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Audit basics: Know these three types

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducts audits for a variety of reasons. Some audits the result of discrepancies in tax filings, others are allegedly random. Whatever the reason for the audit, those who are the subject of scrutiny by the IRS likely have one thing in common: the stress of the event.

One way to ease the stress is to know what types of methods the agency uses when conducting an audit. Determining which type you are dealing with can help you prepare for the process. The three basic types to be aware of include:

  • Correspondence. This is the most common method. It involves a mailing from the IRS, generally asking for clarification on some part of the tax filings. This audit is generally the result of a discrepancy between the filing and the information provided to the IRS by a third party, such as an employer.
  • Office. If information is missing you may need to go to a local IRS office. You may need to bring information about deductions or income to the meeting to support the filings.
  • Assigned agent. If the alleged tax issue is complex, the IRS may assign a field agent to the matter. This individual, referred to as a Revenue Agent, will likely send you a letter to request a meeting.

A recent piece by Fox News notes that there is a fourth type of audit: random audits. These audits are allegedly triggered by no particular error in tax filings. Instead, the audit is a random review of your entire filing.

In addition to knowing how the process works, you can also ease the stress of the process by hiring legal counsel. An experienced attorney can represent you during this audit, advocating for your interests and working to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

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