IRS Audit Letter: What Do I Do If I Receive an Audit Notice?

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So, you received an IRS audit letter? This is not the type of letter that you want to receive from the IRS. Simply put, it means that you are being audited and any mistakes could possibly come back to bite you. Did you know audits can actually go both ways? You can be audited and have the IRS owe you money after it is over. Say they catch one error, but you find two other errors that go in your favor. That being said, you don't have to be scared of an IRS audit letter. In fact, if you take the right steps you can get past this part of your tax life in no time at all.

Here are some recommended steps to take if you receive an IRS audit letter:

  1. Stay Calm. Although your instinct may be to panic, keeping a clear head and retaining your composure will enable you to handle this situation in the best manner possible..

  2. Read the Letter to See What the IRS is Requesting. The letter may state that the audit process is just beginning and inform you of what to do next, or it may tell you that you owe money and that your situation can be resolved simply by paying your tax bill. Regardless of why you have been sent the letter, be sure to take your time reading it and don't jump to any conclusions.

  3. Seek the Help of a Tax Professional. It is inadvisable to represent yourself in a tax audit case. A professional, such as an enrolled agent, will have extensive tax code knowledge and can act as a liaison between you and the IRS so that you will never have to communicate with them directly.

  4. Determine a Plan of Action. Chances are you’ll be able to get to the bottom of why you’ve received the letter and resolve whatever problem has triggered the notification, especially if you have professional help. An audit is not necessarily going to turn up a problem; in fact, taxpayers frequently come out of an audit without having to pay any additional money, and some people even end up getting money back.

  5. Don't Hide. Many people become so overwhelmed with fear that they make the mistake of ignoring the IRS audit letter, but it is in your best interest to acknowledge your situation and communicate with the IRS in an effective manner. Since the IRS has no intention of letting your tax problem go unresolved, you should deal with it sooner than later.

If you receive an audit letter, these steps provide a useful guideline for resolving your situation with the IRS. If you are unsure of what to do or know that you have made an error, be sure to contact a tax professional to assist you with your audit. A tax professional may be able to minimize the penalties that you’ll face and can typically find a way to lawfully dismiss certain aspects of the audit.


IRS Audit-Related Topics & Help


Tax Problem Frequently Asked Questions
Common Q&A about audits and various other tax problems.

IRS Audit Guides
Understand the different types of audits, what an audit entails, tips for avoiding audits, what happens after an audit and more.

If You Are Audited and Cannot Pay the Full Amount Owed
Many times an audit ends with the person owing additional money in taxes. If taxes cannot be paid in full there are many options offered by the IRS.

How to Handle an IRS Audit
Learn how to handle an IRS audit on your own, including the information that the IRS will be looking for, how to prepare yourself and what to expect.

Help With a Tax Audit
Were you audited and owe money that you cannot afford to pay? We can help find you a professional that can find the best possible solution for you to pay back the taxes that you owe.