Tax Audit Lawyers in Barnstable
In Barnstable, 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. Usually, 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, Massachusetts is usually 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 crucial 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 actually being audited.
Once you receive the letter, and confirm its authenticity, you will have to meet with an auditor at the time and place specified 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, 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 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 Barnstable, Massachusetts 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.
Likewise, trying to deduct a large percentage of your income is likely to raise suspicions. A tax deduction is a way to reduce one's tax liability by making some of one's income non-taxable. Some common sources of tax deductions in Barnstable, Massachusetts are business expenses and charitable donations. Some people, however, try to include false deductions in their tax returns (trying to deduct charitable donations they never actually gave, for example). A massive number of deductions will be highly suspicious to the tax authorities, and they will want to see evidence to support every deduction you claim, if you're audited.
How Can A Barnstable, Massachusetts Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself being audited in Barnstable, Massachusetts, 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, there are some tax audits that are far more convoluted and serious than a tax return having a few more deductions than usual. If this is the situation you're in, you should contact a Barnstable, Massachusetts tax attorney as soon as possible, to help make sure that your tax audit goes smoothly.