Every taxpayer has a legal responsibility to accurately report and pay tax liabilities. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that the government loses billions to tax evasion and tax fraud. Given the sheer number of tax returns submitted in the U.S. each year, the chances of coming under investigation for tax crimes are minimal. However, there’s always a possibility that the investigative division of the IRS will decide to take a closer look at your tax returns. If this happens, you’ll need to find a lawyer near Columbus right away. Choose a federal criminal lawyer who has experience handling tax cases to represent your best interests.
Examples of Tax Crimes
Tax fraud is a willful act. This means that making a simple calculation error on your tax return should not necessarily lead to criminal allegations. Intentional misrepresentations; however, can lead to serious penalties. A criminal defense attorney may defend clients from allegations that they have wrongfully inflated their deductions or claimed deductions they were not eligible for. For example, an individual who must travel for business might be accused of reporting inaccurate mileage to reduce his or her tax liability. Personal purchases, such as computers and household furnishings, might be wrongfully deducted as business expenses . Or, a person may be accused of failing to report all of his or her income. For example, waiters are required to report their tips in addition to their wages. Pocketing cash tips without reporting them is one type of tax crime. Other examples include wrongfully claiming dependents, using a false Social Security number, and keeping two sets of financial books.
Penalties for Tax Crimes
If you’ve been accused of tax crimes, your defense attorney can let you know what the potential penalties are if you are convicted. These penalties depend on the specific charges against you. The judge may also consider the amount of the tax loss and the method you allegedly used to commit the offense. For example, the willful failure to file a tax return, supply information, or pay tax is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Conviction may result in up to one year behind bars and/or a fine of up to $100,000 for individuals or $200,000 for corporations.