Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.
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We all do things to save money. Whether it is by clipping coupons, budgeting or shopping sales, saving money is essential in all aspects in life. But there are certain areas where one is unable to save much money. Because we must all pay taxes, the only way to legally reduce this obligation is through deductions and tax credits. Unfortunately, taxes must be paid, even if money is tight. The failure to pay taxes could result in a tax evasion charge.

Tax evasion is a type of fraud that involves a taxpayer's willful underpayment of taxes or the act of concealing income earned from the IRS. Such a charge is not minor or treated as such. Those found guilty of this white collar crime could face fines and even jail time.

What is the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance? Legally speaking, tax evasion is different from tax avoidance. Tax avoidance is the legal act of taking certain steps to avoid paying your taxes. And if a person plays by the rules, he or she may not get in trouble for it. It is when certain lines are crossed, such as those that result in breaking the law in an effort to lower taxes, when a person can face a tax fraud charge.

Tax fraud occurs when a person willfully violates a tax code. This could occur in a variety of situations from concealing their income to filing a fake tax return in an effort to obtain another's tax return. Tax evasion, a subset of tax fraud, could include illegal measures taken to avoid paying taxes, such as hiding income from the IRS, overstating business expenses and even falsifying records as a means to claim larger deductions.

If a person lies on their tax return, pays less taxes and the IRS finds out, there is a good chance he or she could face criminal penalties. A person convicted of tax evasion could face up to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Even if a person is not convicted, he or she could face civil penalties. This penalty could be up to 75 percent of the taxes underpaid plus the original taxes owed in the first place.

Being accused of tax evasion is a serious situation and should be treated as such. If you believe you have been wrongfully charged with this white collar crime, it is important to understand your criminal defense rights. By collecting necessary evidence and asserting the proper defenses, a defendant could ultimately have the charges reduced or dismissed.

Source: Qctimes.com, "Just How Bad Do Tax Evasion Penalties Get?," Maurie Backman, April 3, 2017

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