At this time of year, many people in Missouri and across the country are thinking of their taxes. While many people have already filed, they may still be waiting to receive their return. Others may be anxious about the possibility of further questions from the IRS in the form of audits.
In reality, audits happen relatively rarely. Approximately 1 out of 184 filers were audited in 2017. Of these, the majority of the audits were completed by mail with less than 25 percent happening in person, either at the person’s home or at a field office. Though the ones occurring by mail may be relatively simple, a taxpayer facing an in-person audit or one that results in a dispute over the determination of the IRS may choose to seek advice from an experienced attorney.
Most people know that it is important to respond to any IRS requests and provide accurate information. However, some people may be unaware that an auditor’s decision is not necessarily the final word. For example, the filer could appeal to the auditor’s manager. Additionally, if the filer disagrees with how tax law is being applied, he or she can appeal the decision to the IRS Office of Appeals and then to court if the issue is not satisfactorily resolved at that time.
Because penalties can be steep — such as a 20 percent accuracy fine — having an attorney with experience with federal tax law can help those going through an audit. Such a professional can take action if the audit is not progressing or if there is a dispute in the final determination. Those in Missouri who have experienced audits often felt more confident in their ability to respond to IRS requests with a professional committed to protecting them on their side.