Tax Audit Lawyers in The Woodlands
An "audit" is an administrative proceeding in The Woodlands, 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 normally 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 The Woodlands, Texas, the process of a tax audit is typically not perplexing. If you get a letter saying that you have been chosen for an audit, you should still take it seriously, however. The first thing you need to do is confirm that you are really being audited, because there are fraudsters who impersonate tax collectors, attempting to squeeze money out of innocent victims. When you receive such a letter, you should use the phone book or Internet to find the contact info for the government agency that the letter claims to be from, and contact them. Do not rely on any contact information provided in the letter, as it may direct you to the scammer, who will simply pretend to be a representative of the IRS.
After confirming that the audit you're facing is really legitimate, there are a few things you can do to prepare. First, you should assemble all of the appropriate documents you have in your possession. This should include your tax return, W-2 forms, and records of any expenses that you claim as deductions. You should bring these documents, and any others that the auditor requests, to the meeting. At the meeting, the auditor will ask you a number of questions, which you should answer honestly and to the best of your knowledge.
Reasons For a Tax Audit in The Woodlands, Texas
There are many reasons why the federal government, or the government of Texas may want to audit a taxpayer.
As discussed earlier, tax audits can be conducted at random. Evidently, the government doesn't have the resources to audit every taxpayer under their jurisdiction. But, by conducting a considerable number of random audits each year, taxpayers are, in theory, discouraged from cheating on their taxes, because they know that they might be audited randomly. If you are chosen for a random audit, and have done everything right, you almost certainly have nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, some taxpayers in The Woodlands, Texas are audited for a certain reason, rather than being drawn at random. If the tax authorities believe that you have underreported your income, that is a very common reason for a tax audit. For instance, if you claim on your tax return that you make ,000 per year, and, in the same year, purchase an expensive luxury item, the tax authorities will wonder where you got that extra money, and why you're not paying taxes on it.
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 frequent sources of tax deductions in The Woodlands, Texas 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 really gave, for example). A huge 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 The Woodlands, Texas Tax Lawyer Help?
If you are audited in The Woodlands, Texas, and believe that you have done everything right in gathering and filing your tax return, you probably don't have much to worry about. If there is anything wrong with your tax return, it was probably the result of an honest mistake, which will result in light penalties - normallyy just an order to pay any back taxes you owe, plus interest.
However, there are some tax audits where the underlying facts are much more difficult than a simple misunderstanding. In these cases, a good tax attorney in The Woodlands, Texas may be necessary to ensure that the process is as painless as it can possibly be.