So your creative accounting has finally caught up with you. Now you’re going to really have to use your noodle if you’re going to survive the audit.
Step 1: Gather your documents Gather all documentation—and by that we mean put together as many cartons of paperwork as you can, no matter how irrelevant. On D-day, have everything delivered to your auditor in a trailer.
TIP: Take any smoking guns—like the W-2 that proves you made $156,000, not the $15,600 you claimed—and make them too gross to handle. A few smudges or stains—or the strategically placed booger—will deter close examination.
Step 2: Dress for success Dress for success—or, in your case, to confound. Auditors spend their days adrift in a bland sea of paperwork. Be a bright spot in their dull day.
Step 3: Speak no evil When the auditor begins asking questions, try repeating 'No comprendo' over and over. Or start asking him questions about his taxes.
Step 4: Talk like an auctioneer If the 'no speak English' thing doesn’t work out, try the opposite—speak so fast that the auditor can’t catch a word of what you’re saying.
Step 5: Spin the lies When confronted with incontrovertible proof that you willfully misrepresented your earnings, say that you are not trying to deceive the government; you are protesting the tax laws. Not unlike those noble folks who threw the Boston Tea Party, thank you very much.
Step 6: Squeal like a pig If the auditor is not buying your patriotic ploy, throw loved ones under the bus. Offer to tip off the to ten tax cheats in return for immunity.
Step 7: Prepare for prison While waiting for the to get back to you—they have 28 months to decide your fate—take a weight training class. It will stand you in good stead if you’re not lucky enough to be sent to Club Fed.
FACT: About half the people who appeal an auditor’s findings get their tax bill reduced.