Getting a notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of an impending tax audit is stressful. The language the IRS uses in the notification may be confusing and the full implication of the audit may seem unclear. What will happen? Could the audit lead to a huge fine? Or maybe even time in jail or prison?
These questions and concerns are a common reaction to an audit notification. One way to get control over this situation is to hire an attorney. A tax lawyer can provide a number of benefits in this situation, three of which include:
- Clarity. As noted above, it is not uncommon to find a mailing from the IRS confusing. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can review the correspondence and explain exactly what the feds are looking for and if there are any allegations of wrongdoing.
- Options. An attorney can also review the options that are available during the audit. This could include sending additional information to the IRS or discussing various repayment options.
- Defense. Taxpayers who face allegations of wrongdoing can fight back. An attorney can dispute any charges, whether civil or criminal. In general, the difference between allegations of a civil versus criminal issue involve willfulness. If the IRS can show that the taxpayer intentionally tried to avoid paying their taxes, there is an increased likelihood of criminal charges.
Overall, the goal of a tax professional is to help provide guidance and better ensure your rights are protected throughout the audit process. This can include gathering documents and leading discussions with the IRS on your behalf. This can also include an appeal of an unfavorable finding.
When should I hire a tax attorney?
It is generally a good idea to seek legal counsel when the proposed penalties are high or there are allegations of criminal wrongdoing.