Tax Analysts Blog

How Much Knowledge Is in an Audit Manual?

Posted on May 28, 2014

As part of an ongoing effort to improve transparency in state tax administration, Tax Analysts has obtained copies of the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s training manuals for auditors. These manuals set forth the procedures used by auditors when conducting an audit. Tax Analysts obtained the audit manuals through a public records request.

The documents obtained by Tax Analysts include the Corporation Income and Franchise Tax Auditing Training Manual, the Introductory Sales Tax Class Manual, the Gasoline and Special Fuels-Supplier Tax Audit Manual, and the Oil and Gas Severance Tax Workshop materials.

State tax departments and the IRS use audit manuals to train auditors, and they provide a wealth of information on how the tax department will proceed during an audit. Audit manuals also help ensure that auditors follow established guidelines and consistently enforce the tax department’s rules and regulations.

Tax agencies in the U.S. have detailed audit manuals for a reason – they provide auditors with the knowledge necessary to conduct audits of sophisticated taxpayers. Audit manuals provide guidelines on when, where, and how audits are to be conducted. They are proof of the guidance that has been provided to auditors and the standardized processes developed for each type of audit.

Yet while the IRS and several states make their audit manuals available online, other states, including Louisiana, do not. Taxpayers should not have to make a public records request to obtain manuals that will provide guidance on how a state conducts an audit.

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