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What Are My Rights During an IRS Audit?

As a taxpayer, you have certain rights that must be protected by the IRS during the course of an IRS audit.

Right to Privacy and Confidentiality

During the IRS audit, you have a right to privacy and confidentiality of your personal tax matters. This means that the IRS may not disclose the information you provide to anyone else, unless explicitly authorized by law. You also have the right to know why your tax return was selected for an audit, why the IRS is asking for specific information, and how the IRS intends to use the information you provide. Finally, under the right of privacy and confidentiality, you have the right to be told what will happen to you if you fail to provide the information requested by the IRS.

Right to Professional and Courteous Service

Every taxpayer undergoing an IRS audit has the right to professional and courteous service by IRS employees. If you feel that you have not been treated in a professional and courteous manner by the IRS workers involved in your audit, then you have the right to complain to those workers’ superiors. If you are unsatisfied with the response from the superior, then you have the opportunity to lodge a complaint with the local IRS director for your area or the center where you filed your return.

Right to Representation

During the course of an IRS audit, you have the right to representation. You may represent yourself, or you may elect to have someone represent you in your place, as long as proper written authorization is provided. The representative must be a person allowed to practice before the IRS, such as a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or enrolled agent. If you are in the middle of an interview and you wish to speak with your authorized representative, then you have the right to have the interview halted and rescheduled.

You also have the right to have your authorized representative present with you during the IRS audit. Finally, you are allowed to make an audio recording of any interview or session with an IRS representative, as long as your inform the IRS of your intention to do so 10 days before the meeting.

Right to Pay Only the Correct Amount of Tax Due

You are responsible for paying only the correct amount of tax due under the law—no more, no less. If you cannot pay all of your tax when it is due, you may be able to make monthly installment payments or make other arrangements with the IRS for satisfaction of the tax debt.

Right to Appeals and Judicial Review

After your IRS audit is complete, you will receive an official decision from the IRS. If you disagree with the amount of tax liability or the IRS collection process related to the audit, you have the opportunity to file a tax appeal within 30 days of receiving the official determination. If you choose to appeal, an IRS Appeals Officer is assigned to the case and further negotiations take place. If you are not happy with the determination of the IRS appeals process, then you may ask a court to review your case.

The Benefit Of An Experienced Tax Lawyer During An Audit

IRS audits can range from fairly simple to incredibly complex. In the most simple cases you may not need representation, however the more complex your audit becomes the increasingly important proper representation can be. Audits can easily be expanded to addition types of tax and additional years if the revenue officer sees fit. Typically it is in your best interest to ensure that an expansion of the audit does not take place. This is where a tax lawyer can provide value. By understanding the goals and strategies of the IRS, along with the rights, duties, protections afforded you by law and the procedures that the revenue officers are supposed to follow, a tax attorney can often effectively mitigate the intrusiveness of an IRS audit.

The Tax Lawyer – William D Hartsock has been representing clients during audits since the early 1980’s. Mr. Hartsock offers free consultations with the full benefit of attorney client privilege. Call to set up your free consultation today.

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The Tax Lawyer - William D. Hartsock, Esq. – San Diego Tax Attorney

Author: William D. Hartsock, Esq

A "Certified Tax Law Specialist" for over 37 years, Mr. Hartsock is one of the most trusted and respected tax attorneys in Southern California. Call today to discuss the facts of your case and learn about your options. Mr. Hartsock offers free consultations and all conversations are protected under attorney-client privilege; meaning that no information shared with a tax attorney will be shared with the IRS or California Franchise Tax Board.