of IRS Auditors
These are some "effective
interview techniques" that IRS Auditors are taught to use
when meeting with taxpayers.
- Use open-ended questions.
- Use probing questions.
- Restate responses.
- Listen to the taxpayer and the POA (person with
Power of Attorney)
- Be courteous and businesslike.
- Read taxpayer's non-verbal body language.
- Control the interview.
- Remain calm.
- Appear confident.
- Be well prepared.
- Consider issues in proper order (volatile vs.
non-volatile), volatile being last!
- Be observant.
- Use spontaneous follow-up questions.
- Clarify responses.
- Ask for examples.
- Be assertive and persistent.
- Avoid arguments.
- Give the taxpayer an opportunity to ask
- Express appreciation.
- Verbally pin down taxpayer when appropriate.
- Maintain composure.
- Contain your excitement.
- Don't interrupt the taxpayer.
- Pace the interview.
- Have the taxpayer demonstrate the flow of
- Read the taxpayer's perception of you.
- Have the taxpayers explain their terminology.
- Consider the need to interview both spouses.
- Review important responses from previous
interviews to refresh the taxpayer for the current
- Be methodical and organized.
- Make eye contact.
- Be conscious of note-taking so as not to distract
- Adapt your appearance to be appropriate for the
- Be aware of your non-verbal body language.
- Make appropriate use of "silence".
- Ask only one question at a time and wait for a
- Use appropriate small talk.
- Don't anticipate answers.
- Interview at the place of business, examine at
the place of business.
- Remember that interviewing involves both the
initial interview as well as each contact with the
taxpayer/representative-interviewing is a continuous
IRS Auditors learn these are
some reasons taxpayers don't report income.
- Don't want to pay tax.
- Can get away with it.
- Self employment tax too high.
- No money to pay.
- It's part of our culture.
- I can beat the audit lottery.
- Big guys do it, why not me?
- My friends cheat.
- Income not shown on 1099 form.
- Industry practice (for example rebate checks).
- Expenses=income, why report?
- My prices won't be competitive if I pay tax.
- Government waste.
- Opposed to government programs.
- No benefits to me.
- Tax laws are unfair.
- This is my own tax shelter.
- Selfish, greedy.
- To support gambling habit.
This information was provided by the folks from Tax
Savings. They reported that they had great difficulty getting
this information, even under the Freedom of Information Act.