Tax Audit in Columbiana, Alabama
A "tax audit" in Alabama is the process by which the proper tax authorities (either the IRS, at the federal level, or its state equivalent) investigate a tax filing in more detail than they do for ordinary filings, typically because there appears to be a discrepancy, or some other suspicious item, in somebody's tax returns. However, the IRS (and state tax authorities) sometimes do rounds of random audits, where they audit taxpayers at random, without necessarily suspecting them of any wrongdoing.
The procedure of being audited in Columbiana, Alabama is typically pretty simple. If and when the tax authorities decide to audit you, they'll send you a letter in the mail detailing what's about to happen. If you receive such a letter, it's extremely important that you make sure it's authentic. Sometimes, scam artists will send fake audit notices to people, claiming that they owe the government money. They will then collect their "taxes" and disappear. You should do an internet search for the name of the tax authority that the letter claims to represent, and call them to verify that you are being audited.
After confirming that the audit you're facing is truly legitimate, there are a few things you can do to prepare. First, you should assemble all of the proper documents you have in your possession. This should include your tax return, W-2 forms, and records of any expenses that you claim as deductions. You should bring these documents, and any others that the auditor requests, to the meeting. At the meeting, the auditor will ask you a list of questions, which you should answer honestly and to the best of your knowledge.
Reasons For a Tax Audit in Columbiana, Alabama
A tax audit in Alabama can be performed for almost any reason at all
A taxpayer can be chosen for an audit at random, even if the tax authorities don't suspect any wrongdoing. The idea behind these random audits is to keep taxpayers on their toes. So, if you are audited for this reason, and know that you've done everything properly in filing your taxes, you will probably be fine.
On the other hand, some taxpayers in Columbiana, Alabama are audited for a particular reason, rather than being drawn at random. If the tax authorities believe that you have underreported your income, that is a very common reason for a tax audit. For instance, if you claim on your tax return that you make $30,000 per year, and, in the same year, purchase an expensive luxury item, the tax authorities will wonder where you got that extra money, and why you're not paying taxes on it.
Claiming an unusually-high number of deductions is another prevalent reason for tax audits in Columbiana, Alabama. A tax deduction is some expenditure that you can subtract from your taxable income, thereby reducing your tax liability. If you claim such a huge number of deductions that your tax liability has been reduced to almost nothing, the IRS will probably want to make sure that all of these deductions are valid.
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How Can A Columbiana, Alabama Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself on the business end of a tax audit in Columbiana, Alabama, and you are sure that you have reported all of your income, and not claimed any invalid deductions, chances are you were just chosen at random for an audit, and you probably don't have any cause for concern, other than the inconvenience that an audit represents. If you are found to owe any back taxes, and your failure to pay in the past was the result of an honest mistake, you'll likely be afforded a chance to pay any taxes you owe from past years, with the possible addition of interest.
However, there are times when an audit is conducted to investigate far more serious issues. If you find yourself facing allegations from the IRS of serious wrongdoing, and believe yourself to be innocent, you should pursue the advice of a Columbiana, Alabama tax attorney immediately.