When you’ve undergone an IRS tax examination, better known as an audit, you may not agree with all their findings. After you look over the results from the IRS, you may find that you’re being asked to pay a lot more than you thought you would owe, or that one of the calculations was performed incorrectly.
If this happens to you, don’t panic yet: You can petition the IRS to appeal the results of your audit, at no additional cost. In fact, it’s one of the fundamental rights included on the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights,” which states that you are entitled to a “fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions.” According to some estimates, only 10% of taxpayers actually appeal audits, even though it increases your chance of getting a reduced tax burden.
When Should I Consider Appealing My Audit Results?
There are countless tax situations, and an equally countless number of ways the IRS could have incorrectly calculated your tax burden. Perhaps they removed a deduction you should rightfully have, or maybe they failed to account for a key exemption. Either way, there are many stories of the IRS simply making mistakes. While the organization reports that it proactively corrects more than 1.5 million errors on individual returns each year, it’s impossible for them to catch everything.
If you do suspect something is wrong with your tax return, it’s worth getting a second opinion before you act, especially if you are unfamiliar with tax laws. When your attorney or accountant agrees that the inconsistency seems unfair, you should probably consider petitioning the IRS for an appeal.
How to Begin Appealing Your Audit
The IRS Office of Appeals employs about 2,000 appeals officers across the country, and these employees tend to be past auditors, with either legal or accounting experience on top of a lengthy IRS background. Appeals officers are there to help the IRS avoid costly tax litigation and minimize problems, by working with taxpayers directly to resolve any issues. Contrary to popular perceptions of IRS employees, they are often more than willing to hear your side of the story.
In order to begin the appeals process, you will need to send a formal letter to the IRS detailing your contact information and a thorough explanation of your disagreement, along with any evidence you can provide. Depending on how much you owe, you may need to write a letter of protest, with those who owe more than $25,000 in taxes required to send a special form. Once the IRS has accepted your written request(s), the tax appeal process will begin within 90 days, and you will most likely need to present your case at an appeals case hearing.
Taxpayers can technically represent themselves in an IRS hearing, but it’s strongly recommended that you bring a tax professional with you, whether that be your accountant or your IRS & tax law attorney. Attempting to present all the details in person can be tricky, but a qualified lawyer or tax professional can increase your chances of success and help you protect against any future losses.
Our Brevard County tax lawyers are here to help if you’d like to appeal your IRS audit. Contact us at (321) 320-6088 to learn more!