An audit is a procedure used by a taxing authority to assemble pertinent information about your tax return and to make a determination if the information you included on the return was accurate and truthful. The taxing authority will request all the substantiation it feels is necessary to prove the information included on your return. The taxing authorities use two main flavors of audit techniques. They can choose to conduct the examination through either the mail or via in-person interview.
The location of your audit is often a good indication of the severity of the audit. An IRS audit scheduled for your home or office, commonly known as a field audit, should be taken more seriously due to the fact that the IRS Auditor is a Revenue Agent. Revenue Agents receive more training on auditing techniques than does a typical tax examiner.
An audit conducted through the mail is known as a correspondence audit. Its scope is usually less than that required for a home or office audit. The taxing authority will usually mail you a letter notifying you that they need additional documentation from you and often the letter will indicate that they believe a change to your tax return may be indicated.
A home or office audit is more time-consuming and involved than a correspondence audit. The auditor can, and often does, question other areas not originally mentioned in the original audit correspondence. The office audit will normally be at the taxing authority’s branch office closest to where you live or operate your business. The taxing authority will usually schedule the audit to take place at a reasonable time and location that is convenient to both you and the taxing authority.
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