Few people enjoy filing their taxes. Even fewer look forward to the possibility of an audit. But unfortunately, anyone can find themselves randomly chosen to have their financial records pored over by the IRS or the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Here are three ways you can protect your rights and have a better chance of getting through an audit unscathed:
1. Stay calm
Receiving a letter from the IRS is enough to make anyone nervous. But, take the time to gather all the records you need and consult with an expert before agreeing to meet with an auditor. You can even request additional time. And remember, the IRS will never call or text you. A legal audit notice will only come via mail.
2. Enlist professional help
In an audit, you can choose to either personally deal with the IRS or hire someone to represent you. In fact, you can even have your tax professional go without you. Having an expert on your side prevents the auditor from getting more information from you than they are entitled to obtain.
3. Offer only the information requested
Provide the documentation and information the auditor asks for – nothing more, nothing less. Answer their questions honestly, but don’t volunteer additional information. The relevant documents often include:
- Bank statements
- Loan agreements
- Employment documents
Auditors can tell if someone is nervous or overwhelmed, don’t let them take advantage of you.
Remember you still have rights
Providing the right information while protecting your rights is much more comfortable with an advocate on your side. Many tax preparers offer audit defense services, or you can enlist the help of an attorney. If you receive an audit notice from the IRS, keep calm and remember these tips.