What are my IRS audit rights?

As a taxpayer, you are afforded many legal and procedural protections! Here is a partial list of taxpayer audit rights:

You have a right to an attorney appear for you at the audit, speak for you at the audit, and negotiate for you at the audit. That attorney can be the point of contact for the IRS and work with the IRS to provide documents. So you don’t have to speak with the IRS in most cases.

The IRS cannot require you to show up for an audit at any time and place they wish. The agent can’t arrest you or seize your assets if you do not appear.

You do not have to allow the IRS into your home or office.

You can record an audit. You must give the IRS 10 days’ notice before the audit.

You can adjourn the audit and reconvene later. Even if a citizen fails to appear at the audit, the audit findings can be challenged in tax court. 

You can prove expenses and deductions without receipts. See Cohan v. Commissioner and Gizzi v. Commissioner. If it boils down to your word against the IRS, cleverly crafted affidavits can be a simple, yet powerful tool in tipping the scales in your favor.

Any requests for information should be in writing and specific. The IRS is required to tell you why they are requesting information. Don’t allow “fishing expeditions.”

You can negotiate what is included in the audit’s findings before the findings are made final. In other words, if it’s clear you are going to owe the IRS based on uncontroverted audit findings, you may negotiate a lesser amount with the agent. The agent’s own job pressures to get your audit wrapped up ASAP may motivate them to cut a deal.

You do not have to agree with the IRS agent’s findings. You can present more information, and ask to meet with the supervisor. If that does not work, you can appeal to tax court. Audit findings may reconsidered on appeal within the IRS. If that fails, petition the United States Tax Court for an independent review.

You may find greater peace by giving us a call to discuss your situation initially free of charge, or get our free book, How to Get Tax Forgiveness