How IRS agents are trained to audit you

MY Tax Tips are usually written from your perspective. Let’s make this interesting a bit – turn things around and discuss this from the IRS agent’s perspective. This is how they (IRS agents) are trained to interview taxpayers.

• Establish rapport with the taxpayer (you).

• Maintain a friendly and professional demeanor.

• Recognize that an IRS audit is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the taxpayer, so the taxpayer may be tense or nervous.

• Stay away from an attitude that the taxpayer is afraid because he/she is “hiding” something.

• Use a fixed pattern of interview.
• Prepare an outline as aid and not as substitute for spontaneous questioning. If you use an outline, provide enough leeway to cope with any situation that may occur and to develop leads that may arise.

• Look for pertinent leads. Follow up any answer that is not complete or to the point on any pertinent matter by questioning the taxpayer on his/her knowledge on the topic.

To obtain answers that are complete and accurate:

• Ask questions that require narrative answers, avoiding “yes” and “no” questions whenever possible.

• Avoid leading questions.

• Question the taxpayer about how he/she learned what he/she states to be fact.

• Concentrate more on the answer than on the next question.

• To maintain control of the interview, establish the pace and direction, and continually assess whether the taxpayer is giving pertinent information or rambling.

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Victor Santos Sy graduated Cum Laude from UE with a BBA and from Indiana State University with an MBA. Vic worked with SyCip, Gorres, Velayo (SGV – Andersen Consulting) and Ernst & Young before establishing Sy Accountancy Corporation in Pasadena, California.
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He has 50 years of experience in defending taxpayers audited by the IRS, FTB, EDD, BOE and other governmental agencies. He is publishing a book on his expertise – “HOW TO AVOID OR SURVIVE IRS AUDITS.” Our readers may inquire about the book or email tax questions at vicsy@live.com.

Victor Sy, CPA, MBA
Victor Sy, CPA, MBA

Victor Santos Sy graduated Cum Laude from UE with a BBA and from Indiana State University with an MBA. Vic worked with SyCip, Gorres, Velayo (SGV - Andersen Consulting) and Ernst & Young before establishing Sy Accountancy Corporation. He retired after 50 years of defending taxpayers audited by the IRS, EDD, BOE and other governmental agencies. He published a book on “How to Avoid or Survive IRS Audits.” Readers may email tax questions to vicsy@live.com.

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