The most common audit mistake is providing copies of your other years’ tax returns. Doing so greatly expands audit risk by giving the auditor many things to look at that he otherwise would not see, like patterns of income and deductions amounts over multiple years.
So, why do so many people bring previous years’ returns with them to an audit? Because most people are scared and the audit notice asks them to!
But you should know this: IRS rules state that you are required to provide only the information relating to the specific tax year listed in the audit notice. You are NOT required to provide information about any other tax year, except as it might relate to the year under audit (such as a carry over item).
If the auditor asks you for a previous return, all you need to say is, “I don’t believe that this relates to the year or issues being examined.” This response will almost always end the matter.
Ensuring that you have qualified tax support during an audit can lower your exposure relating to missteps in the process. If you’re going through an audit or have questions please contact us today.