Tax Evasion in Florida
In Florida, tax evasion is considered a serious crime and can have life-changing consequences, including possible jail time, so if you or a loved one are being investigated for tax evasion, it is critical to retain the services of an experienced Florida while collar crime attorney who can help protect your interests.
Types of Tax Evasion
Tax evasion is a subset of tax fraud and usually entails a purposeful act of misrepresentation on a person’s taxes. One of the most confusing aspects of tax evasion law is that it encompasses an array of federal offenses. For instance, a person can be charged with committing tax evasion if he or she:
- Fails to declare all of his or her income;
- Underreports his or her income;
- Conceals sources of taxable income;
- Provides incorrect tax return information, such as a false name or Social Security number;
- Fails to file tax returns;
- Fails to pay taxes;
- Incorrectly withholds information or funds; and
- Deliberately overstates expenses or deductions.
To convict someone for tax evasion, the prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- An unpaid tax liability exists;
- The taxpayer took affirmative action to avoid paying the tax; and
- The taxpayer intended to violate a legal duty.
If the government can establish these elements, someone convicted of even attempting to commit tax evasion may face:
- A fine of up to $100,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a corporation; and
- A prison sentence of up to five years.
A person who is found guilty of committing tax evasion will also be liable for the original income tax as well as the cost of prosecution.
The key to proving a tax evasion claim is establishing that an alleged offender deliberately attempted to avoid paying taxes. If a person can rebut this claim, he or she may be able to avoid wrongful conviction. To this end, a defendant can argue that:
- He or she did not intentionally defraud the government, but made a mistake as to the amount of taxes owed;
- There is insufficient evidence to establish his or her intent;
- The statute of limitations for bringing a charge has passed;
- He or she did not have sufficient knowledge of tax law to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); or
- He or she has a long record of complying with tax deadlines.
Contact an Experienced South Florida White Collar Crime Attorney Today
A conviction for tax evasion can have far-reaching consequences. Defendants may be required to pay thousands of dollars in fines and penalties and may even need to serve a prison sentence. Furthermore, because tax fraud is a felony, a tax evasion conviction will go on a defendant’s permanent record, which can make it much more difficult to obtain housing, employment, and education opportunities. Having the advice of an experienced attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of a tax fraud case, so if you live in south Florida and are being investigated for or charged with tax evasion, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 to schedule a free consultation.