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.
We are continually developing new resources and updating existing resources for our members. Below are links to popular AICPA and IRS 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.
- Internal Revenue Manual: Read about the procedures that IRS employees must follow to administer fair tax administration (this is essentially the IRS’s employee handbook).
- Tax Code, Regulations, and Official Guidance: Research tax law by navigating to the applicable Code, Treasury Regulations, or Internal Revenue Bulletins that you need to address your client’s issue.
- Stakeholder Liaison Local Contacts: Stakeholder liaisons establish relationships with practitioner and industry organizations; they provide information about policies, practices, and procedures.
- Taxpayer Advocate Service: Get help from a local Taxpayer Advocate Service employee.
- Forms 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative (instructions): Use this IRS form to represent your client during an audit, appeal, or other IRS matter.
- IRS Audits: Get guidance on the IRS’s audit process for a small business/self-employed taxpayer, including videos, relevant publications, and more.
- Audit Technique Guides (ATGs): View the applicable guide for your client’s industry. These ATGs help IRS examiners during audits by providing insight into issues and accounting methods unique to specific industries.
- IRS Appeals: Resolving Tax Disputes: This page contains information and valuable links to help you file an appeal with the IRS Office of Appeals to resolve various tax issues.
- IRS Publication 3598, What You Should Know About the Audit Reconsideration Process: This publication provides guidance on the audit reconsideration process including when it is appropriate and how to request it.
- IRS Publication 5125, Large Business and International Examination Process: This publication outlines the new examination process which provides an issue-based approach for conducting professional examinations.
- U.S. Tax Court Petition Kit: This kit contains the instructions and forms to use when filling a case in the U.S. Tax Court.
- Partnership Audit Changes Ahead: Review Client Operating Agreements Today, Tax Section News, Feb. 2016
- Congress Changes Partnership Audit Procedures, The Tax Adviser, Feb. 2016
- IRS Appeals Provides a Pathway to Settlement, The Tax Adviser, Jan. 2016
- Audit Reconsideration: An Effective Way of Resolving Disputes With the IRS, The Tax Adviser, Jan. 2016
- Managing IRS Authorizations, Journal of Accountancy, July 2015
- Managing the IRS Examination Process: From Notice to Appeal, May 4 (1pm ET): It's your "unlucky" day. You just received a letter from the IRS indicating that your client's return is under audit. The IRS needs you to schedule an appointment and bring numerous documents to the meeting. Where do you begin? In this jam-packed webcast, we will cover a plethora of topics and best practices on how to manage an IRS audit engagement - from start to finish.