Tax Audit Lawyers in Erie
An "audit" is an administrative proceeding in Erie, Pennsylvania whereby the IRS, or a local tax-collection agency looks at a person's (or business's) tax filings in more detail than they do in ordinary cases. This is usually done when the tax return has a suspicious discrepancy on it, or if the taxpayer was simply picked at random. It's not uncommon for tax authorities to conduct random audits, providing people with an incentive to be honest on their taxes, knowing that they could be audited at random.
In Erie, Pennsylvania 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.
After confirming that the letter informing you of your audit is authentic, there are several things you can do to prepare for your meeting with the auditor. The first thing you need to do is call them and arrange to meet at a time that's mutually convenient. You should bring any documents and records that the auditor requests, as well as any evidence that you think might be helpful in answering the auditor's questions. The auditor will ask you any questions that he or she believes will clear up whatever issues they have with your return. You should answer all of these questions truthfully, as it is illegal to lie to a tax auditor.
Reasons For a Tax Audit in Erie, Pennsylvania
A tax audit in Pennsylvania can be conducted for almost any reason at all
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.
However if the IRS or other tax agency suspects actual wrongdoing by an Erie, Pennsylvania taxpayer, that's a different matter. There are several different reasons why a government might decide to audit a taxpayer. The most common one is suspicion that they have underreported their income. If a taxpayer buys a large 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.
It is also common to be audited in Erie, Pennsylvania if you claim a massive number of deductions. A tax deduction is simply a legal subtraction from one's taxable income. Several different expenses, including charitable donations, interest paid on mortgages, and others, are deductible from one's taxes. If you claim so many deductions that you have negated almost all of your tax liability, you can bet that the government is going to be suspicious.
How Can A Erie, Pennsylvania Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself on the business end of a tax audit in Erie, Pennsylvania, and you are sure that you have reported all of your income, and not claimed any invalid deductions, chances are you were just chosen at random for an audit, and you probably don't have any cause for concern, other than the inconvenience that an audit represents. If you are found to owe any back taxes, and your failure to pay in the past was the result of an honest mistake, you'll likely be afforded a chance to pay any taxes you owe from past years, with the possible addition of interest.
However, if the situation is more perplexing, you may need to hire an Erie, Pennsylvania tax attorney. A tax attorney can help you through your audit, and make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.