Tax Audit Lawyers in Pittsfield
In Pittsfield, 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 Pittsfield, 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 Pittsfield, Massachusetts
There are many different reasons why the federal government, or the tax authorities of Massachusetts might decide that a tax audit is warranted in your case.
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 particular reasons why the tax authorities in Pittsfield, Massachusetts might want to conduct a tax audit. The most prevalent 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 considerable number of expensive luxury items, but only claims a small amount of income on their tax return. Obviously, the tax man will be quite 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 typical reason for tax audits in Pittsfield, 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 Pittsfield, Massachusetts Tax Lawyer Help?
If you end up being tax audited, and you believe that you have not engaged in any wrongdoing, it's likely that you've been chosen randomly for an audit in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. If this is the case, you shouldn't be worried. If you are found to have made a mistake on a past tax return, and paid less than you owed, you'll probably just be made to pay the balance due, plus a slight bit of interest, without incurring any additional penalties.
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 Pittsfield, Massachusetts may be necessary to ensure that the process is as painless as it can possibly be.