Finding out the IRS is auditing you may get your mind racing, but try not to panic. Most IRS audits are not the drawn-out, harrowing experiences you may think that they are. Understanding more about the process may help calm your nerves and allow you to prepare appropriately.
Per the Motley Fool, tax audits fall into one of three categories: audits conducted via mail, in-office audits and field audits.
Audits conducted via mail
Most IRS audits take place through the mail, meaning you may never have to visit someone’s office or have someone visit yours. When the IRS audits you via this method, plan on having to produce documentation that may help answer any questions the administration may have.
The in-office audit is often more involved than an audit conducted over the mail. Plan on visiting your local IRS office to meet with a representative who may need more information than a paper trail provides. You may also have the opportunity to bring an accountant or legal representation with you to your in-office tax audit.
Field audits are often the most comprehensive of the three audit types. You may need to undergo a field audit if there are glaring inconsistencies on, or numerous questions raised by, your tax return. This type of audit may involve you having an IRS representative visit you at your home or place of business to investigate any red flags it identified when reviewing your return. Keep in mind that a field audit does not automatically mean big trouble, but it may result in a change to your tax return. About 90% of audits result in at least one such change.