Tax Audit in Clearlake, 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 random audits, where they audit taxpayers at random, without necessarily suspecting them of any wrongdoing.
The process of a Clearlake, California tax audit is typically 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 pursue 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 typically 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 Clearlake, California
There are several reasons why the federal government, or the government of California may want to audit a taxpayer.
A taxpayer can be chosen for an audit at random, even if the tax authorities don't suspect any wrongdoing. The idea behind these random audits is to keep taxpayers on their toes. So, if you are audited for this reason, and know that you've done everything properly in filing your taxes, you will probably be fine.
But, some Clearlake, California tax audits occur for a particular reason. This is typically because the IRS or your local tax authority suspects that you have not reported all of your income on your tax return. For example, suppose that, last year, you bought an expensive new luxury car. But say you only claimed $25,000 in total income that year. As you might imagine, the IRS is going to be quite interested in finding out where the money for that car came from, and, if you have enough money to buy it, why you aren't paying taxes on that money.
It is also common to be audited in Clearlake, California if you claim a massive number of deductions. A tax deduction is simply a legal subtraction from one's taxable income. Several 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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How Can A Clearlake, California Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself on the business end of a tax audit in Clearlake, 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, if the situation is more complicated, you may need to hire a Clearlake, California tax attorney. A tax attorney can help you through your audit, and make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.