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Learning Center Experience
By Dr. Monica HublerFull-Time Faculty, Kaplan University
Ah, April 15, has come and gone and
every taxpayer can breathe a sigh of relief—they have filed their taxes for
another year and life is good. As a taxpayer, you know the time between January
1 and April 15 applies much stress, ensuring you have all your W2s, interest
income, and any other taxable income forms so you do not have any issues when
it comes time to file. Once filing has
been completed, you feel the stress disburse and can start to relax. In fact,
if you are receiving a refund, you might start to plan how to spend the funds.
plans start to unfold for the refund, one sunny day the mail arrives and you
have received an invitation from the IRS: you are being audited. The spring in
your step has now turned into lead in your feet and your heart starts to pound
and the stress returns. The fear of
every taxpayer, an IRS audit, but there are guidelines to review and understand
how you were selected and what you need to do and prepare for the invitation.
audit selection is done randomly and by computer. Additionally, these
selections are determined by matching of W2s and any Form 1099s with the income
information. These are matched to what the employer has submitted, and are the
selections that will prompt the system to select a return for audit. Another
item that need to be taken into consideration is the return itself. Some of these are incomplete or sloppy
returns, such as unreported income, very low or very high income, changes in income
(the IRS does compare returns), charitable contributions, and if the federal
and state returns do not match. So before the audit letter is prepared,
there are a few steps that the IRS does review. Remember, all this is done by a
computer. Because there may be an issue with the return, it does not mean there
is going to be an audit; it will move to the next level and reviewed by an IRS
employee for these discrepancies.
The next step is the formal notice, or your invitation, which can be
done by mail or phone (the IRS does not sent emails). If you receive a letter,
just respond with the required and requested documentation and first and
foremost, be honest. Provide the information that is requested. Remember you do
have rights, one is to have a professional represent you, to be treated with
respect by the government (IRS) employee, the right to know why they are asking
certain questions and, of course, the right to disagree with the IRS. Just be
prepared with all your documents, as the burden of proof are on the taxpayer.
Once the audit has come to a conclusion, you can agree with the findings
or disagree. Of course, if there is
additional money owed, it does need to be paid along with any interest and or
penalties. If you disagree with the
conclusion, the next step to make an appeal which will go to mediation. This is
Finally, the chance of being audited
today is 1 percent and getting smaller. With the IRS having fewer employees,
this percentage is expected to decrease. The key is to be honest, you may also
consider using a professional or professional tax software for accuracy. The
IRS puts fear in the most honest of people, but remember you have rights.
Interested in this career? Check out Kaplan University's business resources here.
Monica Hubler is a full-time
faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are
solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
The contents of this article are
presented for informational purposes only. Always check with a
professional regarding any questions you may have regarding financial services.
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Richard Carter, PhD
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
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Maylee talks about her experiences with Kaplan Financial Education and preparing for her exams.
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