What to Expect During An IRS Audit

What Is An IRS Audit Like?

In previous articles, we discussed the Top 10 IRS Audit Triggers and also learned the answer to the question Why was I Audited? This article will cover the actual audit appointment, as well as provide some tips on how to win your IRS audit. If you have additional questions or would like to find out how we can help protect your rights when it comes to an IRS audit, contact us to talk to an IRS Audit Attorney in Reno, NV.

The Audit Appointment

Most IRS audits take place at the local IRS office. IRS Offices are usually very large and house a variety of different departments, with “audit examination” being only one of them. So, make sure you pay attention to the correct floor and room information on your audit notice beforehand.

Once at the correct room, you’ll wait in the reception area until auditor comes out and calls you by name. He or she will escort you back to either a small conference room or their own cubicle. Most auditors will start off with a little small talk, so this is a good chance to remind you that IRS auditors are human beings just doing their job like the rest of us. So be reasonably polite and courteous. It doesn’t pay to be rude or snarky. The key is to be cooperative, but not overly helpful. The auditor is, after all, trying to get you to reveal mistakes on your tax return.w

What to Expect During Your IRS Audit

The audit appointment will last anywhere between 1-4 hours, depending on how thorough of an auditor you have, and how many issues need to be addressed on your tax return. The audit will officially start with a quick review of the audit process and your appeal rights, and then move on to a standard questionnaire of about 20 questions.

You’ll be asked things like “What’s your occupation?”, “Do you have any children?”, “Do you have any investments or retirement accounts,” “Do you have a safety deposit box,” and even “Do you have any foreign bank accounts.”

Be careful here. The auditor actually knows the answers to many of these questions. He or she is both testing your credibility and also hoping at the same time that you’ll reveal a problem with your tax return that they didn’t know about already. So, answer these questions carefully.

After the questionnaire, the auditor will start to ask you about specific problem areas on your tax return. Most often these are unusually large deductions, like charitable contributions, unreimbursed employee expenses, or if you have a schedule C business, any suspicious looking expenses. As a side note, your original audit notice should’ve already identified these problems, so you should have an idea already of what they’re going to be and have come prepared to explain these issues and provide supporting documents for them — like receipts and cancelled checks.

Usually the auditor will review the documents right then and there, adding them up, checking to see where they’re from and what they’re for, and usually asking several questions along the way. But, some will just take them from you for review at a later time, o it’s smart to bring copies instead of originals.

After your auditor has gone over everything he or she wanted to discuss, your audit interview will come to an end. Unless you really knocked it out of the park, don’t expect any kind of decision out the auditor at this point. They’re just going to thank you for coming in and tell you that they’ll issue a report of their findings shortly, which you’ll typically receive in a couple of weeks.

So, that’s a basic run down of what happens in an IRS audit. Keep in mind that if you hire an attorney to represent you in your audit, you don’t have to go meet with the auditor or even talk to them on the phone. Your attorney will go in your place.

More Information

You might find the following articles helpful

  • Types of IRS Audits
  • What To Expect in an IRS Audit
  • Top 10 IRS Audit Triggers
  • Winning IRS Audit Strategies