Audit Reconsiderations

You got a notice from the IRS saying your tax return was audited (or the IRS created a return for you) and you owe taxes, and you disagree with the tax the IRS says that you owe. 

In any of the four situations below, you can request an Audit Reconsideration – a process that reopens your audit with the IRS. 

  • You have new information about the audit
  • You disagree with the tax the IRS says you owe 
  • You never appeared for the audit conference or sent the IRS any information 
  • You moved and never got the audit notice in the first place

You can’t request reconsideration if: 

  • You’ve already paid the full amount you owe. In that case, you must file a formal claim for refund with an Amended Return.
  • You previously agreed to pay the amount you owe by signing an agreement such as an IRS Form 906, Closing Agreement; an offer in compromise agreement; or an agreement on Form 870-AD with the Office of Appeals.
  • The United States Tax Court, or another court, has issued a final determination that you owe the tax.

For partnerships, you can’t request reconsideration on an issue that has been finally determined through an IRS administrative adjustment or under an agreement with the IRS. 

First, review the report and attachments from the audit to figure out which items you think are incorrect. You may have to get a copy of the report from the IRS. 

You can hire an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or enrolled agent to represent you before the IRS. You may be eligible for free representation (or representation for a nominal fee) through a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

Gather documentation to support your position.

  • Make sure the documentation is new information that wasn’t part of the original audit, and that it’s for the tax year the IRS audited. 

Send your request for audit reconsideration to the office that last corresponded with you. 

You don’t need to complete a special form – just a letter explaining your request for audit reconsideration. Be clear about which changes you want the IRS to consider. You should provide:

  • A copy of your examination report (IRS Form 4549), if available
  • Copies of the new documentation that supports your position. Do not send original documents. Send copies.

NOTE: If you’re in an installment agreement, keep making payments during the reconsideration process.

Watch for a response from the IRS

You should expect to hear from the IRS about your reconsideration request within 30 days. The IRS will send you a letter if it needs more information.

You’ll be notified once the IRS reviews all your information. The IRS may:

  • Accept your information and abate (remove) the tax it previously assessed
  • Accept your information in part and partially reduce the tax
  • Find that your information didn’t support your claim and the prior assessment stands 

If you agree with the results of the reconsideration, pay the remaining balance you owe, if any. If you can’t pay in full, you have payment options to consider. 

If you disagree with the results of the reconsideration, you can request a conference with the Office of Appeals. You can be represented by an attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent at this conference. 

You can also pay the balance due in full and then file a claim for refund with an Amended Return (IRS Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return). 

Publication 3598, What you Should Know About the Audit Reconsideration Process

Publication 5 Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don't Agree

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics

Have a different tax issue?  Browse common issues and situations at Get Help.

Is your tax problem more complex?  If your issue is causing you financial hardship, you have tried repeatedly and are not receiving a response from the IRS, or you feel your taxpayer rights are being violated, consider contacting Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

Do you feel that you need help from a tax professional but can’t afford one? You may be eligible for representation from an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or enrolled agent associated with a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

Last modified June 8, 2017