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What types of records will you need during a tax audit?

Dealing with the IRS can be stressful for everyone, but it becomes particularly stressful when you have to deal with a tax audit. During your tax audit, you will have to provide a variety of records.

Understanding what the IRS expects from you can help you prepare for your audit.

Collecting records for the IRS

The IRS instructs taxpayers never to send in original documents. Only send copies of your original records to ensure you do not lose the originals. The IRS will send you a comprehensive, detailed list of paperwork they require from you. Some common documents to expect to include are the following:

  • Loan agreements
  • Receipts
  • Billing statements
  • Legal paperwork
  • Medical or dental records
  • Documents for theft or loss

When collecting your documents, you may also have to complete a questionnaire. Questionnaires include travel, meals and expense questionnaires, repairs and maintenance questionnaires and general questionnaires.

Organizing your records for the IRS

If your audit is completed through the mail, you need to send all your documents via mail. However, you can request an in-person audit if you have too many records or documents to send through the mail. During an in-person audit, you bring your records with you.

You should maintain an organizational system to keep the process quick and prevent errors. Organize your documents by the year and type of expense. Additionally, you should always include the circumstances surrounding every paper you use.

In some cases, the IRS may accept electronic records from tax software. Check the letter you received to find out if the IRS wants electronic records in lieu of paper copies.