How to Submit a Request for Audit Reconsideration
The IRS Audit Reconsideration procedure is available after the audit but before the tax has been fully-paid, and requires the additional documentation and information to be submitted at the time of the audit reconsideration request. This procedure is offered by the Internal Revenue Service to allow individuals and businesses to submit previously unconsidered documentation and information to reduce a post-audit tax assessment.
The Steps for Requesting Audit Reconsideration
Though they may vary in individual cases, the typical steps to make an audit reconsideration request require a taxpayer to:
- Locate the additional information and important documentation necessary to persuade the IRS to adjust the taxes due.
- Prepare a well-organized presentation packet with all the documentation, the final IRS examination report, and a letter which states “Request for Audit Reconsideration” at the top, explains the legal/factual rationale and support for the request, , provides any additional information and legal argument. explains the relevance of the previously unconsidered documents/information, and explains why these things support a change to the result from the original IRS audit.
- Send the request for audit reconsideration to the same address listed on your original examination report. If you can’t locate the address, call 1-866-897-0177 (Midwest to West-Coast) or 1-866-897-0161 (East Coast) to ascertain the address. The last report is generally the one sent to you by certified mail before your first bill. This is the report attached to your “Notice of Deficiency.” If it has been 90 days or less from the date of that notice, you should usually protest instead to Tax Court.
Should You Hire a Tax Attorney for Audit Reconsideration?
Tax lawyers do not need to be involved in every controversy or transaction. However, when a case becomes adverse and requires legal judgment, negotiation skills, expertise, attorney-client privilege, or a threat of court action, hiring a competent attorney can be beneficial or critical to protect your rights and livelihood. If any tax case, including audit reconsideration, becomes difficult, complex, or acrimonious, the high cost of mistakes at this stage can justify the cost of representation. Likewise, it would be important to hire an experienced tax attorney who routinely deals IRS controversies (as opposed to a tax-planning attorney).
If you have missed the 90-day deadline for Tax Court, it is important to make the best presentation possible at the audit reconsideration stage on the first try. Audit reconsideration is not a statutory right for taxpayers and taxpayers don’t have rights to challenge the outcome in Tax Court. Other court remedies, once the 90-day deadline from the Notice of Deficiency has lapsed, to challenge the underlying liability typically require pre-payment of all the tax due for the period. It the right answer is not presented clearly and persuasively, the IRS has little incentive to expend extra energy on your behalf.
The audit reconsideration process is only one of many tools available to taxpayers who should not owe or cannot afford to pay the tax liabilities. Examples of other options include Offers in Compromise (part of the “Fresh Start” program), challenging the liabilities at the audit or administrative appeals levels, Tax Court litigation or post-payment District Court or Court of Claims litigation, Innocent Spouse Relief, or challenging the liability through Collection Due Process procedures. Each option may or may not be available depending on your circumstances, and each option may have costs (such as extending the IRS’s collection limitations period) or benefits that a tax attorney should advise you of.
Tax Attorney Daniel W. Layton may be contacted at (626) 790-6802.