While most people associate economic crime with embezzlement or the use of inside information, in reality some of the most common offenses involve tax fraud. Unfortunately, it is not that difficult to commit tax fraud unintentionally, which can lead to prosecution for a crime that the defendant did not even know he was committing. To help you navigate this complex area of law, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest differences between tax fraud and negligence. However, this list is not exhaustive, so if you are concerned that you have committed tax fraud, it is important that you speak to an experienced white collar crime attorney who can evaluate your case.
What qualifies as income tax fraud?
Income tax fraud involves the deliberate attempt to defraud the IRS or evade the tax law and can be committed by both individuals and companies. Some of the most common examples of tax fraud include:
- Not intentionally filing a tax return
- Intentional failure to pay the tax debt
- Hide, transfer or not report income
- Exaggerating deductions and exemptions
- Documents forgery
- Claiming personal expenses as business expenses
- False claims
- Filing false tax returns
The difference between tax fraud and mere negligence is a fine one, which means that many innocent people are accused of fraudulent tax-related activities. Also, even if an auditor or other tax official finds that a taxpayer was not trying to defraud the government, but negligently made a mistake in the documentation, the IRS can still fine the individual with 20 percent of the appropriate amount.
The Treasury Department (IRS) has identified certain types of businesses or individuals that are more likely to commit tax fraud:
- Workers who get paid
- Self-employed taxpayers
- Restaurant owners
- Car dealers
Because the IRS looks so closely at these industries, it is especially important for those to be careful when filing their taxes. Failure to do so could result in allegations of tax fraud, followed by criminal penalties, fines and periods of incarceration.
The penalty that a defendant faces for tax fraud largely depends on the crime he or she is accused of committing. For example, trying to avoid paying taxes is a serious crime and as such is punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of $ 250,000 if the defendant is an individual, although corporations must pay a fine steepest of $ 500,000. Filing a false tax return is punishable by three years in prison, while deliberately not filing a tax return, providing information to the IRS, or paying taxes on time is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a prison sentence of one year. year and a fine of $ 100,000 for individuals or $ 200,000 for companies.
Contact us today to speak to an economic crime attorney.
Contact us at (305) 670-9919 today to schedule a free evaluation of your case with a white collar crime attorney, Jeffrey S. Weiner, PA Criminal Defense Attorneys. Our Miami legal team is ready to assist you immediately.