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How can I prepare for my face to face or interview field audit?
Hopefully your recordkeeping skills are up to snuff. Please visit our KnowledgeBase at wcginc.com/kb/15 on recordkeeping to ensure you are doing a good job for the future. You can also download our article at-
Back to the audit-
Be Organized: If you appear organized, your credibility will jump right up. Contrary to the theoretical innocent until proven guilty paradigm, an IRS agent has seen so many incredulous deductions and expenses it is hard to blame him or her for being a bit suspicious. Of course the IRS will disagree with that statement, but they are humans first and agents second. And human nature will look upon your perceived sloppiness with friendly contempt. Truthfully if you were an IRS agent you would do the same thing.
Spreadsheets and tally tapes show that you are not afraid to add things up and match the figures to your tax returns.
Bring Copies: Never bring originals. The IRS might lose your documentation right before your eyes, and they certainly won’t mail it back if later found.
Don’t Overshare: Only bring documents that are needed. Don’t overshare with the IRS but at the same time don’t bring a jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece. If you make the auditor’s job a little bit easier, they might make your life a little bit easier.
Stay On Point: When they ask for your favorite food, don’t respond with green. Don’t give the agent a reason to go fishing for additional stuff to bother the IRS with. If the question requires a Yes or No answer, answer with a Yes or No. Don’t blink.
Be Courteous: IRS agents are people too, and they have chosen tax administration as their profession. Don’t be demeaning or obnoxious. Remember that they have wives, husbands, kids and lives outside the exciting world of taxation.
Be Flexible: You might have to decide which issues you want to fight, and which issues you want to let the IRS win. No change audits (where you win everything) are a low percentage, as in rare- knowing this will help during your interview. Be ready to trade some horses, and move on.
Review Your Deductions: Review your expenses, deductions and credits on your tax return to ensure you are not missing anything in your favor. Just because the IRS is looking for issues that increases your taxable income does not mean you can’t introduce new evidence that was omitted on your original tax returns. It might require an amended tax return, or it might just be adjusted right there (depends on the situation).