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Getting audited, and how you can manage it appropriately

Imagine getting home from work one day and getting a phone call or email (or, possibly, a letter) that explains that the Internal Revenue Service has taken a look at one of your tax filings from a couple of years and has decided to audit the filing. Your day just went from "good" to "very, very bad."

This is understandable, as any taxpayer fears the dreaded audit. As terrible as an audit can be, there are some effective strategies you can employ to get through the audit in an efficient and less painful way. So, what can you do if you get audited?

The first thing to do is actually something not to do: procrastinate. Don't let the fear of this tax issue get to you. Don't bury your head in the sand. Just raise your head, take a deep breath, and deal with this issue in a timely manner. It can make the audit move along quicker and you also won't be subject to penalties relating to late payments or response times.

When you have prepared for your audit and talked to lawyer, then it is time to reach out to the IRS to process the audit. Don't just wait for them to get in touch with you -- reach out to them to move this audit along. When you do reach out to them, you are not obligated to reveal any information they don't ask for. So don't offer up information on a voluntary basis. Make them ask a question to get that information.

Should your audit conclude in an unsatisfactory fashion, the last piece of advice we can give you is to appeal your decision. Remember that: there is always an appeals process you can go through to challenge the decision made by the IRS.

Source: FindLaw, "What to Do if the IRS Audits You," Accessed Sept. 24, 2015

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