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What to do if you disagree with a tax auditor's findings

With the tax deadline behind us, many people are breathing easier knowing that their returns have been filed on time and are now in the hands of the IRS and the state. But for some, their business with the IRS has only just begun. For some, a tax audit may be around the corner - which is something most people fear but hope they never have to deal with.

A lot of people dread getting notice of an impending audit mostly because of the many myths surrounding the process. For starters, most people believe they occur frequently while others are convinced that they happen immediately following a filing. Among the most persistent myths is that there is nothing a person can do once an auditor has completed his or her investigation. This isn't true, though - you have rights. 

Your right to an appeal

If a tax auditor believes that there are discrepancies regarding your tax filing, he or she may request that you make changes to your filing, meaning you may end up owing the government money. But if you disagree with the auditor's assessment, you wholeheartedly have the right to appeal their decision, much as is the case with some civil proceedings, explains an Investopedia article.

In addition to your right to appeal an auditor's findings, you are "entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal," according to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. To ensure this happens, the IRS created the Office of Appeals, which consists of roughly 2,000 employees, many of whom were former auditors.

You also have the right to a lawyer. Seeking legal representation when appealing a tax audit is a good idea because an attorney can help you gather necessary documents and craft a strong case in your favor.

The benefits of filing an appeal

Surprisingly, few Americans appeal their tax audit despite the fact that they could have their assessed amount reduced by 40 percent, explains Investopedia. Furthermore, the due date for the auditor's assessment amount is delayed while your appeal is under review. This gives you time to obtain legal counsel - if you haven't already - and potentially raise funds with which to pay off what you owe.

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