IRS Audit Letters
What Does an IRS Audit Letter Look Like?
If you have received an IRS audit letter, the experienced attorneys at Wiggam & Geer can ensure your response meets all IRS requirements and help prepare you for the agency’s challenges to your tax return.
While the words “IRS audit” strike fear in most Americans, the audit letter does not necessarily imply you will be the subject of a full-blown, in-person audit of your taxes. An audit letter can be a request for more information or for an explanation of something simple on your return.
What Is an IRS Audit Letter?
If the IRS has selected you for an audit, the agency will notify you via mail with an audit letter. The audit letter will be specified as such and include:
- your name
- taxpayer ID number
- the applicable tax year
- the IRS form or schedule being audited,
- contact information
- the primary focus of the audit
The letter will also specify how you are to be audited. The IRS conducts audits via mail and in person. An in-person audit or interview can be conducted at an IRS office or in the field, meaning the taxpayer’s home, place of business, or accountant’s office.
If the IRS will be conducting the audit via mail, the audit letter will note the specific area being audited, such as income, expense, or a deduction. The letter will also request additional information and documentation, and specify how to provide these.
For in-person audits, the IRS will send a written request for specific documents. You might need to provide copies of receipts, bills, canceled checks, loan documents, legal correspondence, or other supporting documentation.
How to Respond to an IRS Audit Letter
The IRS tax audit letter generally requires a response within 30 days, either by telephone or in an audit response letter. The audit response letter should include:
- your full name
- contact information
- taxpayer ID number
- the name of the IRS officer in charge of your case
- your employer identification number, if the IRS is auditing your business rather than you personally
- a response to each issue noted in the IRS’s audit letter
What Happens if Your IRS Audit Letter Response Is Late?
When sending your response letter, all documentation should be attached. While it might be tempting to write this letter yourself, it’s best to engage an experienced tax attorney who is familiar with IRS audit procedures and specifics.
If you do not respond to the audit letter or you respond late, the IRS will most likely disallow the items in question and send you a tax bill, plus penalties and interest.
How Long Is an Audit?
Generally, an IRS tax audit lasts somewhere between three months and a year. The length varies based on:
- the complexity of the issues being questioned
- the type of audit (mail or in-person)
- your agreement or disagreement with the agency’s findings
- your availability as well as that of the IRS agent
If you disagree with the IRS’s findings, you can request a conference with an IRS manager. You can also file an appeal through the IRS’s Independent Office of Appeals or request mediation.
Beware of scammers claiming they’re contacting you about an IRS audit. The IRS does not initially notify taxpayers via email or telephone. If you receive an email or call claiming you have been chosen for an audit, it’s a scam. Ignore the message and definitely do not respond or provide any personal information. You can always call the IRS if you want to confirm.
If you have received an IRS audit letter, it is best to act quickly and hire an experienced tax attorney as soon as possible. Our team of experienced tax attorneys can help you evaluate all your options and represent you. Give us a call today at (404) 609-1300 to get started.
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