Filing tax returns is difficult and often stressful. Arguably, the only thing even more stressful is getting contacted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or New York Department of Taxation and Finance with questions about your return.
How will these agencies contact taxpayers? The IRS and New York Department of Taxation and Finance will generally send a correspondence through the mail requesting additional information. Although a phone call is unlike and suspect, there are cases the agency will choose to send a field agent.
How should taxpayers respond? If contacted by one of these agencies, it is wise to respond with courtesy and honesty. If the issue involves a complex tax matter is wise to seek legal counsel before providing information. If you do provide information, answer only direct questions. It is generally not wise to provide additional information. Also, do not invite the agents to search your office. If the agents are requesting a search, seek legal counsel.
Another common mistake involves a taxpayer promising the agency that they will pay off their tax debt. Taxpayers who make this promise may unwittingly limit their ability to take part in other payment option programs with the tax agency at a later date.
It is also important to avoid negative or threatening comments. If the issue is complex, you may be dealing with this agent for a long time. Avoid starting off with a negative interaction if possible.
Do I need a lawyer? If the tax matter is complex, it is wise to seek legal counsel. The attorneys at Goldburd McCone can provide representation throughout the audit process.