Tax time is coming up again. Even without an audit, tax time means lots of stress for all taxpayers. However, that stress is multiplied if you are under audit by the Florida authorities, namely the Florida Department of Revenue.
If you are, in fact, under audit or have already been audited, then you probably are curious as to what options you have to challenge the audit. Remember, tax auditors are only human and make mistakes. That is why you rightfully should have an avenue to take any disagreements you have with a tax assessment to a higher authority.
That is the purpose of this blog. Here we will cover the various options available to you to challenge a Florida tax audit. You may be pleased to learn that there are a number of opportunities for your grievances to be heard.
If, after reading this article, you would like to have additional information about retaining an experienced tax attorney to assist you in challenging your tax audit in Sarasota, FL, or elsewhere, look no farther than the Law Office of Mary E. King, P.L. The Law Office of Mary E. King, P.L. can make sure that your tax issues are resolved efficiently and at the lowest cost to you. Fill out our online contact form, or call us at 941-906-7585.
Challenges Depend on the Stage of Your Audit
There are a number of stages to a Florida tax audit. Thus, your response will depend on the stage of the audit.
1. The Notice of Intent to Make Audit Changes
If you have received a Notice of Intent to Make Audit Changes, then that means that the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) is seeking to raise the taxes you owe based on their recent audit.
You may be a bit surprised by the amount that the DOR is seeking to charge you. But, have no fear. That amount in the Notice of Intent to Make Audit Changes typically tends to be a ceiling above which the DOR will normally not go.
The benefit of this Notice of Intent document is that the auditor lays out the reasons why the auditor believes you owe the amount in the Notice.
The first response to this Notice is to discuss the matter with the auditor. At this stage of the proceedings, you likely have the most flexibility to have a substantive back and forth with the auditor. Perhaps you could convince the auditor of a mistake he or she may have made. Further, you could provide additional evidence that you overpaid other taxes, which may offset the changes the auditor wishes to make.
The second option to respond to a Notice of Intent is to request a Technical Assistance Advisement (“TAA”). This strategy will move your matter to other, more experienced people at the DOR. The result is that those more experienced officials will render an opinion on the matter.
It is possible that the more experienced officials will find a mistake by the auditor. However, it is also possible that the DOR officials will agree with the assessment, and issue an opinion that may be harder to overturn.
It is for that second reason that requesting a TAA may not be the best course of action.
2. Notice of Proposed Assessment
Following the Notice of Intent to Make Audit Changes, the DOR’s next move is to issue a Notice of Proposed Assessment (NOPA), which as the title suggests states an assessed amount of taxes. The NOPA triggers a 60-day window within which you can protest the amount. After the 60 days are up, the NOPA becomes a Final Assessment of taxes owed.
To protest the NOPA, you would file what is known as an Administrative Protest. Anything about the law or facts of your audit can be challenged in the Administrative Protest.
In addition, you can still negotiate with the DOR after a NOPA has been issued. It is not recommended that you negotiate with the DOR, however, without the help of an experienced Florida tax attorney.
3. Protest to the DOAH
A third way to challenge a NOPA is to file a formal protest with the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH). The benefit to this type of protest is that you do not have to pay the tax assessed upfront. A proceeding before DOAH is relatively formal. You have 120 days after a NOPA has been issued to file a protest with DOAH or 60 days after you filed a protest of the NOPA to the DOR.
4. Civil Court Challenge
If your protest of a NOPA is unsuccessful, then your final avenue to challenge the results of a tax audit is to file a case in Florida Civil Court. Unlike a DOAH protest, however, you must pay the alleged amount of taxes due, to be held by the court, in order to proceed with the challenge.
In sum, there are many ways in which you can fight back when it comes to a Florida tax audit. It is something, however, that you should not do alone. Make sure you have a seasoned Florida tax attorney in your corner. You will increase your chances dramatically if you get the help of a Florida tax attorney who has experience making audit challenges before the DOR and in court.
Obtain an Experienced Florida Tax Attorney to Challenge Audit Results
Going through a tax audit in Sarasota, FL or elsewhere, on your own is generally not a good idea. You should see the big picture in connection with your business and talk to a tax attorney who can help. Mary E. King has spent her career concentrating on tax law and can help you with tax audits in Sarasota, FL and elsewhere. Attorney King has a wealth of information about what types of options would make the most sense for you and your business.
That helps explain why she’s received an A+ rating from the Florida Better Business Bureau. If you have a tax-related issue – no matter how small or how large – setting up an initial consultation with Tax Attorney Mary E. King is the first step you should take towards relief.
The Law Office of Mary King P.L. offers complete IRS problem-solving services including all areas from tax debt settlement to planning the most efficient tax strategy for individuals and businesses. Call us today to schedule an initial consultation. With years of experience handling IRS audits in Florida for many clients, Attorney Mary E. King can make sure that your tax issues are resolved efficiently and at the lowest cost to you. Fill out our online contact form, or call us at 941-906-7585.