Allegations of committing a white collar crime are nothing to brush off. Although these crimes are generally non-violent in nature, they can come with harsh criminal penalties. As a result, anyone charged with a white collar crime should take the charges seriously.
The first step is to have a better understanding of the charges. One common white collar crime is tax fraud. Anyone facing tax fraud charges can benefit from the following information.
What is tax fraud?
First, it is important to know exactly what tax fraud is. The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) defines fraud as any misrepresentation of material facts. Remaining silent when good faith would require that the person speak up and clarify the situation would qualify as a fraudulent behavior.
It is important to note that in order for fraud to occur, damage must be caused to the person who relies on the faulty information.
Fraudulent crimes are further broken down. One category is tax fraud. Tax fraud is defined as “an intentional wrongdoing, on the part of a taxpayer, with the specific purpose of evading known or believed to be owing. Tax fraud requires both: a tax due and owing; and fraudulent intent”
In order to establish that tax fraud occurred, both elements must be met.
What kind of penalties apply?
A tax fraud conviction can result in both criminal and civil penalties. Criminal penalties can include monetary fines and potential imprisonment. These penalties are designed to both punish the person accused of the crime as well as deter others from committing the same types of crimes.
Civil penalties can include assessing for the correct tax and imposing additional taxes. These penalties are designed to serve as an attempt to correct the wrongdoing done to the government.
What is the difference between avoidance and evasion?
Avoiding and evading taxes are two different things. The IRS notes that avoiding taxes is not generally viewed as a criminal offense. Legal means are available to reduce your tax obligations.
However, evading taxes is a criminal matter. Evasion encompasses steps taken to defeat taxes. This includes deceit or concealment. Examples include claiming deductions that you do not qualify for, falsely reporting your income or concealing assets.
What should I do if I am charged with tax evasion?
Anyone facing these allegations should take the charges seriously. Defenses are available. Contact an experienced financial crimes lawyer to discuss your options and better ensure your rights are protected.