A Guide to an Audit WHAT, HOW, WHY AND WHAT DO TO IF YOU GET AUDITED
by Joel Jensen, Tax Sentry
E veryone has some form of tax anxiety. This anxiety can stem from the fear of audit, the unknown, or the amount paid in taxes. We have all heard the term inno- cent until proven guilty. That’s the society that we feel we live in. But with the IRS, it is the opposite. You are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. That’s right, you are not innocent until you can show them you didn’t do it. Outlined below are some ways to lessen the chance of an audit and be ready in case you ever get one: WHY DO PEOPLE GETAUDITED? THIS QUESTION IS HARD TO REALLY PINPOINT BUT THERE ARE A FEWCOMMON THREADS YOU SEE WHEN PEOPLE LOSE ANAUDIT. POOR RECORD KEEPING Your record keeping is the basis to running a successful business from an accounting side. Record keeping can be as simple as a notebook or as grandiose as a computer program. Make sure to sit down and take the time to organize your information instead of using a shoebox method at the end of the year. Garbage in = Garbage out. BAD ADVICE Your neighbor’s tax return and your tax return aren’t the same. When getting tax advice, make sure to consult someone who is specialized in what you do. When it comes to your taxes, it is best to know as opposed to guess. When in doubt, figure it out or have someone do it for you. The IRS knows GUESSING ON A TAX RETURN
where they want items reported. It is up to you to provide them with the correct information. A lot of audits are started by careless errors. FALLING BEING AND BEING NEGLIGENT This is common and the IRS views this as low-hanging fruit. If you fall behind and rush in returns, it’s most likely you got overwhelmed and missed key points. Make sure to take your time and document.
HOWDOES THE IRS AUDITYOU? The IRS audits will always begin with letters. They will not call or come to your house as a first line of action. If you get a call that claims they are the IRS, it is a scam.
WHAT TO DO IFYOU GETAUDITED?
GATHER YOUR ALIBI Once again, the IRS treats you as guilty until you prove yourself innocent. You have to form an alibi. This is done through your records and the paper trail that business owners keep. If you don’t keep mileage logs and other documents, you will most likely not be able to prove those expenses in case of an audit. CORRESPOND THROUGH REPRESENTATION If you hire someone to handle the audit, let them communicate with the IRS. The IRS speaks a different language than the everyday person, so it’s best to have a translator on your side. •
96 | think realty magazine :: april 2020
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