Tax Audit Lawyers in Palo Alto
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 Palo Alto, 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 made sure that your audit is indeed real, you can do a few things to get ready for it. Most importantly, you should gather all of the documents that the auditor has asked for, as well as any additional documents and evidence that you think might help clear up any confusion about your tax return. You should bring these to the meeting with the auditor, and truthfully (to the best of your knowledge) answer all of the questions that the auditor asks.
Reasons For a Tax Audit in Palo Alto, California
There are many 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.
On the other hand, there are also specific reasons why the tax authorities in Palo Alto, 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.
Another common reason for tax audits in Palo Alto, California is when a taxpayer claims a large number of deductions. A deduction is simply a legally-allowed subtraction from a person's taxable income. For instance, charitable donations can be deducted from one's income in the full amount of the donation. However, if a person claims a very large number of deductions, to the point that they claim little or no tax liability, the tax authorities are going to take a closer look.
How Can A Palo Alto, California Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself being audited in Palo Alto, 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.
But, in more perplexing cases, chances are you would be well-served by a tax lawyer in Palo Alto, California, to ensure that your tax audit goes smoothly.