Keep your answers short and refrain from elaborating on any answer unless asked to do so. Do not answer questions you were not asked and do not try to anticipate an auditor’s next question. Do not give the auditor more information than she is asking for, and refrain from talking during the audit more than is absolutely necessary to address an auditor’s questions. I tell my client’s to watch my body language carefully as I will warn them when they are on dangerous grounds non-verbally. I have even been known to gently kick a client under the table when they are getting too relaxed, have dropped their guard and have become overly communicative with an auditor.
Unless advised otherwise by your counsel, do not provide copies of prior or subsequent years tax returns to the auditor. Moreover, you may be better off not bringing to an audit documentation pertaining to any other year not currently under audit or specifically referenced in the taxing authority’s document request list.
If you feel you are not being treated properly or fairly by an agent and start to become agitated, you must remain in control of your emotions, remain respectful and continue to treat them cordially. It is your counsel’s job to intervene on your behalf and ask to speak to the auditor’s manager if he / she thinks the auditor is treating you unfairly or with a lack of respect. If the subject of tax fraud comes up during an audit, your counsel may advise you to evoke your 5th amendment privilege against self incrimination in which case you should remain silent and speak only when and where your counsel advises you to.
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