Summary of Income Tax Fraud Laws and Penalties
The IRS takes income tax fraud and evasion crimes very seriously, which is no surprise when you consider that these offenses are essentially theft from the government. What might shock you are a few key points about tax fraud from the US Sentencing Commission:
- South Florida is among the top five districts for cases against tax evasion offenders.
- Almost two-thirds of all individuals convicted of tax fraud received prison as their sentence.
- The average term of incarceration for tax evasion is 16 months.
- More than 80 percent of those convicted for tax fraud had no prior criminal history.
Officials may have been lenient in extending Tax Day 2021 to May 17, but they do not hesitate to pursue individuals for violating the law. It is essential to retain a Fort Lauderdale income tax fraud attorney for help with your case, but some background information may be useful.
Overview of Federal Income Tax Fraud Laws: Officials are not looking to punish someone for an innocent mistake or clerical error in filing their income tax return. However, they aggressively pursue those who make false statements or engage in intentional misconduct in attempts to the two most common schemes:
- Decreasing the taxpayer’s income tax liability; or,
- Increasing the amount a taxpayer may receive through a refund.
Examples of Tax Fraud: There are multiple ways to achieve the two tax evasion schemes described above, but the primary element of the crime involves the tax documents. When you submit them electronically or through signed hard copies, you are making statements under oath. You could be investigated and charged for:
- Not reporting all sources of income;
- Underreporting income amounts;
- Including false statements with respect to deductions;
- Claiming false exemptions and
- Failing to file a tax return as required by law; and,
- Utilizing offshore tax shelters to evade US tax laws.
Harsh Penalties for Income Tax Evasion: Punishment for an income tax fraud conviction varies depending upon the specifics of the offense. You could face felony charges for attempting to evade tax laws or making false statements in connection with a tax return. A conviction could lead to 3-5 years imprisonment, plus a maximum fine up to $250,000. The willful refusal to file a return or pay taxes when due is a misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail and a fine up to $100,000.
However, sentencing guidelines and regulations on mandatory minimums may also apply. Prison time could be increased for using sophisticated strategies to commit tax fraud, abusing a position of trust, or taking a lead role in the scheme.
Contact a Florida Income Tax Fraud Defense Lawyer Right Away
If you are being investigated or were recently arrested on income tax fraud charges, time is of the essence to consult with skilled legal counsel. These cases are very different from other criminal matters, so there may be additional defenses and options for resolving the charges. To learn more, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances and develop a strategy for fighting fraud allegations.