No one gets excited to receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service — aka the IRS.

When that letter includes the dreaded word “audit,” it can be even more nerve-wracking.

But it’s important to remember that getting an audit notice is not necessarily a cause for alarm. While it’s true that the IRS audits a small percentage of returns every year, many audits are routine and can be resolved without issue.

So if you get that notice, before you start stressing out, these simple steps will put you on the path toward getting your IRS problems taken care of quickly.

1. Don’t panic, but don’t ignore the notice either

The first thing to do is to read the notice carefully. It should explain the reason for the audit and provide instructions on what you need to do. Don’t freak out. Audits happen all the time. The IRS will provide a deadline by which you need to respond. Ignoring the notice will only make things worse.

2. Gather your records

The next step is to collect all the paperwork related to the item(s) being audited. This could include bank statements, receipts, invoices, and other financial documents. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to respond to the audit.

3. Contact a tax professional

We don’t recommend that taxpayers attempt to deal with the IRS on their own. This is a situation where you will benefit from the support and counsel of experienced tax professionals like JRJ Income Tax Service. We represent our clients in all dealings with the IRS, including audits. We can help you respond to the audit notice, gather the necessary records, and communicate with the IRS on your behalf.

4. Respond to the notice

Once you’ve gathered your records and enlisted our help, we’ll work with you to respond to the notice. You’ll need to provide the IRS with any information or documentation they’ve requested. It’s important to be honest and accurate in your responses. If you need more time to respond, we’ll help you request an extension.

5. Follow up with the IRS

After you’ve responded to the notice, the IRS may request additional information or documentation. We’ll help you follow up with the IRS in a timely manner so we can be sure you’ve provided them with what they need.

The bottom line?

Receiving an audit notice from the IRS can be stressful, but it’s not the end of the world. By following the steps outlined above and working with a tax professional like JRJ Income Tax Service, you can navigate the audit process with confidence and come out on the other side with a clean bill of financial health.