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What do you need if you experience a personal tax audit?

No one wants to have their taxes audited. A fear of audit is why many tax services will offer some form of audit assurance. The Washington Department of Revenue conducts audits for several reasons and knowing what documents they’ll need could save you added stress.

 

Key documents

The Department of Revenue suggest retaining records from the four previous years in addition to the current year. There where the audit period can go back further but four years is a common lookback range. Having at least four years of documents readily available isn’t always necessary, but it’s good to know that you could access them if necessary.

Personal tax returns are a big one. Most tax services, including tax preparation software, store copies of returns for you, making it easy to recall them as needed. Be certain to retain records that verify your claim to deductions or exemptions. These items include receipts, invoices and other forms of verification.

After the audit

The auditor will report their findings and inform you of any adjustments. This is your last chance to present any new information before they finalize their report.

You have the right to appeal the auditor’s findings if you disagree. Appellants have 30 days from the date the auditor mails their report to file an appeal. If you are protesting a portion of the amount, the Department of Revenue recommends paying the uncontested portion since interest still accrues during the appeals process.

Waiting longer than 30 days means having to pay the full balance and petitioning for a refund.

Take the proactive approach

Finding out that your taxes are under audit can be a scary experience. Don’t panic. Strong and consistent record keeping is one way to prepare yourself in case of an audit. Although an audit is stressful no matter what, these preventative measures can help survive the process.

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