Tax Audit in Bell Gardens, California
A "tax audit" in California 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 unexpected audits, where they audit taxpayers at random, without necessarily suspecting them of any wrongdoing.
The procedure of being audited in Bell Gardens, California 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 letter informing you of your audit is authentic, there are various things you can do to prepare for your meeting with the auditor. The initial thing you need to do is call them and arrange to meet at a time that's mutually convenient. You should bring any documents and records that the auditor requests, as well as any proof that you think might be helpful in answering the auditor's questions. The auditor will ask you any questions that he or she believes will clear up whatever concerns they have with your return. You should answer all of these questions truthfully, as it is illegal to lie to a tax auditor.
Reasons For a Tax Audit in Bell Gardens, California
A tax audit in California can be performed for almost any reason at all
As mentioned above, an audit can happen simply because a person was chosen for an audit at random. If you are randomly chosen for a tax audit, and you have been forthright and diligent in collecting your tax documents, it will probably be a quick, painless process, and you likely don't have anything to worry about.
Nonetheless if the IRS or other tax agency suspects actual wrongdoing by a Bell Gardens, California taxpayer, that's a different matter. There are numerous different reasons why a government might determine to audit a taxpayer. The most typical one is suspicion that they have underreported their income. If a taxpayer buys a considerable number of expensive luxury items, but reports little or no income on their tax returns, the government will definitely want to discover where the money to buy all those things came from, and why it hasn't been declared as taxable income.
It is also typical to be audited in Bell Gardens, California if you claim a large number of deductions. A tax deduction is simply a legal subtraction from one's taxable income. Numerous different expenses, including charitable donations, interest paid on mortgages, and others, are deductible from one's taxes. If you claim so many deductions that you have negated almost all of your tax liability, you can bet that the government is going to be suspicious.
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If you find yourself being audited in Bell Gardens, California, and are sure that you have done everything right in preparing your taxes, then the audit will likely be over rapidly, with no penalties imposed. In cases like this, if anything is found to be wrong with your tax return, it is likely the result of an honest mistake, and the auditor will be aware of this, and will likely give you an opportunity to correct your mistake, without suffering any penalties, with the possible exception of being made to pay interest on any back taxes you owe.
However, there are times when an audit is conducted to investigate far more significant 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 Bell Gardens, California tax attorney immediately.