The last thing one might want to see in their mailbox is an envelope with Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) return address printed on it. The panic one feels as soon as they realize they are selected for an audit can be overwhelming.
While it is common for people to panic in such situations, it is important to remember that it isn’t the end of the world. As a taxpayer, you have complete rights of representation. In fact, as per the Taxpayer Bills of Rights #9, you can retain representation by selecting a CPA or certified public accountant, EA (enrolled agent), or an attorney. Whether the representation is in progress, rescheduled, or suspended, the interview can be organized with your audit representative by your side.
If you wish to know whether or not you should hire a professional for audit representation, it is important to determine the complexity of your issue. You can easily determine this by understanding the type of audit that will be conducted; these may include –
When the IRS has just a few questions for you in return, it gets termed a correspondence audit. You will be requested to mail a few documents for cross-checking. If your problem is simple and you have proper document backup, you won’t even require a professional for the representation.
However, it is important to be vigilant about the due dates. If possible, utilize the certified mail return receipt requested delivery. If you don’t have proper documents to back up the issue, speak with professionals to identify whether or not you will require an outside IRS representation.
If you get assigned to a revenue agent because of adequate concerns and issues, then it gets termed a desk audit.
The agent will typically ask you to bring your documents to their office for an interview. If you have any known problems with your returns, consider working with a professional for proper representation.
If there is a major concern or problem with your returns, your audit falls under the field category. You may get assigned to a professional agent who might visit your business or home to unravel most of the issues with the return. He might also evaluate your surroundings to identify whether or not you have reported your income.
With field audits, you are better off with a professional by your side. This way, you can prevent the audit from happening on your personal property and conduct it at the professional agent’s office.
You might want to consider working with a professional for Audit representation if –
1. You lack the ability to assemble the information
The number one reason to hire a professional for audit representation is your inability to assemble the complete information.
A professional can guide you through the complex realms of auditing and even help in organizing the documents. They can even create a strategy to help obtain a missing requested item.
2. You aren’t comfortable
Once you get into the audit, there is no turning back. You won’t be able to do a do-over if things go south. Similarly, you might want to prevent yourself from audit expansions.
With a professional by your side, you gain a buffer. In simple terms, you obtain someone who can speak on your behalf.
Besides providing you with proper guidance in the matter, the professional will assist in formulating the right responses to the auditor’s questions.
3. Emotions are taking over
It is common for emotions to get into your head when you are overwhelmed. And since people say things they regret when overwhelmed, things are bound to backfire if you say something out of pocket. In fact, such emotions can attract unnecessary bombarding of cross-questions. Besides, treating the auditor with respect is imperative, no matter how you feel at the moment.
If you want your audit to go well, it is best to hire a professional and let him take over for you.
4. You don’t want matters to get out of control
If you want to stop the agent from visiting your personal property – business or home, then you are better off with a professional by your side.
When you are represented by a professional, the audit is rescheduled at the agent’s office or at the professional’s business place. Typically, the agents are required to take a tour of your property to determine certain things. However, their access to speak isn’t extended to staff or customers.
5. You wish to know your rights
Sometimes you can simply be prey to minor system errors. In such cases, it can seem confusing to receive the IRS envelope in the first place.
Thankfully, a professional knows how to tackle such situations. In fact, he may be more than proficient in providing the right explanation to the agent. This way, you will be able to determine whether or not you are a victim of system error.
Things to look for when hiring a professional for your Audit representation
Audit representation isn’t a small thing; therefore, being hyper-vigilant while choosing the professional is extremely important. Here are a few things you might want to consider –
- Choose the audit team based on their industry-specific experience. Only such individuals can provide you with a more comprehensive insight into the industry.
- Check whether the audit team is up-to-date with technical and industry regulatory requirements as per your industry niche.
- Check whether the team has worked with clients similar to your industry.
- Check if the team employs operational best techniques other than just offering baseline promises on the financial statement.
While you have complete rights to represent yourself, we understand that process can get overwhelming quickly. This is especially true when the auditor becomes interested in knowing other issues or when your audit is changing into a lifestyle one.
At any time, you can stop and request a proper audit representation from experts at Strotham+Co. With their extensive knowledge in IRS representation, the Strotham experts will guide you properly and bring you much-needed peace of mind.