Jim Buttonow, CPA, CITP
SVP Post-Filing Tax Services
Published on: August 11, 2021
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IRS audits are rare these days. Face-to-face audits that involve personal interaction between the IRS auditor and a taxpayer and/or their representative are the least common
Face-to-face audits (office or field examinations) are the most intrusive IRS tax return investigations. Around 1 out of 4 audits are office or field audits. Many face-to-face audits are saved for businesses, where the IRS cannot rely on W-2’s and 1099’s to track income and the stakes are higher in terms of overall tax exposure.
Because these audits are so rare, many taxpayers and tax professionals have no idea what they are getting into. They imagine an IRS agent who is armed with extensive knowledge and resources at their disposal to enforce tax laws. The reality is most agents treat each audit like a new experience and may not know what they are getting into.
Taxpayers under audit should know the following:
When it comes to face-to-face audits, taxpayers that represent themselves may be at a disadvantage. Why? Because the most important mindset of an auditor is that they are auditing the TAXPAYER, not just the tax return. Most taxpayers have no idea about the audit process and how to control the flow of information and what is said and provided to the IRS.
The goal is not to hide information from the IRS, but to have more influence on the scope, depth, and outcome of the examination. Taxpayers should never be put in this position. The best results come when you get an experienced Tax Pro and let them deal with the IRS.
For assistance creating a strategy to address your tax issue, visit Jackson Hewitt’s Tax Resolution Hub to see the various ways we can help you.
About the Author
Jim Buttonow, CPA, CITP, is the Senior Vice President for Post-Filing Tax Services at Jackson Hewitt. He’s been a leader in helping taxpayers and tax professionals resolve tax problems with the IRS, where he had worked for 19 years in various compliance-enforcement positions. Prior to his current role, Jim’s consulting practice focused on the areas of tax controversy and tax administration, which included leading product development on tax problem software for tax professionals, testifying before Congress, advocating for IRS transparency and efficiency, and proposing innovative large-scale solutions for taxpayers and tax professionals. Jim is also the author of Tax Problems and Solutions Handbook, a publication aimed at helping tax pros work more effectively in post-filing matters and resolving their clients’ most common tax problems.