What is a tax audit?

Posted by Charles R. Frazier | Jan 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

Tax season is officially here. From W-2s to 1099s, taxes can be very confusing and hard to process, especially since you only get practice with them once a year. At the office and around town, you may have heard the term audit or tax audit floating around. But what exactly is a tax audit and why or how does the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) perform one? In today's blog, the tax experts at the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier, your local Nashville tax lawyers, will go over what a tax audit is, why one would be performed on you, and how the IRS performs a tax audit. In the case that you are audited by the IRS, make sure to call your Nashville tax lawyers at the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier for help.


A tax audit occurs when the IRS decides to take a closer look at your tax returns to make sure your income and overall deductions are both accurate. Most of the time, your tax return is chosen to be audited when the IRS decides that something on your return seems out of sorts. An audit can be opened due to beliefs of hidden or false income, exaggerated deductions, an inability to pay your taxes, or something else that the IRS might deem suspicious. When it comes to tax audits, there are three main types that the IRS could perform. Mail audits, office audits, and field audits are all used by the IRS to make sure that your tax return is accurate.


Mail audits are pretty self-explanatory and are the simplest kinds of audits the IRS issues. Should you be chosen for a mail audit by the IRS, you'll receive a notification in the mail of your audit. Most of the time, the IRS will ask for more proof or documentation about your income or your deductions. Submitting proper proof of income or documentation of your deductions will usually be enough to conclude your audit and allow you to resume your normal day to day life. With mail audits, you won't have to speak with an auditor in person.


An office audit will require you to meet with an IRS auditor in person. The audit will be held at a local IRS office and will be more in-depth than mail audits. Your audit officer will ask you to bring your tax information, such as records for your business or personal statements and receipts, to your meeting. The IRS auditor will then go over your information and question you about your statements. If you're required to go through with an office audit, you will be allowed to have a lawyer represent you at your meetings.


IRS field audits are the most in-depth audits the IRS can issue. With field audits, your assigned IRS agent will come to your home or work to conduct the audit. The agent will examine everything on your tax return to verify that you reported it correctly. These occur when the IRS feels you've exaggerated quite a bit on your deductions or have kept larger amounts of income off of your report.


If the IRS decides to audit you, there are three main outcomes that result from an audit. Should you provide enough information to the IRS that proves your tax returns are correct, then the agency will most likely drop the audit and will decide not to change anything on your tax returns. However, if the IRS proposes changes to your returns, you'll have one of two options to choose from. You can agree with the IRS agent's suggested changes, and by accepting them you may have to pay a large amount to the IRS. Or, you can disagree and challenge the changes, in which case you'll be able to set up a meeting with an IRS manager to go over your case further. Should you disagree, you can also set up a formal appeals conference for your case.


If you find yourself being audited in any way by the IRS, be sure to call your local tax attorney immediately. Not only can a certified tax lawyer help you mitigate what you may have to pay to the IRS, but they may even be able to get you out of the audit without owing the IRS anything at all. The dedicated tax attorneys at the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier are ready to fight for you. Partner with our knowledgeable attorneys should you ever be audited by the IRS. Learn more about our tax attorneys, see testimonials from those we've represented in the past, or contact the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier to set up an appointment today.

About the Author

Charles R. Frazier

Tax Attorney & Estate Planning Law Specialist


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At the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier, we help businesses avoid or resolve tax problems and we protect families with cost-effective estate planning services. As a former IRS agent and veteran of the U.S. Army, Charles R. Frazier has the experience and understanding to find the right solution for your needs. We provide counseling and representation to business owners facing difficulties with the IRS or State Department of Tax Revenue. We also develop plans to help families preserve their hard-won assets so they are prepared in case of death or incapacity. Schedule Now

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