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I’m being audited, what are my rights?

You received the letter from the Internal Revenue Service that no one in the state of New York, or anywhere else for that matter, wants to get. You are being audited and now you have concerns about how to handle the situation and what you are going to do if you end up having to pay even more in taxes, fees and penalties since you are not in a financial place to do so.

When it comes to tax audits, did you know you have protections under taxpayer rights? The IRS may have wide discretionary powers, but it does not have the power to walk all over you. What are your rights during an audit?

The taxpayer rights

There is a list of 10 taxpayer rights. These are the rights to:

  • Be informed
  • Appeal IRS decisions
  • Pay the correct amount
  • Privacy
  • Receive quality service
  • Speak up
  • Confidentiality
  • Legal counsel
  • A fair system
  • Finality

In short, all of this means that if you end up receiving an audit notice, you have the right to know what it is about and you have the right to updates on your case throughout the audit process. You have the right to ask questions and have an attorney represent you. You have the right to challenge an audit ruling and you have the right to have the audit finalized in a timely manner.

I made it through the audit and owe, what can I do?

If, after audit completion, you find out that you owe more in taxes, fees and penalties but you lack the funds to pay, you may feel out of luck. Thankfully, there may be a few things you can do. You can try an Installment Agreement, which is essentially a payment plan set up directly with the IRS. You can try to settle for less than you owe through an Offer in Compromise. Finally, if your situation qualifies, you may be able to file bankruptcy in order to seek relief from your tax debts.

With the assistance of an experienced attorney, it may be possible to get through your audit quickly and then either take the steps to appeal the decision, find a way to pay any extra money owed to the government or seek debt relief. Every case is unique in its own way, so how yours is handled may be different from anyone you know who has been through the same thing. Legal counsel can help you tackle your case in a way that best suits your situation and protects your taxpayer rights.

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