Tax Audit in Butte County, California
A "tax audit" in California is the process by which the appropriate 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, normally 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 process of a Butte County, California tax audit is normally 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. However, 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 obtain 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 required to meet the auditor at an agreed-upon time and place. The auditor will normally inform you about what documents and other evidence 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 Butte County, California
There are several reasons why the federal government, or the government of California may want to audit a taxpayer.
As discussed earlier, tax audits can be conducted at random. Evidently, the government doesn't have the resources to audit every taxpayer under their jurisdiction. But, by conducting a considerable number of random audits each year, taxpayers are, in theory, discouraged from cheating on their taxes, because they know that they might be audited randomly. If you are chosen for a random audit, and have done everything right, you almost certainly have nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, some taxpayers in Butte County, California are audited for a certain reason, rather than being drawn at random. If the tax authorities believe that you have underreported your income, that is a very recognized 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 frequent reason for tax audits in Butte County, California. A tax deduction is some expenditure that you can subtract from your taxable income, thereby reducing your tax liability. If you claim such a massive 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 Butte County, California Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself on the business end of a tax audit in Butte County, California, 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 obtain the advice of a Butte County, California tax attorney immediately.