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Likelihood of IRS audit may increase

Georgia taxpayers may be at increasing risk of an IRS audit in the years ahead. At present, the IRS audits fewer than 1 percent of taxpayers, but audits may go up based on hiring news from the agency. Despite a claim that budget cuts would leave it unable to make new hires, 700 enforcement and audit personnel have been added to its staff.

IRS audits had dropped to an 11-year low, and the agency had said its overall workforce would be reduced by another 2,000 to 3,000 staffers in 2016 and that it would not be able to replace around 1,800 lost enforcement personnel. Some politicians are now questioning where the IRS found the money to hire these new workers.

Being audited can be stressful even for people who have been diligent about filing their taxes correctly. The tax system is complex, and people should be careful to save all receipts and documentation relating to their taxes.

A person who does receive a notice about an audit may want to contact an attorney. An audit does not mean that a person is guilty of wrongdoing, and the process may simply be routine. It may not even be conducted in person. However, whether the audit is by mail or in person, it can be a stressful experience, and working with an attorney might help ensure that the audit goes more smoothly. For example, people might be audited because they run a small business and the IRS wants to follow up on things such as a home office deduction. If they have paid less in taxes than they owed, an attorney may be of assistance in negotiating agreements such as an installment plan or an offer in kind.

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