Some organizations and individuals fail to follow the standard procedure of remitting their taxes to the government. But did you know that if you knowingly fail to pay your taxes, you will be committing a federal crime under the US income tax laws? On the other hand, making an honest mistake while filing your taxes isn’t a crime. Having an experienced tax fraud lawyer to handle your case can help in highlighting the differences between the two incidences.
It is a serious offense to flaunt any laws and rules that are institutionalized for the proper functioning of the government. In legal circles, these crimes are referred to as white collar crimes since they mostly involve civilized citizens who have no history of committing crimes.
What constitutes tax fraud?
The U.S tax code is notoriously confusing. These laws are amended almost every year, and therefore it is hard for many taxpayers to know exactly what constitutes tax fraud or evasion. It’s not uncommon to make mistakes while filing your taxes unless you work with a trained accountant or any other tax professional.
Generally, the term tax fraud is used to refer to a variety of offenses such as non-filling of tax returns, tax evasion, non-declaration of assets and income, forgery, and falsification of conditions for tax exemption, amongst others.
What the IRS agents are looking for
Remember that both individuals and companies may commit tax fraud offense. The work of the IRS Criminal Investigation CI is to prove that there was a deliberate attempt by the taxpayer to under-represent and consequently underpay the taxes as required by the law. As highlighted earlier, tax fraud offenses can take many forms, and the IRS will be investigating the following:
• Inflated expenses
• Under-reported income
• Undeclared or offshore bank accounts
• Dubious or excessive deductions
• Dubious charitable donations
• Concealment of assets
• Engaging or attempting to conceal illegal activities
• Failing to cooperate with tax authorities.
Once the IRS investigators find out that you have committed any of the above offenses, you might end up paying huge fines and penalties. Tax fraud is a serious federal offense, and the government is always ready to flex its muscles with a special prosecutorial determination. If you are found guilty, you might end up paying huge fines and a potentially lengthy prison term.
What if I was misguided by a tax consultant?
Most of the tax fraud cases result from inadequate or incorrect knowledge of the U.S tax code. In other instances, tax consultants misguide their clients, with the hope of evading tax, but they end up in the hands of IRS investigators. If a Pennsylvania tax fraud lawyer proves that you are an innocent victim of wrong tax advice by your tax consultant, you might have your charges dropped or even get a lenient sentence.
Who commits tax fraud in Pennsylvania?
According to IRS, there are only a few (usually less than one percent) of tax crime convictions that occur every year. IRS also estimates that individuals commit the majority of the income tax fraud offenses rather than corporations.
Most of the people in the self-employment sector and service workers commit most of these crimes since it’s easy to underreport cash income. According to IRS, salespeople, car dealers, store owners, hairdressers, doctors, accountants, lawyers, mechanics, and restaurant owners are among the top offenders.
Penalties of tax fraud offenses
Anyone who knowingly attempts to evade paying what they owe to the government is subject to civil and criminal penalties. The type of fraud will determine the applicable sentence. For instance, a taxpayer charged with knowingly failing to pay their income taxes could face either a fine of $500,000 for corporations and $250,000 for individuals or five years in prison or both.
Getting help for tax fraud charges in Pennsylvania
Whether you have been caught up with fraud or negligence, failing to pay income taxes can present a lot of problems for you. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to explore the services of an experienced tax fraud lawyer in Pennsylvania to examine your case and learn about the available options.
Of all of Al Capone’s crimes, tax evasion is what ultimately put him in prison. The IRS relentlessly pursues tax crimes of all kinds, even minor ones. If you live in Pennsylvania and have been accused of this crime, your first step should be to get an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has experience in tax evasion.
What Is Tax Evasion?
Tax evasion is a crime in which people take purposeful action to avoid paying their full share of taxes. You may be charged by the IRS, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, or both.
There are several ways that a person may be charged with this crime. Some people conspire to avoid taxes, but the case is often more complicated than that. Most people will take every deduction and tax shelter possible, but this can lead to an investigation and charges if tax agencies decide you were too generous. In addition, a math error that reduces your taxes may been seen as an intentional act. Last, failure to claim income or assets, even if you simply forgot to do so, can lead to a charge of tax fraud.
Most people do not realize they have made a mistake until they get a letter from the IRS or the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. This is followed quickly by an audit, an investigation, depositions, and at times a court trial. What you say and hand over throughout this process will affect the case against you. It is important to have a lawyer by your side throughout the process.
Penalties for Tax Evasion
The penalties for tax evasion can be severe. Federal tax evasion is a felony. People convicted of this offense must pay back all unremitted taxes with interest and late fees. They also may be imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to $250,000. In addition, the government may seize assets that they believe were bought with the money from illegal enterprise or proceeds from tax evasion.
There are additional penalties if you are charged by the state of Pennsylvania. The defendant may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and can be sentenced to pay a fine of no more than $1,000 plus the costs of prosecution. The defendant may also be imprisoned for up to three years. This may be in addition to the fine or in place of the fine, or both.
IRS prosecutors argue for maximum penalties on almost every case. There will be no leniency. The only way to escape these consequences is to have an aggressive lawyer who will defend your innocence and pursue your best interests.
The Defense You Need and Deserve
It is important to mount the most powerful possible defense against these serious and life-changing allegations. An experienced lawyer can argue that you did not realize that you were paying too little taxes and that the evasion is actually a simple error. In addition, they can argue that the investigators did not respect your Constitutional rights when they collected evidence, which can lead to evidence being thrown out. Last, our team has forensic accountants that can show what really happened when you filed taxes and offer a reasonable doubt to the charges.
There are several ways to fight a tax evasion charge. However, all of them require experience in the field of tax law. The IRS will have a team of lawyers and experts on their side. You do not have a good chance of successfully fighting them alone.
If you or a loved one in Pennsylvania has received that fateful letter from a tax agency, contact our offices today. Our free consultation is your first step in defending your freedom and your financial stability from these charges.