When you owe money to the IRS, you may find yourself contacted at home or at your business by an IRS Revenue Officer. This can be a frightening experience for any taxpayer. A visit from a Revenue Officer typically occurs in connection with what is known as a field audit. During this process, the Officer will seek answers to a broad range of questions pertaining to your tax liability. It is important for taxpayers to understand their rights during this process.
Your Rights During an IRS Field Audit
Since the actions you take when dealing with an IRS Revenue Officer can significantly impact the outcome of your tax issue, it is crucial to understand that you are entitled to the following rights:
- You can choose to be represented by an attorney or other tax professional and grant him or her power of attorney to deal with the IRS on your behalf.
- If you are represented by a tax professional, the IRS cannot interview you without that person present.
- The IRS must treat your personal and financial information with confidentiality.
- If you wish to record the interview with the IRS, you can do so provided that you first provide the agency with at least 10 days notice.
- During the process, the IRS Revenue Officer must treat you courteously.
- You have additional rights if you have been audited in the last two years regarding the same tax question currently at issue. If the previous audit did not result in your owing any additional tax, the IRS will typically suspend the current audit once this is called to their attention.
- You are entitled to know your rights as a taxpayer. The IRS provides Publication 1: Your Rights as a Taxpayer for all taxpayers.
If an IRS Revenue Officer contacts you, we strongly recommend that you seek guidance from an experienced tax professional. We have helped many clients successfully resolve their tax problems with the IRS. Learn more about the experiences of these clients by checking out our client testimonials.