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, collection issues, penalties, 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 some newly released AICPA resources and some valuable links to various IRS resources.
- Managing IRS authorizations: Read this article from the Journal of Accountancy that discusses how to file, manage, and withdraw IRS authorizations.
- 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’ 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.
- Internal Revenue Manual: Read about the procedures that IRS employees must follow to administer fair tax administration (this is essentially the IRS’ 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.
- 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’ 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.
- 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.
- IRS Disputes: Identity Options, Sept. 18 1pm (ET): Gain the powerful knowledge and understanding you need to stand up to the IRS. Learn what may trigger an audit, how to negotiate with the IRS, settle an appeal, and qualify for an IRS collection program. Represent your client with confidence, and evaluate your client's best options for dealing effectively with the IRS.
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