Representation & Examinations

Representation & Examinations 

There are three types of audits: correspondence audit, office audit, and field audit. A correspondence audit is conducted entirely by mail and typically involves one or two simpler items on a return (e.g., Schedule A medical deductions or the earned income tax credit). An office audit is conducted at a taxing authority’s office with an agent (e.g., at an IRS office or state department of revenue office). A field audit involves an agent going to the taxpayer’s place of business or home to conduct the audit. Each type of audit carries different risks, involves different resources, requires careful planning and analysis, and involves different strategies to maximize the likelihood of a favorable outcome. And, sometimes further representation work is needed, such as filing an appeal or litigating the case.

This page focuses on guidance, practice aids, tools, and educational resources to help you plan, manage, and execute representation engagements (audits, appeals, collection issues, and more). Additional guidance and resources to assist members in navigating the IRS (such as guidance on e-Services or best practices to contact the IRS) can be found on our IRS Procedure and Tax Administration page.

Tools & Resources

We are continually developing new resources and updating existing resources for our members. Below are links to popular AICPA and IRS resources.

AICPA Resources

  • New! Letter to Advise Client on Partnership Audit Changes : Use this template letter to inform your partnership clients about the changes and advise them to contact you for additional guidance. You may also consider utilizing this content in client newsletters and other correspondence.
  • New! Business IRS Examination Checklist: This in-depth 18-page checklist will help you effectively navigate office and field audits for your business clients.
  • New! Examination Engagement Letter: Use this template when you represent clients in an audit; customize it to fit your needs. 
  • 8 IRS Examination Issues for Practitioners to Consider : This resource addresses eight commonly violated and/or misinterpreted IRS examination procedures and serves as guidance to help you understand your clients’ rights. Use this resource to help you effectively represent your clients during an IRS audit.
  • 14 IRS Collection Issues for Practitioners to Consider : This resource provides information on the 14 most commonly violated and/or misinterpreted IRS collection procedures and serves as guidance to help you understand your clients’ rights. Use this resource to effectively address all IRS collection matters (payment arrangements, liens, levies, Appeals, etc.).
  • IRS Authorizations Quick Reference Chart : View a chart that goes over the types of IRS authorizations and the benefits of each.
  • IRS Representation Log : Use this template to document all correspondence between you and the IRS.
  • Information Document Request Table of Contents Template: Use this template to serve as a table of contents for all items that the IRS requests during an audit, as outlined on the IRS’s Information Document Request (IDR). It’s important to carefully organize all substantiation so the IRS agent can quickly find what he or she is looking for, and in turn, speed up resolution of the audit.
  • Client Criminal Matters and the CPA Practice Guide: Provides a summary of the issues and procedures to be considered if a CPA thinks his or her client faces possible exposure to allegations of fraud or other criminal misconduct.

    IRS Resources

    News & Articles


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