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Our Members Don't Give In, and We Don't Give Up!

March 23, 2018 | Written by: Dung Vu, EA
Tax Professional at Desk
Some IRS notices are issued far enough from the filing deadline that our members often forget they purchased Audit Defense. In these instances, members may choose to either sign off on the IRS changes or defend themselves against the allegations. By the time the members realize they have a membership, they fear that it’s too late, or that too much has been said or done for our assistance to make a positive impact. While it is often true that we are unable to help members who have started the process of defending themselves, this was a case in which the members had not yet met with the examiner − and there was still plenty we could do to help.

After receiving a letter from the IRS proposing a balance due of $28,912.35, including $959.55 in interest and  $4,658.80 in penalties for their 2016 tax return, the members had immediately complied and set a meeting with the auditor. Since a significant amount of time had passed between filing seasons, the members had forgotten that they purchased our services with their 2016 tax filing. It wasn't until they were sorting through their supporting documents that they stumbled across their Audit Defense certificate. Fearing the worst, they gave us a call and explained the situation. We immediately opened a case for them, and once we had a copy of all correspondence between the members and the auditor thus far, the case was assigned to me. 

I got to work right away and began comparing the IRS examination report with the original tax return. Upon thoroughly reviewing the documents, I realized that proof of payments would likely clear up most of the auditor's concerns. We also found that the auditor had inadvertently made a mistake regarding business expenses by interpreting 25,000 business miles as $25,000. I phoned the members to explain my findings and advise them on the documents needed to prove they were entitled to certain deductions. They affirmed that they would begin collecting the required statements and expressed their hope that I could reduce their tax liability to $10,000.

I explained that I would do everything in my power for them. I called the auditor to discuss my findings. We spoke briefly regarding the inconsistency with business miles, and I requested the penalty of $4,658.80 be abated. The auditor explained that she would correct her error and look into a possible abatement once additional supporting documents were provided. After receiving the requested documentation from my members, I drafted a response and sent it to the auditor on February 20th. Eight days later, the taxpayers received a finalized report and sent us a copy with an amount due of $2,582.73, including $94.73 of interest, and $0 penalty! The members were thrilled with the outcome, as it had far exceeded their expectations.

Challenging audit notices can be tricky. We understand that not every outcome will prove favorable for our members, but we never stop trying. When my members called to report their audit, they were unsure of what we'd be able to do for them given the circumstances, but they trusted that we would do our best nonetheless. It is that trust that feeds our core purpose and allows us to confidently advocate on behalf of our members.

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