So you’ve received one of those dreaded audit notices from the IRS. Not only are they asking for documentation of your income and expenses, they actually want to meet with you IN PERSON! They have requested a meeting at your home or your office. Here’s the question: DO YOU HAVE TO MEET WITH THEM?
As a taxpayer you have rights.
Here’s how and why you can get out of showing up for an audit personally:
- Hire an Enrolled Agent to represent you
One of your most important IRS rights is that of representation. You have the right to retain a professional – it can be an attorney, certified public account or enrolled agent – to help you and represent you in the audit. Your representative takes you out of the game and sits you on the sidelines. This is their ballgame now, and they have the expertise to work out an outcome that’s in your best interest.
Once you have retained a professional, all IRS calls, correspondence and even audits/interviews, go directly through your representative.
That means your representative handles all the talking, writing, documents and negotiations with the IRS agent.
That includes meeting with the IRS agent – your Enrolled Agent, for example, is fully authorized and permitted to meet with the IRS for you, and handle all interview questions for you. You do not have to go to the interview and meet with the auditor. Your Enrolled Agent can do it for you.
- Invoke Internal Revenue Code Section 7521(c)
This section of the IRS code clearly requires the IRS to conduct the interview/audit with your representative, not you, if that is your preference (and in most every case, having a professional handle the interview for you should be your preference!). You do not have to accompany your representative to the audit.
- Notice vs. Summons.
Unless the IRS sends you a summons requiring you to appear at an IRS office, they cannot force you to meet with them in person (you should send your representative/Enrolled Agent). To force you to sit down with them, the IRS has to send you a summons requiring your appearance at an IRS office. Your IRS audit letter is not a summons – it is simply a letter, requesting that you meet with them and answer the questions of the auditor
It is important that you know your rights when being audited by the IRS. You have the right to representation, the right to have your representative handle all questions and negotiations for you, and the right to appeal any findings and recommendations of the IRS auditor, before they become final.
As a taxpayer, you have the right to be treated fairly, professionally, promptly, and courteously by Internal Revenue Service employees. As an Enrolled Agent, my goal is to make sure that your rights are protected, so that you will have the highest confidence in the integrity, efficiency, and fairness of our tax system. To ensure that you always receive such treatment, you should know about the many rights you have at each step of the tax process.