Tax Audit in El Cerrito, California

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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 unexpected audits, where they audit taxpayers at random, without necessarily suspecting them of any wrongdoing.

The process of a El Cerrito, 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. 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 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 obligated to meet the auditor at an agreed-upon time and place. The auditor will typically 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 El Cerrito, California

A tax audit in California can be performed for almost any reason at all

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 forthright and diligent in collecting your tax documents, it will probably be a quick, painless process, and you likely don't have anything to worry about.

Nonetheless, some people in El Cerrito, California are audited because the government suspects that they are underreporting their income. For instance, if you report that you only make $20,000 per year, and then go out and buy an expensive sports car, the IRS and state tax authorities are going to want to discover where the money to buy that car came from.

If you claim such a considerable number of deductions that your tax liability is unusually low, you may well be subject to an audit in El Cerrito, California. A deduction is an allowable reduction in your taxable income, requiring you to pay taxes on a smaller portion of your income. Specific business expenses and charitable donations are customary 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 appropriate documentation to back them up.

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How Can A El Cerrito, California Tax Lawyer Help?

If you end up being tax audited, and you believe that you have not engaged in any wrongdoing, it's likely that you've been chosen randomly for an audit in El Cerrito, California. If this is the case, you shouldn't be worried. If you are found to have made a mistake on a past tax return, and paid less than you owed, you'll likely just be made to pay the balance due, plus a slight bit of interest, without incurring any additional penalties.

But, in more confusing cases, chances are you would be well-served by a tax lawyer in El Cerrito, California, to ensure that your tax audit goes smoothly.

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