If you’ve never been audited, you may not know that when the IRS audits you, it could take up to a year or more to complete the audit.
If you have been audited you know that audits are time consuming and fraught with endless worries.
Once an audit is completed you have the dubious task of deciding whether or not you agree and whether you’re going to appeal. Cha-ching! You can start tallying the expenses right away. This part of the process is even more costly and worrisome.
According to a recent article at Forbes.com, “the IRS has expanded a way to speed up the long, expensive IRS administrative process. It’s called Fast Track Settlement. Although it isn’t new, its availability to millions more taxpayers is.”
Originally created for complex audits with the IRS Large Business and International Unit, since the mid-2000s Fast Track has been available to smaller taxpayers. The great thing about the Fast Track Settlement program is that it can resolve audit disagreements in as little as 60 days as opposed to the typical time frame that could be years.
The way that Fast Track works is that you and the IRS auditor that’s been assigned to you must come to agreement on the issues. Then a mediator from the IRS Appeals Office hears both sides. The mediator tries to find middle ground.
One thing to keep in mind is that Fast Track Settlement is only available if the IRS auditor agrees.
If you have a poor relationship with your auditor, or his or her manager, they may not be willing to accommodate you. So, it’s good to get on and stay on your auditor’s good side. The best way to do that is to have an Enrolled Agent on your side working for you with the IRS Auditor. This will keep you along with your feelings and frustration out of the way and away from the auditor.
It’s always good to expedite an IRS audit whenever you can. If you’ve been flagged for an audit, check to see if you qualify for the Fast Track Settlement option.