The IRS conducts tax audits—referred to as examinations—by mail or in-person. Taxpayers are usually selected either randomly, by computer screening or due to a referral or an audit of a business partner or investor. Taxpayers have the option of working with the examiner directly, or with the assistance of a representative such as a tax audit defense lawyer.
Taxpayers who “have nothing to hide” may think that it will be easier to work with the examiner themselves. However, there are several reasons to consider retaining a tax attorney if you are being audited.
First, you should have a trained eye review all the information you give to the IRS. The IRS will request documentation in the form of receipts, bills, loan agreements, canceled checks, or many other types of documents. Before you hand everything over to the IRS, it’s a good idea to have an experienced tax attorney review everything. Some issues may not be easy to spot for a lay person without extensive tax knowledge or experience with IRS tax audits. If you give the IRS information that indicates that you have committed tax fraud or other tax violations, you may end up facing criminal tax charges and giving the IRS valuable evidence that incriminates you.