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How tax audits work in Massachusetts

If you have recently inherited part of an estate, you may feel burdened with the prospect of filing your estate taxes for the first time. You might also be worried about the likelihood of an audit being done, and would like to be as prepared as possible. The good news is that as long as you follow the tax procedure in Massachusetts systematically and carefully, you have no reason to worry about a tax audit and its consequences.

It is highly unlikely that you will be selected for an audit if you have been consistent in the information that you have provided to the Department of Revenue (DOR). However, some tax returns are selected randomly, so being selected does not necessarily mean that you have done anything wrong in your return.

If you are selected for a tax audit, you will likely be asked to provide some additional information about your tax return. They may also state a problem with your return that you should respond to.

When an audit is conducted, it is usually done so for three years. If you do not return your taxes in adequate time, this may be changed to a six-year period instead.

The specific procedure will depend on which type of audit you are subject to. Desk audits are the simplest type of audits, but field audits involve a much more in-depth examination of all of your files.

Audits can be complex and require a high level of organization in order to prevent issues, penalties or fines. It is important to establish good reporting methods, especially if you have recently inherited an estate.

Source: Mass.gov, "Common questions about audits," accessed Oct. 13, 2017

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