There was one big difference between last year's New York State audit and this year's New York State audit: the opportunity to respond electronically!
Last year, the audit notice suggested I could resolve the issue by phone. That turned out to be 24 minutes of entirely wasted time, at the end of which I was told that we needed to mail in our response. So I typed up a response and hied myself off to the post office to send it off in a way that gave us proof of delivery. The post office notified us of delivery two days later but the NYS tax department took seven weeks to acknowledge receipt of our letter and an additional week to actually respond in a substantive way.
This year, the audit notice suggested we could respond using our Online Service Account at www.nys.gov.
Nice interface! I just took last year's letter of response and updated it by changing references to "2006" to "2007" and cut and pasted it into the electronic submission box. I had up to 1,000 characters for my response, which was plenty, but if I'd needed more room, or if I'd needed to attach supporting documents, I could have done so by attaching document files to my response.
Advantages of electronic audit response:
1) No trip to the post office
2) No postage
3) Immediate acknowledgement with a confirmation number from NYS tax department
So....we'll see what happens next.
David Williams: take note--New York is leading the way here! The IRS should definitely be doing something like this!