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Taking your audit to tax court

Like many in New York and across the country, after you submit your tax returns, you may expect not to be dealing with the IRS until next year. Therefore, if you receive notice that the IRS is auditing your returns, you may have many concerns. You can prepare well for your audit, but if things don’t go your way, you may find that the IRS is making a substantial adjustment to what you owe.

You have a choice. You can accept what the IRS says, or you can dispute the adjustment. If you decide to dispute, you should prepare to take the matter to tax court.

What to expect

After your audit, the IRS will send you a letter to notify you of your tax deficiency, and you will have 90 days to respond. If you plan to take your dispute to tax court, you should first understand the differences between tax court and most other kinds of court. While it is a smart first step to gain as much information as possible from an experienced tax attorney, you can expect the following:

  • A jury will not hear your case, but you will go before one of several judges appointed specifically to hear tax disputes.
  • You must present credible evidence, such as expense logs, receipts and other records, to support your claim.
  • You may also present any witnesses who can attest to your side of the dispute.
  • You may have an attorney with your throughout the case.
  • The IRS must prove your evidence is false or accept it as valid.
  • You may request that your case go to the less formal Small Court if the amount in question is less than $50,000.
  • The judge will render a decision and notify you by mail, though sometimes it takes a year or longer to hear your ruling.
  • You will have 90 days to appeal the judge’s decision unless you choose Small Court, which provides no option for an appeal.

The chances of winning in tax court are low because the IRS has already heard your arguments during the audit. However, if you have additional facts or feel the IRS has made a mistake in interpreting your records, tax court may set matters straight. You do not have to face this stressful situation on your own. A skilled attorney can assist you in gathering and presenting the appropriate evidence for the best chances at reaching your goals in tax court.

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