The criminal penalties for illegally failing to pay taxes, or tax evasion, can be severe. Federal tax evasion is a felony that carries a prison sentence of up to five years and fines up to $100,000 for those convicted.
Legal efforts to minimize taxes may be made, such as making charitable contributions, contributions to college savings and retirement plans and taking all available deductions for dependents, medical expenses. However, it is not legal to evade taxes by failing to report or inaccurately report income.
The IRS penalizes and prosecutes any person or entity it finds has illegally avoided paying the taxes owed. Approximately 3000 IRS agents are trained to collect information and detect tax evasion. These agents may review federal tax returns, issue a summons to access further financial data and seize or freeze cash, accounts and assets to collect financial information.
If the IRS conducts an audit and finds that tax evasion has occurred, it may levy tax liens, seize property, freeze accounts and garnish wages. Any money, property or other assets a taxpayer owns may be seized to repay the tax liability.
Other Tax Crimes and Penalties
Filing a False Return - In addition to tax evasion, a person may be charged with a felony for filing a false tax return. This is also known as tax fraud. There are stiff penalties for filing a false return including up to three years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. False return can mean anything from understating your income to overstating your deductions. If may include blatant offenses, such as fabricating non-existent dependents.
Failure to File - Failure to file a tax return is a misdemeanor offense, but still carries serious penalties. A person convicted of failing to file a federal tax return can be fined up to $25,000 for each year a return was not filed and sent to prison for a year.
Speak With a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are accused of tax evasion or another tax crime, it is important that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer and learn about the IRS and federal tax laws that may apply. Even if you are facing criminal charges, you still have criminal rights.
Ensure that your rights are protected. If you've been charged with a crime, know your criminal rights. These include the right to an attorney