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June 18, 2019

Taxpayer Advocate Service advocates for alternative approach to expense verification in correspondence audit

Every year, the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) helps thousands of people with tax problems. This story is only one of many examples of how TAS helps resolve taxpayer’s tax issues. All personal details are removed to protect the taxpayer’s privacy.

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Audits can be a very scary and daunting task for taxpayers who travel for business. Recordkeeping requirements involve taxpayers keeping records for travel and entertainment expenses. Sometimes this involves keeping hundreds of hotel and meal receipts, as was the case for a taxpayer who contacted TAS because he was scared to send his original records to the IRS for a Correspondence Audit for fear of them being lost in the mail.

In addition to being uncomfortable about mailing his original receipts to the IRS, the taxpayer was unable to send photocopies. The advocate had prior experience of working with taxpayers in this situation and had worked with the IRS to allow the taxpayer to submit a sample of records for the audit. The advocate suggested to the taxpayer that he ask the IRS to allow him to use this approach and the taxpayer agreed.

The advocate suggested the sample approach to the IRS examiner and the examiner was open to this approach. Although the audit was not without a few bumps along the way, being proactive and using an alternative approach to expense verification lifted a burden from the taxpayer in that he did not have to send original records, nor did he have to make copies of hundreds of records, yet he was able to show a reasonable approximation of the business expenses claimed on his return. TAS successfully advocated for a fair and just tax system without overburdening the taxpayer.

Related tax issue: Audits by Mail

 

If you need information on a specific tax topic, visit the TAS Get Help resource. It offers a step-by step guide on what you can do to settle some IRS issues on your own, what your taxpayer rights are and other options available to help you get resolution. Most issues can be resolved directly by working with the IRS. However, if you have tried, but are still unable to resolve an IRS issue, learn more about whether TAS can help you: TAS eligibility.

When working with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, each individual or business taxpayer is assigned to an advocate who listens to the problem and helps the taxpayer understand what needs to be done to resolve their tax issue. TAS advocates will do everything they can to help taxpayers and work with them every step of the way. Occasionally we feature stories of taxpayers and advocates who work together to resolve complex tax issues. Read more TAS success stories.