Contrary to popular belief, an IRS audit doesn’t necessarily mean that a crime was committed. In many cases, the individual who filed the taxes might have accidentally made an error. The IRS could conduct a minor audit through the mail to correct numerical errors. In more severe cases, the organization might ask the taxpayer to make an appointment at the local office or send an IRS agent to their house to investigate their records.

How can an individual prepare for an audit?

To prepare for an audit, an individual should gather copies of the documents that the IRS has requested. This might include tax returns, receipts, pay stubs, mortgage statements and other financial documents. Individuals should always respond to the IRS as promptly as possible because ignoring the request can result in unpaid interest. If the individual refuses to cooperate, they might be accused of white-collar crime.

What should the individual do if they can’t pay their taxes?

If the individual is unable to pay the amount that they owe, they can ask the IRS for a short-term extension. They can also sign up for a monthly payment plan. If neither of these options are viable, the IRS might accept an offer in compromise that allows the individual to pay less than the requested amount. However, they’ll have to meet certain requirements beforehand.

What to do when charged with tax fraud

Tax fraud encompasses a number of charges, including refusing to file a tax return, mailing a false check, filing a fake return, refusing to turn over documents to the IRS and similar crimes. If a person finds themselves accused of tax fraud, they may find it beneficial to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer may be able to represent them in court and negotiate for smaller charges and penalties.