Anyone can be charged with tax evasion, and as anyone who has been investigated for the crime will tell you, when the IRS investigates you, it’s a frightening experience. Agents will inspect your tax returns line by line. They will also turn up at your home or office and interrogate you about every detail of your income and expenses. You will need a Pittsburgh tax evasion lawyer beside you who is an expert in tax law and who will stand up for you against the IRS.
Federal Tax Evasion Facts
Federal law states that you must pay the taxes that your form says you must. Failure to do so is a crime. This applies to individuals and trusts, as well as corporations.
The following activities are illegal:
- Not paying taxes that you owe to the government
- Under-reporting your income (filing a false tax return)
- Declaring less profit and gains than really earned
- Overstate deductions
- Claiming false deductions
- Filing false documents
- Creating false tax shelters
- Not paying withholding taxes
- Laundering money
It is important to note that the government does differentiate between making an honest mistake and committing tax fraud. Auditors will look for deliberate and willful wrongdoing rather than carelessness or math errors. Specifically, they will look for things like concealing your assets or under-reporting your income.
In most cases, if the IRS audits you, they are only looking to collect the back taxes you owe, plus interest and penalties. If, however, they decide that you have evaded your tax obligation, they will do one of two things: impose a large fine, or hand you over to criminal investigators. You should consult a tax evasion attorney in Pittsburgh without delay in these circumstances.
If you are being investigated by the federal government for another crime, they will generally investigate your tax records, as well. They will look to see if your expenses far exceed your income. If they find this to be so, they will take it as a clue that your income has been derived at least in part from illegal sources, and add tax evasion to their list of charges against you.
If you receive a tax fraud conviction, you could be sentenced to up to 5 years in a federal prison and/or be required to pay a fine of up to $100,000 (fines for a corporation can be up to $500,000.) You will also be required to pay court costs for each individual tax crime.
Defenses for Tax Evasion
Though being accused of tax evasion is frightening, with a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney by your side, one who has been trained in tax law and defense, there are avenues of assistance for your case. Your lawyer will do his best to prove that you made a simple, honest mistake. He will show the judge and jury that you did not intend to avoid paying your taxes, but that you misinterpreted the incredibly complex tax laws or didn’t know the part of the law that you’re being accused of violating, or that you made a simple math mistake.
United States Code
If you wish to learn more about federal criminal offenses, they are defined in the United States Code.