Tax Audit Lawyers in Santa Barbara County
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 Santa Barbara County, 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 made sure that your audit is indeed real, you can do a few things to get ready for it. Most vitally, 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 Santa Barbara County, California
There are plenty of reasons why California's government, or the federal government, might conduct a tax audit.
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 Santa Barbara County, 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 ,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.
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 Santa Barbara County, 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.
How Can A Santa Barbara County, California Tax Lawyer Help?
If you experience an audit in Santa Barbara County, California, and believe that you have properly reported all of your income on your tax filings, it will probably go fine. And if there is anything wrong with your filings, it was likely the result of an honest mistake, and auditors are generally sensitive to this fact. In such cases, the penalty is typically light. It will probably be little more than a requirement that you pay back taxes and interest.
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 pursue the advice of a Santa Barbara County, California tax attorney immediately.