Most of our readers in Minnesota and elsewhere in the Midwest likely understand intuitively and immediately why it is probably not the best idea to sit down with one or more government representatives to negotiate the details of a tax audit.

After all, they know everything about the subject matter, while you are, after all, a lay person attempting to wrap your arms around subject matter that is at once complex and often arcane.

Moreover, you’re probably discussing the details of your tax return at their premises, not in your own home. That can make a world of difference from a psychological standpoint.

And, of course, the bottom line related to a tax audit can be serious in the extreme.

For those and other reasons, persons receiving a tax audit notice might reasonably want to contact an accountant — preferably their own accountant of longstanding tenure — in advance of their audit date.

That is certainly what we recommend at Twin Cities-based Mark A. Pridgeon, Attorney at Law. In fact, we advise on our website Audits page that any person facing an audit “should get [his or her] personal accountant involved as soon as possible.”

The obvious reason: That professional can talk directly with an IRS or Minnesota Department of Revenue agent on your behalf, explaining the underlying reasons for any return-related entries — or omissions — that are questioned.

Audited persons often require more than just an accountant’s help, though, given that accountants lack the acumen of a proven tax lawyer in understanding, interpreting and applying relevant law. Moreover, an experienced tax attorney commands intimate knowledge of how to negotiate effectively with tax authorities.

Attorney Mark Pridgeon is both an attorney and CPA. He advises accountants on their role during an initial audit, and can additionally step in to personally work with tax agents on installment agreements, offers in compromise and other measures when an adjustment is proposed. Our firm also directly assists clients on litigation-related matters, including appeals.

We welcome inquiries from taxpayers and accountants representing them who need help with audit-related concerns.