Every year the Internal revenue service (IRS) audits around one million federal income tax returns. Although the IRS conducts audits at random, they also conduct targeted audits that are triggered by questionable filings.
Regardless of why the IRS has chosen to audit you, you should seek help from an attorney. While it’s sometimes possible to handle a correspondence audit on an individual tax return without representation, it’s not something you want to take a chance on. An IRS tax audit can result in harsh and costly penalties, substantial liability, and even civil or criminal prosecution.
Houston tax attorneys can provide valuable insight, whether you are dealing with personal tax or tax as a business owner. They will be able to obtain records of your account and explore all the options available to you. They will explain your rights and fight to have your penalties dropped, the settlement figure reduced, find a payment plan that works for you, and help you avoid unnecessary tax liability.
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC in Houston, TX
When you secure legal representation from Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC in Houston, TX, you can rest easy knowing that everything possible is being done for your case.
Ronald A. Stearns Sr. has been 100% devoted to litigation and tax resolution for more than 26 years. He is an esteemed attorney with several honors and professional associations including the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas.
He pairs a deep understanding of the laws surrounding tax planning and IRS problems, with a committed approach to the attorney-client relationship. He is committed to fiercely advocating for his clients protecting them to the fullest extent possible.
If you need help with the IRS audit process, contact our Houston TX law office today at 210-853-2135.
What a Houston, IRS Tax Attorney Can Do For You
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC can guide you throughout the entire IRS audit process, including assisting you in compliance matters, communicating with your IRS auditor, amending returns, and filing unfiled IRS tax returns.
Your attorney will take all the steps they can to reduce your tax obligation to the minimum amount possible considering the facts of your case. They will do this by obtaining records of your account with the IRS, and assessing what can be done for you.
They will analyze your case and determine what options are available to you, and help you decide on the best course of action. This may include innocent spouse relief, currently not collectible status, partial-pay installment agreements, or offers in compromise.
If you are a business owner or you are otherwise self-employed then there will also be many other options available to you.
Your Houston IRS tax attorney will work to reduce or eliminate interest and penalties that may have been imposed upon your tax debt, thus reducing the amount you need to pay. They may be able to prevent or stop levies, seizures, and garnishments.
Depending on the circumstances of your case your attorney may be able to defend your IRS tax returns in an audit, or in an appeal of an audit. They will also be prepared to file and prosecute your case in tax court if the IRS treats you unjustly.
You should contact Attorney Ronald A. Stearns Sr. as soon as possible. Taxpayer rights usually have strict time constraints, and the longer you leave it the fewer options will be available to you. That being said, his many years of experience mean that there is always something he can do to assist you in your IRS audit case.
Things You Need to Know When Facing an IRS Audit
If you are faced with an IRS tax audit, then your first step is to understand what issues need to be addressed. Are the IRS auditors simply asking for supporting documentation that is easy for you to provide? Or have you underpaid or underreported what you owe to the IRS office?
You will also need to have some understanding of audit methods and IRS examination. For example, usually, correspondence audits are carried out via email, they are usually focused on itemized deductions and do not require an in-person visit. These are the least serious and usually only require additional information to clarify your returns.
On the other hand, office audits require a visit to the IRS, and field audits require IRS agents to come to your business or home, these types of audits are usually much more serious.
All audits carry risk, if the IRS discovers tax code violations, there can be substantial consequences that are best avoided. You should therefore speak with a tax professional who can limit your liability.
Common Issues With IRS Audits in Houston, TX
When it comes to tax problems and tax code violations, the most common issues that require assistance from an attorney include:
Miscalculation of Tax Liability
If you or your accountant miscalculated your tax liability then the IRS will expect you to pay everything you owe, in addition to interest and penalties. Regardless of whether a third party prepared your returns, you remain personally liable and responsible for giving the correct information to the IRS.
Failure to File IRS Forms
You must file all of the necessary IRS forms based on your circumstances, and you are responsible for knowing what you need to do. While many taxpayers only file Form 1040 once a year, other taxpayers have additional filing obligations. Some defenses your attorney may use include arguing that you were not legally obliged to file them or innocent spouse relief.
Failure to Report Foreign Income or Offshore Assets
U.S taxpayers are required to report foreign income, offshore bank accounts, and all other offshore assets via the Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) form. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to serious consequences, and it is important that you seek guidance from an IRS audit defense attorney as soon as possible.
Business Tax Violations
Businesses are subject to various tax reporting and payment obligations, including employment taxes. Failure to comply with proper regulations can result in serious penalties and repercussions. Your Houston tax attorney can help protect you and your business.
Tax code violations involving cryptocurrency are becoming increasingly prevalent, and it is a big priority for the IRS right now. If you cannot accurately track your transactions, you could face significant difficulty responding to your IRS audit.
IRS Criminal Investigation Strategic Priorities
When the IRS conducts tax audits. they will examine your taxpayer record for evidence of issues that may warrant a criminal investigation. That includes issues that fall under the IRS criminal investigations four strategic priorities:
- Illegal Source Financial Crimes – Crimes that involve illegal income-producing activities such as forgery, racketeering, etc.
- Legal Source Tax Crimes – Crimes that involve the underpayment of tax on income derived from legal sources.
- Counterterrorism Financial Crimes –Organizations or individuals suspected of engaging in financial practices deemed illicit and related to counterterrorism efforts.
- Narcotics-Related Tax and Financial Crimes – The IRS specifically targets offenses involving the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of illegal drugs.
Potential Outcomes of IRS Audits in Houston, TX
If you are being audited by the IRS, then you need to understand what is at stake. When you contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC we will promptly examine your case and figure out what you may owe, what the potential outcome may be, and what defense strategy you should pursue.
The quicker you do this, the more options will be available to you, and considering the potential for serious consequences following an IRS audit, it is essential that you seek legal help.
Potential outcomes of tax issues with the IRS include:
- Settlement or Installment Agreement – If you underpaid your federal tax liability unintentionally, then your attorney might be able to negotiate an installment agreement or settlement with the IRS.
- Civil Liability for Tax, Penalties, and Interest – If the IRS is unwilling to negotiate, then you will be asked to simply pay what you owe. If you are unable to do this then your attorney can appeal the outcome of your audit.
- Offer in Compromise – If you are eligible your attorney may be able to negotiate an offer in compromise, which will reduce what you owe significantly.
- Criminal or Civil Investigation for Tax Fraud or Tax Evasion – If the IRS believes that there is substantial evidence of tax evasion or tax fraud then they may start a criminal or civil investigation. Ronald A. Stearns Sr. has significant experience representing clients in tax court and is prepared to defend you if necessary.
- No Additional Tax Liability – If you fully reported what you owe, then your attorney can work with the IRS to stop your audit without additional penalties or liability.
Options If You Can’t Pay Your Tax Bill in Houston, TX
When the IRS determines what you owe, and you are unable to pay it, it creates a lot of stress and anxiety. You might be concerned about your assets, the future of you and your family, or what will happen to your hard-earned business.
When you have a Houston IRS audit attorney on your side you will be able to take advantage of a broad range of options that could help you to pay off your tax debts, or even have them reduced. It might not be as bad as it initially seems!
An attorney who takes the time to understand your case and explore your options will be able to advise you on what is possible in your case and what will bring the most benefits to you.
Your options may include:
Currently Not Collectible Status
If certain circumstances apply to your case, then your attorney may be able to have the IRS agree to place your entire IRS tax obligation on hold. You will not have to pay anything until your circumstances improve and you are able to make a payment.
Partial-Pay Installment Agreement
Your attorney may be able to secure an installment agreement, which will allow you to only pay a small percentage of what you owe initially, and then you will continue with an agreed payment plan.
Offer In Compromise
An offer in compromise could substantially reduce your IRS tax debt if you are eligible. Your attorney will fight to reduce things like penalties and interest so that you are left with a much smaller amount to pay.
Innocent Spousal Relief
You may be able to secure total or partial relief from your tax obligation if your attorney can secure innocent spousal relief. You may be eligible if it was your spouse or ex-spouse who was guilty of underreporting income or improperly claiming tax deductions.
Additional IRS Programs
The IRS has many more options available to individuals and businesses to minimize their tax obligations. Contact Attorney Ronald A. Stearns Sr. today and discuss all the options available to you based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Houston IRS Audit Frequently-Asked Questions
Can I deal with an IRS Audit on my own?
If you are facing a desk audit as an individual, then you do have the option of trying to handle it on your own. However, we recommend that anyone facing an IRS audit seeks help from a lawyer. Tax law is extremely complex, and an audit can examine many years worth of tax records. An attorney will thoroughly assess the risk associated with your case and protect your interests. If you seek help quickly, the options available to you will usually be better.
What are my first steps after receiving an audit letter from the IRS?
After receiving an audit letter from the IRS, you should consult a Houston tax attorney as quickly as possible. If it is not dealt with in the proper manner you could receive additional interest and penalties. By asserting a strategic defense promptly you may be able to substantially reduce, or even avoid your liability.
How often do IRS audits lead to tax liability and penalties?
It’s hard to put a number on the amount of IRS audits that lead to tax liability and penalties. If there is evidence to suggest that there has been underpaid or underreported federal tax liability, or there is insufficient documentation to support your returns then you could be at risk
Can you fight an IRS audit?
As a taxpayer, you have the right to appeal your audit. You must file an official protest within 30 days of the date on the letter you received from the IRS. You will need to prepare your defense with your attorney, who will present your case and negotiate a solution.
How much does audit defense cost?
The cost of an audit defense will be highly dependent on the details and complexity of your case, and whether or not it needs to be negotiated in court. Contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC today and we can give you an idea of what defending your case could cost.
Can you go to jail for an IRS audit?
Although the IRS does not pursue criminal tax evasion charges for many people, the penalties for those who are guilty are harsh. They will be required to repay taxes with an expensive fraud penalty, and there will be a potential jail sentence of up to five years.
What happens if you are audited and found guilty?
If you are audited by the IRS and found guilty then consequences range from large fines to criminal charges, as well as a lot of paperwork.
What should I do if I know I have underreported or underpaid tax?
If you are aware that you underpaid or underreported your federal tax liability then you need to take great care when responding to your IRS audit. The IRS expects people to address filing mistakes and if you fail to do so it could worsen your penalties. The IRS offers voluntary disclosure options, but they are only available to you prior to when the IRS starts looking into your returns. You should seek advice from an attorney who can advise you on your particular case.
What if I can’t afford to pay what I owe the IRS?
If you can’t afford to pay what you owe the IRS, you should speak to an attorney who can assess what your options are. They may be able to reduce what you owe or help you negotiate a payment plan.
Speak with a Tax Audit Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing an audit or investigation from the IRS then you should contact Ronald A. Stearns Sr. as soon as possible.
As a taxpayer, you have certain rights that can protect you, however, many of your options have strict time constraints. Therefore, the sooner you speak to an attorney the better the outcome of your case could be. That being said, there is always something a skilled attorney can do to help.
Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC is a fierce advocate, with more than 26 years of experience and 100% dedication to tax law, he will strive to minimize your tax obligations and push back against the IRS to ensure you are treated fairly.
Contact Attorney Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. at 210-853-2135 today.
It could be the most important decision of your life.