Tax fraud is a serious criminal offense punishable by imprisonment and steep fines. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not take kindly or go easy on those who try to sidestep the system, so the penalties for tax fraud convictions are harsh.
If the IRS is investigating or you are already facing charges, seek counsel immediately to begin working on your defense. For a free consultation with a tax fraud attorney in St. Petersburg, call Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900.
What are some types of tax fraud?
Title 18 and Title 26 (the Internal Revenue Code) of the United States Code (USC) detail tax fraud laws. There are various different types of actions the IRS considers tax fraud or evasion, but the core of all tax fraud crimes is the taxpayer’s intent to defraud the government by not paying taxes.
Below are just a few of the activities that can merit tax fraud charges.
- Purposefully failing to file a tax return when it is required to do so [26 U.S.C. §§ 6651(a)(1), 7203]
- Making fraudulent statements on a tax return [26 U.S.C. § 7206(1)]
- Failing to report income [26 U.S.C. § 7203]
- Not keeping required tax records [26 U.S.C. § 7203]
- Intimidating an IRS officer [26 U.S.C. § 7212(a)]
- Altering or falsifying tax documents [26 U.S.C. § 7206(5)(B)]
- Failing to pay taxes [26 U.S.C. §§ 7203, 6651(a)(2) & (3)]
- Organized abusive tax schemes [18 U.S.C. § 371]
What are the penalties for tax fraud?
The exact penalties for tax fraud charges depend upon the nature of the crime and the amount of the funds in question. Courts may try the crime as a misdemeanor or felony. IRS tax fraud is generally punishable by civil penalties (fines), whereas USC violations usually mean criminal penalties (fines and imprisonment).
Below are the potential penalties for some of the most common types of tax fraud.
- Tax evasion – Five years imprisonment and/or $100,000 ($500,000 for a corporation) in fines [26 U.S.C. § 7201]
- Willful failure to file return, supply information, or pay tax – One year imprisonment and $25,000 ($100,000 for a corporation) in fines [26 U.S.C. § 7203]
- Failure to collect tax or pay over tax – Five years’ imprisonment and/or $10,000 in fines [26 U.S.C. § 7202]
- Fraud and false statements – Three years’ imprisonment and/or $100,000 ($500,000 for a corporation) in fines [26 U.S.C. § 7206]
How do I defend myself against tax fraud charges?
In order for the court to find you guilty of tax fraud, the IRS/prosecutor must show that you purposefully/knowingly committed fraud. In fact, most defense attorneys base their fraud defenses on the claim that the defendant did not know he was committing fraud.
If you are facing tax fraud charges in St. Petersburg, you need a defense attorney to defend your case. Call Goldman Wetzel and speak to an attorney who is well-versed in charges of this nature. Contact us today at 727-828-3900 and let us get started on your case so we can protect your best interests.