Under the law, every individual or business under going an audit is afforded a number of protections and rights as a taxpayer. However, don’t be deceived into thinking that because of these protections, that it would be either prudent or cost-effective to handle your own audit. Although these rights exist to protect taxpayers during the audit process, knowing when and how to exercise them effectively as well as knowing the proper strategy to employ during an audit are critical to minimizing your civil and possibly even criminal liabilities.
That being said, here is a short list of some of the common taxpayer rights during an audit:
The right to request certain information pertaining to your audit from the IRS
The right to set appointments related to the audit at a reasonable time and place
The right to professional tax representation
The right to privacy and confidentiality
The right to be treated with professionally and with courtesy
The right to be treated fairly with respect to your civil rights
The right to be notified of any third party summons and to contest the summons
The right to record any IRS interview
The right to be free from potential repetitive audits regarding the same issue
The right to independent administrative and judicial review of the audit findings
Remember, one of your most important rights as a taxpayer is the right to professional representation during the audit process. An experienced tax attorney can help limit the scope of your audit, prepare you for the interview, protect you from making harmful and inadvertent disclosures, sniff out potential criminal investigations, point out instances of misconduct by an IRS auditor, develop an overall strategy for minimizing your civil and criminal liabilities, and most importantly protect you when the IRS mis-applies the law to the facts of your case.