What to do when audited

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Updated: 3/27/2003 1:10 pm
An IRS audit is an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service to make sure that you paid the correct amount of taxes. It's your responsibility to prove to the IRS that you've accurately reported all your income and that you were indeed legally able to take any credits, deductions, and exemptions claimed on your tax return. For this reason, it's recommended that you keep all relevant documents for at least three years from the filing date and that you collect all relevant documentation before you contact the IRS. Ask for more time if you need it. If the auditor wants to meet with you in person, offer to meet at his or her office. Provide all the requested materials cooperatively and respectfully. Answer any appropriate questions, but don't talk excessively. If any documents are missing, you'll generally be granted the opportunity to reconstruct the records. When the examiner is finished looking at your records, one of several determinations will be made. You might be asked to disburse to the IRS any underpayment of taxes; you could be subjected to municipal fines; or you could be criminally charged with a tax crime. If you're being audited by the IRS and are uncertain about what to do, contact a tax-law professional for more information.

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