contributions
- Alimony and child support payments
Remember that audits are not necessarily for the previous year’s return, so tax consultants recommend keeping careful files for the past three to seven years.
What happens next?
When the audit is over, the agent will decide either that the return stands as it is or that changes are necessary. You may agree with the proposed changes, and everything will end happily. However, the agent may determine that you owe the IRS more than your return indicates.
If you disagree with the IRS examiner’s conclusions, you have the right to appeal. If you haven’t sought the advice of an attorney at this point, you may wish to do so. An attorney will review your documents and represent your case to the IRS. With an experienced attorney to negotiate for you, you can be assured that you will receive a fair resolution.