How To Request a Postponement of a Tax Audit

Tax Audit Notice envelope
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A tax audit is an examination of an individual or business tax return by the IRS to ensure the taxpayer has accurately reported income and paid the correct amount of taxes. Tax audits can be triggered randomly or as a result of certain red flags, such as unusually high deductions or income or failing to report all sources of income.

If you feel you meet the criteria, you can request tax postponement — also known as an extension. This request to the IRS asks for additional time to file a tax return or provide information for a tax audit.

The IRS might grant a postponement in certain circumstances. Here, we’ll cover what you need to know about requesting a postponement of a tax audit.

Reasons for Requesting a Postponement

First, the only circumstances where the IRS recommends requesting an appeal to an audit is when all of the following apply to you:

  • You received a letter from the IRS explaining your right to appeal the IRS’s decision
  • You disagree with the IRS’s decision
  • You are not signing an agreement form sent to you

However, if you aren’t prepared for your tax audit, you can always request a postponement. Requesting a postponement on a tax audit might sound unusual, but there are many reasons for doing this. For instance, if you need more time to gather documentation, the IRS recommends calling the number on the notice you receive to let them know your situation.

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There are other reasons you may want to request a postponement. For example, you might have had a family emergency that prevented you from responding. Or perhaps you were very ill and unable to respond in a timely fashion. Whatever the case may be, it can’t hurt to ask for a postponement if you aren’t prepared for an audit.

How To Request a Postponement

There are some basic steps you can follow to request a postponement of an IRS tax audit. Start by doing the following:

First, review the IRS audit letter if you haven’t already. This letter will have important information, like the deadline for responding to the audit. The audit letter also will include instructions for responding to the audit and may provide information about how to request a postponement.

Next, contact the IRS to request the postponement. Do this as soon as possible, so the IRS doesn’t take additional action. The letter you received about the audit should have a number to call. Alternatively, you can send a written request to the address listed on the audit letter.

When you call or send a letter, explain your circumstances and why you need a postponement. Along with your request, provide any supporting documentation or evidence you have. The IRS might ask for additional information to support the request.

In general, the IRS will grant a postponement for a tax audit only if you have a legitimate reason and can provide supporting documentation or evidence. Additionally, it is important to make sure that the request is made before the original deadline. If it isn’t, the IRS may not honor the request.

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Finally, if you owe taxes as a result of the audit, you typically will still have to pay them by the original deadline. This is true even if the IRS grants a postponement for the audit.

Providing Additional Information

It might be helpful to provide additional information to support your case or because the IRS requests it. For example, you might provide tax returns, financial statements, receipts, invoices or other documentation supporting your position.

Once you have gathered everything, organize all of your documentation in a logical way. Then, write a letter explaining what you are sending and how the documentation strengthens your case. Later, follow up with the IRS to confirm receipt of the documents. If you have an open case with the IRS, you can follow up directly on that case number.

Follow-up and Next Steps

After submitting a postponement request, you should follow up to confirm that the IRS received the request and that it is being processed. You can take several steps to follow up, such as calling or going online to check the status.

If you receive a new deadline for the audit, be sure to respond by the deadline. This also gives you more time to prepare. For instance, you may want to consult a tax attorney. If the audit identifies any issues with your tax return, you also can use this as an opportunity to address those.

Lastly, make any payments required of you, as determined by the audit. This step is crucial, as failing to make your payments could result in penalties and interest. Again, an important part of the final step is to consult a tax attorney, especially if you are in any way uncertain about how to proceed. Their expertise and guidance will help ensure your taxes are in order.

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