Should you attend your own IRS audit?

Should you attend  your own IRS audit?

MUST you attend your own IRS audit? You don’t have to. This is always a tactical question that should be discussed at the early stage of an audit. I have a feeling that you’d rather not go. I don’t want you to go either. So, let’s discuss why you should not attend your funeral… I mean, your audit.

1. You won’t get pleasure from it – before, during, or after the audit. It is normal to get rattled. It is normal to be affected in some way – including the way you eat, sleep, or work. You might even pick a fight with your mate. Sign a power of attorney, pay your accountant to handle this whole thing, and go on with your life – normal life.

2. If you attend, your demeanor may convey fear that may be misconstrued by the auditor that you are hiding something. I have dealt with auditors who ask me why my client is afraid if he/she is not hiding anything. Some auditors act naïve or have been on this job for so long that they have become cold and insensitive.

3. You can be emotional (and should be) about issues raised by the agent. This can create animosity that raises the temperature in the room, one that can work against you.

4. Some taxpayers tend to be chatterboxes when they get nervous. Others appear cool from my coaching but talk-a-talk as soon as they get comfortable. They volunteer more than what is asked for. This could only mean trouble: more issues, mas problemas.

5. And just between you and me, I cannot work my magic when you are around. The auditor tends to be formal. I tend to be formal. I dare not trade issues when you are there. Your presence is a hindrance to my effectiveness, an obstacle to the agent’s willingness “to work it out.”


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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


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