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Be wary about tax refunds that are unexpectedly large

Simply because you receive a refund check does not guarantee you are safe from any audit. The IRS reserves the right to audit the majority of returns for up to three years.

The IRS often sends a tax refund before approving the payment. Any processing of a refund check usually will occur prior to any federal tax audit determination. So in the event you mistakenly receive a tax refund, it is possible that you will have to pay that money back with interest.

It is therefore important for Michigan taxpayers to be cautious whenever anything seems out of the ordinary pertaining to a tax refund. For example, receipt of a refund that seems too large could mean that you will receive a notice explaining what occurred in a few days. Under such a circumstance, you may want to delay cashing the check until you receive this notice.

On the other hand, if you receive a refund that was smaller than what you requested on your returns, you should also receive an explanation regarding the difference in a few days. A smaller refund could be due to a mistake in math, a tax penalty or some sort of exemption mistake.

Remember that reporting errors can result in audits. An audit can also mean you will be subject to wage garnishments and liens. Under the worst possible circumstances, cashing a refund check that is too large and then spending the proceeds could result in jail time. That is something we all wish to avoid.

If you have questions regarding a refund, you may wish to speak to an experienced tax lawyer before taking any action. Such a professional can provide you guidance regarding what actions to take.

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