Internal Revenue Service (IRS)


Computerized Scoring Causes Most Audits.

Most IRS audits are initiated by a computerized scoring of the income and deductions numbers on your return. The IRS computer compares the size of various categories of your income and compares them to your deductions, then determines whether you are a likely candidate for the IRS to make an adjustment to your return.

Types of Audits.

IRS audits are two types. The first is a computer automated audit where you will deal with an IRS auditing group that is normally located outside of your local area. This type of audit usually involves omitted income (such as interest, dividends, salary or wage income, 1099 income or sales of property) or mathematical miscalculations on the return. The second type of audit is generally handled by a single individual auditor who works locally (although sometimes due to heavy workloads, this type of audit may be handled by an auditor who is located in another part of the state). These audits generally begin with a letter that identifies specific documentation which the IRS wants to review and it asks you to come to the local IRS office for an appointment. The types of requested documentation are identified by the IRS based on categories of income and deductions which were correlated in the scoring of your return.

The first type of audit (computer automated) will provide numbers for the proposed adjustments that the IRS wishes to make. You will be able to assess your potential exposure in this type of audit because the IRS automatically calculates the tax, penalty and interest in the first notice you receive. The second type of audit does not provide you with any particular proposed adjustment to your taxes. It simply identifies documentation that will be needed for the auditor to complete the audit and he or she will make calculations at the conclusion of the audit. It is typical that the auditors expand the document categories and raise new issues after their first meeting with you or your attorney. Persons under this type of audit should be aware that the IRS often expands its areas of inquiry after the auditor reviews your returns and your receipts. Having a qualified tax attorney can be a critical component in reaching a “no-change” audit result. Many people damage their position at the first meeting by making innocent comments to the auditor, which are interpreted as indicative of a “tax cheat”. Trying to handle an IRS tax audit without an experienced tax lawyer may cause additional problems because the IRS very often misinterprets completely innocent statements made by the taxpayer.


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