Tax evasion stories aren't covered in the news very often but the IRS still aggressively pursues tax cheats, particularly those who are accused of serious crimes such as filing a false return. It's wise for all taxpayers to learn about the procedure and the possible penalties that come along with being prosecuted for tax fraud. Finding out how seriously the agency views these matters serves as a real deterrent against skimping on income tax forms.
Be Careful Who You Speak To
If you're ever investigated by the IRS for possible tax crimes, it's essential that you never speak to any of the agency's representatives. If you owe a tax debt, communication with the IRS is usually helpful, since you can negotiate a possible settlement. In case of a criminal tax investigation, though, the IRS is not interested in assisting you to pay off your balance. The agency's main goal is to gather evidence of your crimes and use it against you during the trial.
If you speak to an IRS agent on your own, the agent can use anything you said in the conversation as evidence to prove the agency's claim. Simply agreeing that you owe a debt or that you neglected to file a return can sink your case. It's also important to know that, if you have been working with a certified public accountant, you do not have any type of privilege to cover your communication. This means that your accountant can also be called as a witness against you during the trial.
Tax Perjury vs. Tax Evasion
You can be convicted of tax perjury simply by filing incomplete or incorrect information, even if it was unintentional. Tax evasion, though, is a far more serious charge. In this case, the IRS believes that you deliberately filed an incorrect tax return in order to avoid paying your rightful amount of income tax. Taxpayers who are found guilty of tax evasion often face stiff penalties, including fines and federal prison time.
The best way to handle your criminal tax defense during a tax investigation is to hire an experienced, qualified tax defense attorney who is familiar with both IRS tax law and your specific situation. He or she can give you both legal and financial advice that will help you navigate through the trial.
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