Audits and Appeals

Do you disagree with an IRS audit of your taxes? You have the right to appeal the decision. An experienced tax attorney can help you put together your appeal and let you know your options.

What Is an IRS Audit?

The IRS conducts a formal review process to ensure taxpayers submit accurate information and calculate their taxes correctly. During an audit, the IRS will analyze your tax returns, review your supporting documents, and determine if your information is correct.

The IRS will close the audit in one of two ways. The first is by stating that there are no problems with your return and nothing to change. The second conclusion is that the IRS will send you a list of proposed changes to your return, which you can contest by either providing additional information or filing for an appeal.

Why Is the IRS Auditing You?

The IRS might have chosen your tax return randomly for audit, which it has the authority to do. More commonly, the IRS selects specific returns that appear to be problematic.

Factors that might get you audited by the IRS

  • The information on your tax return doesn't match the IRS' records
  • You didn't report some of your income
  • Your expenses exceed your income
  • You have a high number of charitable donations that look suspicious
  • Taxpayers you do business with are under audit

How Far Back Can an IRS Audit Go?

When launching an audit, the IRS must adhere to a statute of limitations set by Congress. Taxpayers may not be subject to audits for returns that they filed years ago, as they may no longer have the supporting documentation or knowledge to sufficiently respond to the audit.

Three Years

For most audits, the IRS will go back three years. It'll be three years after the return's original due date or when it was filed, whichever is later.

Six Years

If you underreport your income by 25 percent or more, the IRS can go back six years for an audit.

No Limit

If the return contained fraudulent information, the IRS has no limit on how far it can go back. The IRS must substantiate any allegations of fraud, however.

How to Appeal the Results of an IRS Audit

After the IRS concludes the audit, you'll receive a letter explaining the proposed modifications. You can appeal the decision by filing a Request for Appeals Review. You must file within 30 days of receiving the IRS' decision letter. When you appeal an audit decision, you need specific reasons for contesting, backed up by documentation. You won't have a chance of a favorable outcome unless you present a solid argument.

To better your chances of appealing an IRS audit decision, consider contacting an experienced tax attorney. A lawyer can help you navigate the complex IRS audit and appeals process. Contact a California Tax Attorney today to set up a consultation and discuss your audit appeals process.

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