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After it has been determined that your tax return is going to be examined further, audited, by the IRS they can choose to have the examination conducted either through the mail or in-person via a personal interview.
Correspondence audit. The IRS audit conducted through the mail is known as a correspondence audit. Its scope is less than that required for an office audit. The IRS will first send you a letter notifying you that they need more information from you. Or, the letter may contain a reason for why they believe a change to your tax return may be needed.
Upon receiving this letter, you may respond by mail or request an in-person meeting. After this step, the IRS will review your information and/or explanation and then make a determination.
You will receive an explanation of the reasoning behind the determination. You are allowed to appeal this decision through the Office of Appeals.
In-Person/personal interview. Also known as an office audit, this IRS audit is more time-consuming and involved than the correspondence audit. The IRS examiner can question other areas not originally covered in the correspondence audit, for instance.
The in-person audit will normally be at the IRS branch office closest to where you live or operate your business.
Or, the IRS audit interview could be at your place of business, office, or home.
You have the right to ask that the interview take place at a reasonable time and place that is convenient to both you and the IRS.