IRS is auditing me. Initially they asked for some information by phone. Now they are asking for a meeting. Here are my questions:
1. Can this meeting be rescheduled to a Saturday? I work Monday to Friday
1. I do not want to go alone. I want to go in case there are things that only I can answer but I want someone else to do the talking with IRS. Should I be hiring an accountant or a tax lawyer or an enrolled agent?
It is a small business related matter
1) These meeting typically take place Monday to Friday. I have never had one scheduled on a weekend.
2) Audits tend to go better when the business owner has received competent professional assistance in preparing and presenting the requested materials. I know a lot of enrolled agents, CPAs, and tax attorneys that would do a good job. If it were my business, I would choose to be represented by a tax attorney. If there are potential criminal implications of the audit, an attorney may be able to use the attorney client privilege to prevent forced disclosure of certain information. Ask your attorney for specifics regarding attorney client privilege as it relates to tax cases.
First off, make sure you're not speaking to a "special agent" - if you ever speak to someone from the IRS, or any other government agency, with the word "special" in front of his or her title, be very polite but firm and tell them that you'll have your attorney contact them. Under no circumstances should you ever say anything other than that to a "special agent" without an attorney present!
Second, the IRS is very, very unlikely to schedule a desk audit for a Saturday - you're dealing with government bureaucrats, after all - absent very compelling circumstances; unfortunately, having to work full-time in order to pay the taxes that support those government bureaucrats doesn't count.
Third, whether you should hire an accountant or a tax attorney really depends on the nature of the audit and the degree to which there are problems with your returns, such as a lack of substantiation, unreported income, overstated deductions, and the like. If there are no significant problems with your returns as far as you know (being brutally honest with yourself) and it's more a question of resolving paperwork and substantiation issues, then an accountant - who has experience with audits - should be sufficient; otherwise, you should consult with a tax attorney first before you decide whom to hire.
My answer does not constitute legal advice and may not be relied upon by anyone for any purpose and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship or an offer to form such a relationship. This disclaimer is intended to be fully compliant with the requirements of Treasury Department Circular 230 and the terms thereof are fully incorporated by reference. If you wish to consult with me please contact me at dana@nytaxcounsel or visit my website at www.nytaxcounsel.com
1. As the other attorneys have stated, it is very unlikely that the IRS will schedule a meeting on a Saturday. However, there is no necessity for you to attend the meeting if you have competent counsel attend for you.
2. I strongly recommend hiring a tax attorney. Although a CPA or EA can represent you in the audit, there are benefits to having a tax attorney. First, attorney-client privilege only applies to attorneys; that is - if this goes to court an attorney can claim a privilege and not be required to testify against you. Also, although it does not always hold true, tax attorneys often have greater familiarity with the tax law but more importantly tax procedure. You need someone who can help you navigate through the bureaucracies and procedures to reach a expeditious and successful resolution.
Best of luck!
Andrew B. Gordon, Esq., CPA
Andrew B Gordon is a CPA and attorney licensed to practice law in Illinois. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for a particular matter. This response does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult an attorney.