Tax Audit in California, 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 California, 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 California, 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 California, 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.
Likewise, trying to deduct a large percentage of your income is likely to raise suspicions. A tax deduction is a way to reduce one's tax liability by making some of one's income non-taxable. Some frequent sources of tax deductions in California, California are business expenses and charitable donations. Some people, however, try to include false deductions in their tax returns (trying to deduct charitable donations they never really gave, for example). A massive number of deductions will be highly suspicious to the tax authorities, and they will want to see evidence to support every deduction you claim, if you're audited.
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How Can A California, California Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself being audited in California, California, and are certain that you have done everything right in preparing your taxes, then the audit will probably be over quickly, 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 probably 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, if the situation is more convoluted, you may need to hire a California, California tax attorney. A tax attorney can help you through your audit, and make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.