Goldburd | Goldburd McCone LLP

For nationwide tax guidance, call:
212-235-1537 or toll-free at 866-712-9505.

Goldburd | Goldburd McCone LLP

For nationwide tax guidance, call: 212-302-9400 or toll-free at 844-653-2873.

Serving Individual And Corporate Tax Clients Nationwide From Our New York, New Jersey, Florida And California Offices

Steven Goldburd and Benjamin A Goldburd

Since 1983, our tax firm has skillfully represented individuals and corporations across the United States and around the globe from our offices in New York, New Jersey, California and Florida.

The emotional impact of IRS audits: Coping with financial scrutiny

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Tax Audits

The envelope bearing the IRS logo arrives unannounced, bringing with it a wave of apprehension: you are the subject of an official tax audit.

Such news can send a chill down the spine of even the most diligent taxpayer. An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit is not just a review of numbers and receipts; it is an emotional journey that can evoke uncertainty, stress, and a myriad of questions about what lies ahead. As you face the scrutiny of the federal government, it is natural to feel a sense of vulnerability at the thought of the government investigating your financial life.

You can take some control over the situation by learning more about the process and its emotional toll.

What is the emotional toll of an IRS audit on taxpayers?

A recent national survey released by the Taxpayer Advocate highlights the psychological effects of IRS audits on taxpayers. The survey studied non-farm self-employed taxpayers and analyzed how audits, especially correspondence audits, impact taxpayer attitudes and perceptions. Some of the findings include:

  • Type and recollection of audit: Correspondence audits are less memorable than face-to-face audits.
  • Impact on attitudes: Audits can induce negative perceptions of the IRS, reducing trust and increasing feelings of coercion.
  • Effect of audit outcomes: The audit’s result affects future audit risk perception and emotional responses towards the IRS.

In essence, the survey reveals that the type of audit and its outcome play a significant role in shaping taxpayer attitudes towards the IRS, with correspondence audits leading to more negative views and frustration with the process.

How can I protect my emotional well-being during an official tax audit?

To cope with the stress of an IRS audit, consider the following:

  • Seek professional guidance: Engage a tax professional to navigate the audit process. The attorneys at Goldburd McCone have experience in these types of audits and can advocate for your interests on your behalf. This can mean you focus more on your mental health and your legal counsel focuses on protecting your rights, better ensuring a more favorable outcome.
  • Stay informed: Understand your rights and the audit’s scope.
  • Maintain perspective: Remember that an audit is a procedural matter, not a personal indictment.

An IRS audit can stir up a range of emotions, from anxiety to distrust. By staying informed and seeking professional support, taxpayers can better manage the emotional impact of financial scrutiny while also protecting their interests.