Tax Audit Lawyers in Austin
An "audit" is an administrative proceeding in Austin, Texas 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 typically 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 process of an Austin, Texas tax audit is typically pretty straightforward. If and when you are faced with a tax audit, you'll receive a letter from the IRS, or its state equivalent, telling you that you're being audited. However, you should not assume that this letter is authentic, because con artists will sometimes send fake audit letters to squeeze money out of innocent taxpayers. You should pursue independent confirmation of the letter's authenticity by searching the Internet for the name of the government agency in question, and contact them for more information.
After confirming that the letter informing you of your audit is authentic, there are various 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 concerns 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 Austin, Texas
There are several reasons why the federal government, or the government of Texas may want to audit a taxpayer.
As discussed earlier, an audit might occur due to a taxpayer being randomly selected. If this happens to you, and you have been forthright on your tax returns, it's unlikely that you'll have much to worry about.
On the other hand, there are also particular reasons why the tax authorities in Austin, Texas 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 Austin, Texas 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 Austin, Texas Tax Lawyer Help?
If you find yourself being audited in Austin, Texas, 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, in more perplexing cases, chances are you would be well-served by a tax lawyer in Austin, Texas, to ensure that your tax audit goes smoothly.