I’ve Been Selected for An IRS Audit, Should I Represent Myself?

Feb 10, 2017

It happens: The IRS picks you — YOU of all people! — for a tax audit. First things first: Find an attorney to speak on your behalf. Why? Because an audit-gone-wrong could result in criminal charges.

Certified public accountants are trained to audit tax returns, but they’re not the best option when it comes to negotiating with the Internal Revenue Service — a tax controversy lawyer is.

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Voluntary Disclosure Cases

Non-compliant taxpayers can make voluntary disclosures to get back on track. This may involve reporting back gains or previously unreported foreign holdings. When a person makes a voluntary disclosure, his or her representative should secure an agreement from the IRS that no criminal charges will be filed.

A good representative also won’t allow the IRS to question their client. Why don’t lawyers want the IRS questioning taxpayers? Because they might inadvertently say something incriminating, which could result in harsher punishments.

Enrolled Agents, CPAs, and Lawyers: Who Is The Best Representative For An Audit

Enrolled agents can represent small businesses and individuals before the IRS. To become an enrolled agent, you must take and pass an exam. Enrolled agents do not have any educational requirements.

Certified public accounts conduct and analyze audits, but negotiating with the IRS isn’t necessarily their strong point.

Similarly, lawyers who don’t have a tax law background may not be an appropriate choice for tax audit assistance. People embroiled in IRS tax controversies do best with a tax lawyer on their side. Choosing a qualified tax representative may save you thousands of dollars and avoid criminal charges.


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