The Tax Audit

For many taxpayers, there are few things as concerning and anxiety-inducing as being selected for a tax audit or taking some action that raises red flags and triggers an audit by the IRS. Many taxpayers will suffer through countless sleepless nights before reaching out to a tax attorney for guidance regarding the severity of the situation they face.  In some instances, it is indeed an action by the taxpayer that increases their odds of being audited or triggers the audit. For instance, the individual may have forgotten to include one or more sources of income and was identified by the IRS from information matching procedures. 


  • Field audit : Interview at taxpayer's home, place of business or representative's office
  • Office audit : Interview at an IRS office
  • Correspondence audit : Via Mail


Generally, the IRS can include returns filed within the last three (3) years; however, may add additional years if substantial errors are identified. 

Should I Consult My Original Tax Preparer Prior to An Audit?

While it may seem tempting to contact your tax preparer to handle your audit, this is not typically a prudent approach.  The fact is that anything you disclose to an accountant or tax preparer is not protected. That is, if the tax preparer or CPA is subpoenaed in a subsequent criminal tax proceeding, they will be compelled to reveal any wrongdoing you admitted. Furthermore, accountants and tax preparers who come under scrutiny often blame their clients to protect their license, reputation and livelihood.

Instead, taxpayers should seek out tax audit help from a criminal tax defense lawyer as soon as possible. Only the attorney-client privilege and the attorney work-product rule can protect the disclosures you may make in the course of seeking legal advice. Furthermore, a tax attorney can bring in consulting accountants while providing them with derivative attorney-client privilege through a legal device known as a Kovel letter. Last, the focus of an attorney is advocacy while the focus of an accountant is accuracy. Once matters have moved into questions of tax law and tax controversies, the skill set of a lawyer is more appropriate and likely to be effective.