Tax Audit in Buellton, California
A "tax audit" in California is the process by which the relevant 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, usually 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 process of a Buellton, California tax audit is usually pretty straightforward. If and when you are faced with a tax audit, you'll receive a letter from the IRS, or its state equivalent, telling you that you're being audited. Nonetheless, you should not assume that this letter is authentic, because con artists will sometimes send fake audit letters to squeeze money out of innocent taxpayers. You should seek independent confirmation of the letter's authenticity by searching the Internet for the name of the government agency in question, and contact them for more information.
Once you have confirmed that your audit is authentic, you will be obligated to meet the auditor at an agreed-upon time and place. The auditor will usually inform you about what documents and other proof you need to take to the meeting. At the meeting, they will ask you a long series of questions about your taxes, to clear up the thing they're uncertain about.
Reasons For a Tax Audit in Buellton, California
There are numerous reasons why the federal government, or the government of California may want to audit a taxpayer.
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 honest and diligent in preparing 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 Buellton, California taxpayer, that's a different matter. There are numerous different reasons why a government might determine to audit a taxpayer. The most common one is suspicion that they have underreported their income. If a taxpayer buys a large 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.
If you claim such a large number of deductions that your tax liability is unusually low, you may well be subject to an audit in Buellton, California. A deduction is an allowable reduction in your taxable income, requiring you to pay taxes on a smaller portion of your income. Certain business expenses and charitable donations are common sources of tax deductions. However, some people add invalid deductions to their tax returns to reduce their tax burden. If the IRS is suspicious about your deductions, you should make sure you have proper documentation to back them up.
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How Can A Buellton, California Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself being audited in Buellton, 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.
Nonetheless, if the situation is more confusing, you may need to hire a Buellton, California tax attorney. A tax attorney can help you through your audit, and make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.