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San Jose, CA tax law attorney for IRS examinations

Many people have felt the sinking feeling that accompanies receiving a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While it may be tempting to simply put the letter in a drawer and forget about it, ignoring the IRS can result in serious consequences. If you are contacted by the IRS and asked to make an office audit appointment, you should be sure to schedule the appointment, contact a tax lawyer for help if you need it, and attend the meeting. If you have already missed an audit meeting, you may wonder about the consequences you may face and what steps you can take to protect yourself.

Voluntary Appointments Versus Required Appointments

When the IRS examines a tax return and decides that the tax filer has misfiled, it may send a letter requesting an appointment. The tax filer may respond to the letter and schedule an appointment, or s/he may choose not to. If you have received a letter and did not schedule the appointment, the IRS has the authority to request a legal summons from a judge and demand that you attend it. If you fail to show up at an appointment that you personally scheduled, you will likely get the chance to reschedule the meeting without any major consequences. However if you were required to be at the appointment because of a legal summons and do not show up, the consequences will be much more serious.

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San Jose tax attorney for IRS auditsIf you are the subject of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit, you likely have many questions about what the auditing process will entail. The IRS may have chosen you for an audit after comparing your tax return against “norms” for comparable returns, or you may have been selected because your tax returns involved transactions with other taxpayers who have been selected for an audit. The IRS manages audits through the mail and/or in-person interviews. As part of the auditing process, the IRS will request access to certain documents and financial information that supports the income and deductions claimed on your tax return.

Common Records Requested by the IRS

The documents and records that the IRS will want to examine during an audit can vary depending on your specific circumstances and the basis for the audit. Commonly, the IRS will request copies of:

  • Receipts: You may be asked to send the IRS receipts proving purchases you have made or money you have received for a product or service.
  • Canceled checks 
  • Bills: The IRS may request bills showing the person or entity receiving payment, the type of service received, and the dates on which you paid them.
  • Loan agreements: You may need to send copies of loan applications or agreements as well as information about how you used money that was loaned to you.
  • Travel logs and tickets: The IRS may want to examine travel plans and dates, mileage information, tickets, and expenses.
  • Theft or loss documents: If you experienced a theft or loss, the IRS will want to see insurance reports describing the loss, police reports, adjustor appraisals, and other relevant information.
  • Medical records
  • Legal documents: The IRS will likely want copies of documents related to property acquisition, tax preparation, divorce settlements, custody agreements, and any civil and criminal cases you have been involved in.

Your Rights During an IRS Audit

It is critical for anyone going through a tax audit to remember that they have certain rights as a taxpayer. In addition to professional and respectful treatment from IRS employees, you also have a right to confidentiality, the right to know why the IRS is auditing you, the right to know how the IRS will use any information gathered, and the right to know what the consequences will be if you do not provide the requested information. Most importantly, you have the right to be represented by a qualified tax lawyer. If you disagree with the IRS’s findings, you have the right to challenge or appeal the IRS auditor’s decision or file a petition with the U.S. Tax Court.

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Posted on in Tax Audits

: San Jose tax audit appeal attorney

If you have gone through an IRS audit and received a letter advising you of its findings, chances are the agency has made determinations about which you are not happy. In some cases, the IRS may determine that you owe back taxes, plus interest and penalties. While some taxpayers may agree with the IRS’s findings and pay the assessed amount, you may believe that the findings are incorrect. In these cases, you should be sure to understand your options for asking the IRS to either reconsider or adjust the determinations.

Appealing the IRS’s Decision

Although audits are best handled by working with the IRS during the audit process, it is also possible to appeal the findings of an audit. However, it is important to keep a very good record of the audit process. This is because during an appeal, the record of the audit will be given more weight than any new information that you may wish to introduce. The auditor’s findings are part of the record, so you should make sure to have all of the supporting documentation to show why you disagree with the decision. 

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San Jose, CA estate tax lawyerThere are several ways the IRS will be involved in the estate of someone who has died (known as a “decedent”). The IRS is notorious for enforcing payment of the taxes it claims it is due, including in situations involving a deceased person’s estate. 

Tax issues will be important to a deceased person’s personal representative, executor, successor trustee, and heirs, because the estate must pay all taxes due before the estate’s assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. The IRS can even audit the tax returns of a dead person.

The estate will have to pay any income taxes due for the year of the person’s death (as well as for any year that the decedent did not file). Just like a taxpayer filing his or her income taxes each year, the estate administrator will file a Form 1040 for the estate. Depending on how organized the estate is, the estate administrator may need to file a Request for Transcript of Tax Return in order to get needed documents related to the deceased person’s income and taxes.

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San Jose, CA IRS audit attorneyIf you have been informed that your tax returns will be examined, or audited, you may not know what to expect from the process. Often, taxpayers are upset about having to devote more time to their tax returns, and they may be worried about a larger tax liability or concerned that they will face penalties from the IRS.

All of these thoughts are well-founded. Hiring an attorney to look out for your best interests during the course of an examination is allowed under IRS rules and may help you keep your tax liability as low as possible.

How Is One Chosen for an Examination?

According to the IRS, there are two ways your tax return may be selected for an audit. The first way is by computer programs that find incorrect amounts on your returns when compared to documents like W-2s or 1099s. 

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