Tax Audit Lawyers in Winthrop Harbor
In Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, a "tax audit" is a procedure in which the IRS or local tax authorities conduct an investigation of a taxpayer's tax filings, looking at them in more detail than they ordinarily do. Normally, they do this because there is something suspicious in the tax return. State and federal tax authorities also do a certain number of random audits each year, without necessarily suspecting that an individual auditee has done anything wrong.
In Winthrop Harbor, Illinois the procedure of being audited is relatively simple. If you are chosen to be audited, you will receive a letter in the mail telling you as much. It's important to verify the authenticity of this letter, because sometimes con-artists will pose as tax authorities, and conduct fake audits of unsuspecting taxpayers, then claim that they owe the government more money. If the victim pays, the scammer takes the money and runs. To verify that a letter is authentic, you should contact the nearest branch of the relevant tax authority. Do not simply call the number provided to you in the letter, since it will probably lead to the scammer. Use a phonebook or the Internet to find the actual number you should call.
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 Winthrop Harbor, Illinois
There are many different reasons why the federal government, or the tax authorities of Illinois might decide that a tax audit is warranted in your case.
As discussed earlier, an audit might occur due to a taxpayer being randomly selected. If this happens to you, and you have been straightforward on your tax returns, it's unlikely that you'll have much to worry about.
However if the IRS or other tax agency suspects actual wrongdoing by a Winthrop Harbor, Illinois taxpayer, that's a different matter. There are many different reasons why a government might decide to audit a taxpayer. The most frequent one is suspicion that they have underreported their income. If a taxpayer buys a massive number of expensive luxury items, but reports little or no income on their tax returns, the government will definitely want to know where the money to buy all those things came from, and why it hasn't been declared as taxable income.
Another frequent reason for tax audits in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois is when a taxpayer claims a large number of deductions. A deduction is simply a legally-authorized 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 Winthrop Harbor, Illinois Tax Lawyer Help?
If you experience an audit in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, 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 normally light. It will probably be little more than a requirement that you pay back taxes and interest.
However, there are some tax audits where the underlying facts are much more difficult than a simple misunderstanding. In these cases, a good tax attorney in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois may be necessary to ensure that the process is as painless as it can possibly be.