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Tax law changes may result in more audits

While the number of IRS audits has gone down in recent years, taxpayers still need to take care when filing returns. This is especially true with the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Even tax professionals remain unclear about a number of its provisions.

There is need for considerable guidance regarding its many provisions that the IRS and the Treasury Department have not yet provided. When taxpayers try to interpret the various provisions without outside guidance, they are likely to bring attention from tax officials upon themselves.

Protecting yourself from an IRS audit

Due to changes to the corporate tax rate, some taxpayers may wish to defer more income and seek to move up deductions. Yet changes in accounting methods on tax returns to accomplish this will likely increase IRS scrutiny.

Under such circumstances, it may be necessary to take extra precautions in the event an IRS audit does occur. It is important to:

  • Understand and legal or factual basis for the position you are taking. This means organizing information that will justify the position you take.
  • Have documentation on your side that will support your story. Again, keep your documentation organized, and understand what it reports.
  • Understand that the IRS may ask others about the income and deductions you report
  • Understand that you have rights when it comes to an IRS audit.
  • Obtain legal advice from an experienced tax attorney.

If the IRS asks to speak with you, preparation is important. Any meeting with the IRS is a serious matter. The IRS has at its disposal the ability to fine, penalize, assess back taxes and even, in some circumstances, bring criminal charges.

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