Tax Audit in Lake Forest, 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 random audits, where they audit taxpayers at random, without necessarily suspecting them of any wrongdoing.
The process of a Lake Forest, 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. 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 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 required to meet the auditor at an agreed-upon time and place. The auditor will usually 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 Lake Forest, California
Tax Audits in California can occur for a wide variety of different reasons.
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 honest and diligent in preparing your tax documents, it will probably be a quick, painless process, and you likely don't have anything to worry about.
On the other hand, there are also specific reasons why the tax authorities in Lake Forest, California might want to conduct a tax audit. The most common reason for a tax audit is suspicion that a taxpayer has not reported all of the income they earned in a given year. This suspicion often arises when a taxpayer buys a large number of expensive luxury items, but only claims a small amount of income on their tax return. Obviously, the tax man will be very interested in learning where someone who is claiming a minimum-wage level income on their taxes got the money to buy a sports car.
It is also common to be audited in Lake Forest, California if you claim a huge number of deductions. A tax deduction is simply a legal subtraction from one's taxable income. Many 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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If you find yourself being audited in Lake Forest, 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, 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 seek the advice of a Lake Forest, California tax attorney immediately.