Nobody has ever been happy to get a letter from the IRS letting them know that they are getting audited. The prospect of having to produce years’ worth of old documents and dealing with an auditor is obviously no fun, even if you can prove that you do not owe any taxes.
You may not be able to avoid an IRS audit, but if you are scheduled for an in-person interview with an auditor, you do not have to attend personally. You have the right to have your tax attorney represent you at the meeting.
Obviously, whether or not you attend the interview yourself is up to you and your lawyer. But a recent article by a CPA in the Asian Journal gives some thought-provoking reasons why you might consider staying home.
1. You might give the wrong impression. It’s natural to feel nervous during an audit — you could be facing a huge tax bill if things don’t go your way. But the auditor could misinterpret your anxious behavior as a symptom of a guilty conscience.
2. You could say something you regret. Under questioning, you might give an answer that hurts your case because of your inexperience with the process. Or you could get emotional, which is completely understandable but could make things tense in the room.
3. It’s stressful. Trying to take care of an audit yourself can consume your life and cause you a great deal of stress. By having an attorney take care of it for you, you can continue living your life.
As a taxpayer, you have the right to legal representation during an audit. Your attorney will explain what is going on and ease your mind during a scary time.