Tax Attorney Brian T. Loughrin successfully helps taxpayers stand up to the IRS.
Few things in life are more intimidating than facing a tax audit (technically called an examination). Going into an audit alone is like entering a boxing match with both hands tied behind your back. You don't want to just "wing it" on your own and hope for the best with your fingers crossed. Something said innocently or in jest can be used against you even after the audit process is complete!
Why Choose Our IRS Audit Lawyers in Tampa
Our Tampa IRS tax relief lawyer Brian Loughrin will be with you every step of the way before, during and even after the audit. We know what to do for you when you are facing an audit. Our goal is always to obtain a "No Change" Letter (if appropriate) or to make certain that if there is additional tax to be assessed, it is the lowest amount under the law.
Are You Being Audited by the IRS?
When most people learn they are being audited by the IRS, they immediately become worried and wonder what they may have done wrong.
- The first thing you should know is that an IRS tax audit does not necessarily mean you have done anything wrong.
- The second thing to know is that IRS tax audits are survivable, providing you know what to do and you have the resources at your disposal to meet the IRS demands.
What Causes You to Get Audited by the IRS?
The main reasons that you will get audited by the IRS are the following:
- Data Entry Errors. An audit can be triggered by something as simple as entering your social security number incorrectly or misspelling your own name. Making math errors is another trigger.
- Unreported Income. Don't ever leave out any income, self-employment income, bonuses, and other income contributes to your audit risk. Not only that, but the IRS compares your income from year to year. A noticeable discrepancy without supporting information to show why there is such a difference can make the government sit up and take notice. The IRS receives copies of the same income reporting forms you do, from copies of your W-2 to Form 1099.
- Wrong Filing Status. Suddenly changing your filing status can also create notice. For example, if you are recently divorced and file as single or head of household rather than married filing jointly, the IRS may decide to get up in your business to see what’s going on.
- Self-Employment. The IRS tends to scrutinize those who are self-employed, particularly if you fail to report a profit for at least three out of five years. If you are not making a profit with your sole proprietor business, the IRS figures you are using the status as a tax dodge.
What Are the Types of IRS Audits?
Answer all the IRS's inquiries truthfully. However, only answer the questions you are asked and do not divulge any more information than is needed. You could inadvertently open doors to other areas subject to audit by talking about information that was otherwise not relevant to your audit.
The IRS has two major forms of audits:
- Correspondence Audit. These audits are conducted through the mail. The IRS will simply ask you to sign your return if you forgot to do so, or send in W-2's or any other forms of documentation you may not have included in your return.
- Home / Office Audit. These occur when the IRS requests an in-person audit. An in-person Audit may be a sign that the IRS has serious concerns regarding the correctness of your tax return. If you are asked to bring certain documents to an in-person audit, bring only those requested documents!
Both types are serious and failing to supply the IRS with the correct information during a mail Audit could result in an in-person Audit. All IRS Audits should be taken seriously because they can often lead to other tax years and other tax deductions not originally stated in the Audit letter.
How Can I Survive an IRS Tax Audit?
If you have been notified of an audit or one is ongoing, your first action should be to call Attorney Brian Loughrin, who is fully prepared to perform all the work on your audit, from start to finish. Although an accountant or enrolled agent is able to represent you in an audit, they do not have the attorney-client privilege afforded to an attorney. This can make your tax information vulnerable if they are summoned by the IRS.
At times, an IRS examination will not require a personal appearance and can be resolved through the mail. If you are asked to appear and bring specified records, you can have your attorney appear for you. In this case, we are empowered to fully act on your behalf all the way through to signing the final agreement. With nearly 20+ years of experience in these matters, we know the rules of the audits game and how to win.
To a great degree, successfully resolving an audit depends on keeping good tax records. Our office can review all applicable returns and the supporting documentation in preparation for meeting with the IRS. Even if your record-keeping is not ideal, we can work with you to reconstruct what occurred in a given year and put it into a form that is acceptable to the IRS.
In any meetings with the IRS, we follow a strict policy of not volunteering any information that they have not requested. Additionally, our office will not provide any documentation that is not specifically required. We want you to be represented by someone who thoroughly understands the tax codes and knows how to answer, or not, questions from the IRS. Our office is here to represent you and your interests.
How Far Back Can The IRS Audit?
Generally, the IRS has a statute of limitations of three years from the date a tax return is filed to initiate an audit. However, exceptions exist that can extend this timeframe as well. If the IRS suspects a substantial error that fraud was involved, then the statute of limitations may be extended to six years. The IRS does not typically go back further than that.
If a taxpayer has not filed a tax return or filed a fraudulent one, then there is no statute of limitations. The IRS will initiate an audit at any time, even for returns filed many years ago.
In cases where there was substantial understated income, the IRS can audit returns beyond the usual three-year period, extending the statute of limitations to six years.
Dial (813) 517-8074 to speak with a skilled IRS audit attorney today.
How To Know If The IRS Is Auditing You
Recognizing if the IRS is auditing you typically involves receiving an official communication from them. The most common indicator is a notice in the mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. This notice will explain the reason why you’re being audited, the specific tax return(s) under review, and the timeframe they are looking into. The IRS might request certain documentation, like receipts or financial records, to support your reported income and deductions.
You might also be contacted via phone or in person, but written notices by mail are the standard. The IRS usually communicates any tax discrepancies or audit intentions through these notices. If you are being contacted in person, agents from the IRS typically carry two forms of identification and you may ask to see them:
- IRS credentials, or “pocket commission”
- An HSPD-12 card, a standard ID for all federal employees
Watch Out For IRS Audit Scammers
Usually, if an in-person is required, you will receive a letter in the mail to schedule it. Other things to watch for include:
- Receiving prerecorded voicemails: The IRS does not leave prerecorded voicemails.
- Receiving text messages: The IRS does not communicate with taxpayers through text.
- You’re receiving emails: The IRS does not start contact with individuals or businesses via email
- You receive a form that does not appear on the IRS website.
If you're concerned about the authenticity of any communication claiming to be from the IRS and you wish to report it, you may contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or call 1-800-366-4484.
If you’re being contacted online by someone claiming to be from the IRS, forward emails or phone numbers to email@example.com . o not open links or any attachments in the emails.
In summary, to know if the IRS is auditing you, pay close attention to any official mail or communication, and be prepared to provide requested documentation to support your tax returns.
Do You Get Your Tax Refund If You Get Audited?
Getting audited by the IRS doesn't necessarily mean you won't receive your tax refund. The audit process is separate from the issuance of refunds. If your return is being audited, the IRS will typically review specific aspects of your tax return to verify its accuracy. If they find discrepancies or errors, they may adjust your tax liability.
In some cases, this adjustment might result in a reduced refund, or you might owe additional taxes. However, if the audit doesn't reveal any issues, your tax refund will be processed as usual. It's essential to cooperate with the IRS audit, provide requested documentation, and address any concerns the IRS has promptly. This can help ensure that your refund, if due, is not delayed unnecessarily. Remember that an audit is a routine part of the IRS's effort to maintain tax compliance.
Speak With An Experienced IRS Audit Lawyer
Undergoing an IRS audit? At Brian T. Loughrin Tax Attorney, our experienced IRS audit attorney in Tampa, FL understands the concerns that come with facing an audit. With over 25 years of experience in tax law, we provide personalized attention and guidance to clients, ensuring they receive the support they need during this challenging process.
Don’t face an IRS audit alone. Speak with a seasoned Tampa IRS audit lawyer at Brian T. Loughrin Tax Attorney who can provide personalized attention. When you choose our firm, you'll go through a free case evaluation, during which we'll assess the details of your audit and explain your rights and options. Then, we can guide you through each step of the audit process, protecting your interests. Reach out to us today.
Understandably, many people do not like facing an audit alone, even if they have done nothing wrong and all of their deductions are above reproach. Our office will be able to assist you by responding to a through-the-mail audit to ensure that accurate documentation is sent in. In the event of an in-person audit, we can help you compile accurate information. In some instances, we can even represent you at the audit without you even having to be present!
It makes sense to have a tax attorney represent you during an audit. The tax auditor will appreciate working with a tax attorney who knows the tax code. This will save the tax auditor time, effort and aggravation because they will not have to explain the tax code to an individual who isn't an expert in the area of tax law.
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