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How to prepare for and manage an IRS audit

There are many worst case scenarios that one could imagine when it comes to taxes and the IRS. The federal agency could file a lien against you; you may owe the IRS a lot of money as a result of back taxes or crimes; or you could be audited by the IRS.

With respect to the last possibility on that list, there are many things that a taxpayer should do in order to effectively deal with his or her audit.

The first may sound contradictory: take your time, but also act quickly. What we mean by this is that you do have some time to prepare yourself and get organized for your audit before actually responding. However, at the same time, you shouldn't dawdle on the issue. It is easy to begin procrastinating when you are audited, constantly avoiding picking up the phone or writing an email to communicate with the IRS. Don't let that procrastination set in. Deal with this issue early so that it doesn't become a bigger problem.

When you do get in touch with the IRS, remember that most cases (about 75 percent) see the taxpayer paying the IRS. With that in mind, don't be afraid to negotiate and try to settle your claim with the IRS.

Last but not least, remember two pieces of information that are in your favor:

  • You can always appeal your case if it ends in an unsatisfactory way.
  • You don't have to give any information to the IRS that they don't ask for -- so don't volunteer to give them critical information unless they ask.

Source: FindLaw, "What to Do if the IRS Audits You," Accessed Sept. 22, 2015

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