Tax Audit in Cathedral City, 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 Cathedral City, 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 Cathedral City, California
There are numerous reasons why the federal government, or the government of California may want to audit a taxpayer.
As considered earlier, tax audits can be conducted at random. Obviously, the government doesn't have the resources to audit every taxpayer under their jurisdiction. But, by conducting a significant 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 definately have nothing to worry about.
Nonetheless if the IRS or other tax agency suspects actual wrongdoing by a Cathedral City, 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.
Claiming an unusually-high number of deductions is another common reason for tax audits in Cathedral City, 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 large 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 legitimate.
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How Can A Cathedral City, California Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself on the business end of a tax audit in Cathedral City, 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 likely don't have any cause for concern, other than the inconvenience that an audit represents. If you are deemed 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.
Nonetheless, if the situation is more difficult, you may need to hire a Cathedral City, California tax attorney. A tax attorney can help you through your audit, and make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.