Tax Audit Lawyers in Barnstable County
In Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 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. Typically, 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.
The actual procedure involved in a tax audit in Barnstable County, Massachusetts is typically fairly straightforward. If you hare chosen for an audit, you will receive a letter in the mail telling you as much. Before responding, it's important for you to make sure that the letter is authentic, because there are scammers who send fake audit letters to innocent victims, in an attempt to extort money out of them. You should search the Internet for the name of the organization that the letter claims to represent, and call them using the contact information on their website, and confirm that you are truly being audited.
Once you receive the letter, and confirm its authenticity, you will have to meet with an auditor at the time and place stated in the letter, and subsequent communications with the auditor. The auditor will tell you what documents and records you need to bring to the meeting. They will then ask you some questions to clear up whatever discrepancy they found in your tax return.
Reasons For a Tax Audit in Barnstable County, Massachusetts
There are plenty of reasons why Massachusetts's government, or the federal government, might conduct a tax audit.
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.
However if the IRS or other tax agency suspects actual wrongdoing by a Barnstable County, Massachusetts taxpayer, that's a different matter. There are many different reasons why a government might decide to audit a taxpayer. The most typical one is suspicion that they have underreported their income. If a taxpayer buys a considerable 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 typical reason for tax audits in Barnstable County, Massachusetts is when a taxpayer claims a large number of deductions. A deduction is simply a legally-permitted 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 Barnstable County, Massachusetts Tax Lawyer Help?
If you experience an audit in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 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 some tax audits where the underlying facts are much more confusing than a simple misunderstanding. In these cases, a good tax attorney in Barnstable County, Massachusetts may be necessary to ensure that the process is as painless as it can possibly be.