IRS Audits & Appeals

Greenville IRS Audit Attorneys

Knowledgeable Legal Guidance

If you learn you are being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), do not panic. Our Greenville IRS audit lawyers can represent you throughout the process and will work to secure a positive result. Our experienced team at Southeastern Tax Advocates includes a board certified tax lawyer. Our parent firm, Merline & Meacham, P.A. [1], has served clients throughout South Carolina since 1970. We are deeply familiar with the intricacies of how the IRS operates and can leverage our knowledge to benefit your case.

Our firm can help you with audits based on state, federal, sales, and foreign taxes. Schedule a no-obligation consultation by contacting us online or calling (864) 613-6608 today.

What Causes an IRS Audit?

A relatively small number of taxpayers are audited by the IRS. The agency will audit, or investigate, a tax return when it notices a discrepancy or something amiss.

The IRS may audit a tax return if:

  • Income is missing. Your employers will independently submit tax documentation to the IRS each tax season, so the government will have some idea of what your income should be. The IRS may initiate an audit if it notices one or more sources of income are missing from your return.
  • There are math errors. Filling out a tax return on your own can be extremely confusing if you are not familiar with the U.S. tax code. Math mistakes can result in your paying less than what you actually owe, which will often trigger an audit.
  • There are too many deductions. Taxpayers can claim qualifying deductions to reduce what they owe on their taxes. However, the IRS carefully monitors deductions and will flag suspected cases of abuse. This might involve claiming personal expenses as business expenses, improperly claiming a home office deduction, or exploiting deductions you do not expressly qualify for.
  • There are major discrepancies. Your tax return must somehow “make sense” in order for it to pass muster with the IRS. In other words, the government might take a closer look if you claim you have no income.
  • You are randomly selected. Believe it or not, the IRS does randomly select a small number of taxpayers to ensure their systems and processes are working properly. In other words, you could have done nothing wrong or suspicious, but you still may receive notice of an audit.

Types of IRS Audits

There are several types of audits. Many audits, called “correspondence audits,” will be facilitated entirely through the mail. Correspondence audits are generally simpler in nature and therefore easier to resolve.

A “simple letter” is technically not even a formal audit. The IRS may send you a letter in the mail claiming you owe more than what you paid as part of your tax return.

Simple letters are typically sent when the IRS detects an omitted wage or a math error. If you made an honest mistake and the claim is not in dispute, you can quickly resolve the issue by paying what the IRS says you owe. Note that the difference will likely be subject to interest and late payment penalties. If you disagree with the IRS’s claim, you may need to challenge it, which will trigger an audit.

The IRS may send an “audit letter,” which will request additional evidence to justify a claimed deduction or some other element of your tax return. For example, they may wish to review a receipt in connection with a business meal you deducted. If you have these records, you can simply mail copies back to the IRS, which will in many cases resolve the audit.

If you do not have the evidence requested by an audit letter, you have a few options. You can choose to pay the taxes and penalties associated with the deduction or position on your tax return. You can also dispute the matter further, which may eventually necessitate litigation. Our Greenville IRS audit attorneys can evaluate your audit letter and determine a favorable path forward.

In more comprehensive cases, the IRS may request that you appear for an in-person interview at a government office. They may also initiate a field audit, which involves an IRS agent visiting your home, place of business, or tax accountant’s office.

Office and field audits are more comprehensive and should be taken extremely seriously, and you should not face them alone. The IRS agent will ask specific questions about elements of your return, and you must be prepared to satisfactorily answer. You have the right to bring a tax attorney to an office audit interview or field audit visit. We regularly provide skilled and knowledgeable legal representation in these situations.

A line-by-line audit is the most intrusive type of audit and, for many, constitutes a worst-case scenario. As its name would imply, the IRS will thoroughly examine every single element of your tax return. These audits are generally only used when a taxpayer is randomly selected or the government suspects fraud.

How to Handle an IRS Audit

Always contact and retain legal representation as soon as you learn you are being audited, especially if you are unsure of how to respond to the IRS’s requests. We can help you understand what is expected of you, and one of our attorneys will work to protect your interests throughout each stage of the audit process.

Every audit is different, and you will need to tailor your response to your specific situation. The physical letter you receive from the IRS will explain what is required of you and by when you must take action. If they are requesting a specific piece of evidence, for example, the letter will specify by when that item must be submitted. You can in many cases request extensions if you need additional time to gather the necessary documentation. In general, you should aim to respond to an IRS audit as quickly as possible.

If you receive only a simple letter or audit letter, you can efficiently handle the matter by providing the evidence or clarifying information the IRS needs. If you become involved in a more comprehensive audit or do not have the requested evidence, you will likely need to complete additional preparation. You should collect all available receipts, bills, income documents, business records, and all other financial information relevant to your tax return.

If a tax-related dispute cannot be resolved, the matter may need to be adjudicated in tax court. We can fiercely advocate for your interests when audits must be litigated.

Managing an IRS Appeal

At the conclusion of an audit, one of three things can happen. The IRS might determine no change is necessary. The audit will end, and you will not have to pay anything. The IRS might conclude you owe the government money, and you can choose to accept and pay the outstanding amount. You can also disagree with the IRS’s conclusions and request an appeal.

Our Greenville IRS audit lawyers can help facilitate and represent you in an appeal. We have a complete understanding of how the IRS conducts audits and can help you move through the process as quickly and effectively as possible. Should an audit result in your owing money to the government, our team at Southeastern Tax Advocates can explore relief and debt settlement options.

If you are being audited by the IRS, get the legal guidance you need by calling (864) 613-6608 or contacting us online. Same-day appointments are available.

[1] Southeastern Tax Advocates is a subsidiary of Merline & Meacham, P.A. All client cases will be handled by an attorney of Merline & Meacham, P.A. who primarily practices in one of our offices at 812 East North Street, Greenville, SC 29601 or 723 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

Any result the law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

“I have known and worked with Verne McGough, for years. As a fellow attorney but in a different field of practice, he is the ONLY tax attorney to whom I will refer anyone. He is organized, prompt, and extremely knowledgeable in his field.”

- Eydie T. (Attorney, Not a Client)

Why Choose Us?

  • In-Person & Virtual Accessibility
  • Attorneys Who Personally Handle Your Case
  • Board-Certified in Tax Law (Verne McGough)
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