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Discrepancies on tax forms can lead to audits and fraud charges

We are in tax season yet again, and unless you are anticipating getting a refund, you likely will be dipping into your personal accounts to send the government some money. Of course, no one enjoys this process, but not paying what you owe can ultimately be more costly than if you simply write the check and get it over with.

You can prepare your tax return yourself or use a professional service, but however you get them done, you want all your calculations to be correct. If the IRS auditors suspect that you are not being forthcoming with the amount you owe, you could find yourself the subject of an audit.

There are many possible stumbling blocks that trip people up when preparing their returns. For example, most people base their tax returns on information found on W-2 forms, which are issued by employers. It is important to understand that your employer also submits a copy of this form to the IRS.

When you file your tax form, if there are any discrepancies between the information you provide and that which was provided by your employer, an automated-form matching program will flag your return. A flagged return will receive an audit.

But it's not just W-2s that subject to this scrutiny. If you are an independent contractor, freelancer or business owner, there are things on your return that could trigger an audit. Therefore, when doing your taxes, follow the instructions and go over your records carefully.

Tax codes are complicated and change with regularity. It can be all too easy to find yourself being investigated for suspicion of tax fraud. If this happens, you likely could benefit from having an experienced federal criminal defense attorney represent your interests.

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