Tax Audit Lawyers in West Reading
An "audit" is an administrative proceeding in West Reading, 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.
The procedure of being audited in West Reading, Pennsylvania is usually pretty simple. If and when the tax authorities decide to audit you, they'll send you a letter in the mail detailing what's about to happen. If you receive such a letter, it's extremely important that you make sure it's authentic. Sometimes, scam artists will send fake audit notices to people, claiming that they owe the government money. They will then collect their "taxes" and disappear. You should do an internet search for the name of the tax authority that the letter claims to represent, and call them to verify that you are being audited.
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 West Reading, Pennsylvania
There are many reasons why the federal government, or the government of Pennsylvania may want to audit a taxpayer.
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 a West Reading, Pennsylvania taxpayer, that's a different matter. There are many 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 West Reading, Pennsylvania if you claim a huge number of deductions. A tax deduction is simply a legal subtraction from one's taxable income. Many 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 West Reading, Pennsylvania Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself on the business end of a tax audit in West Reading, 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, there are some tax audits where the underlying facts are much more complex than a simple misunderstanding. In these cases, a good tax attorney in West Reading, Pennsylvania may be necessary to ensure that the process is as painless as it can possibly be.