What Is Tax Evasion
Every year all US citizens and legal permanent residents are required to file and pay appropriate federal taxes. People are expected to file their own taxes, often with the help of a tax preparer or accountant. If there are discrepancies in the amount of tax that is actually owed to the federal government, then the tax filer faces the potential of federal criminal charges for tax evasion. Tax evasion is considered a white-collar crime as it typically involves allegations of fraud and is not a violent or dangerous offense. If you are facing federal criminal charges for tax evasion, then it is critical that you speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.
What Are the Different Types of Federal Tax Evasion?
Section 7201 of the Internal Revenue Code is the section of the law that covers federal tax evasion. There are two main offenses that can happen under this section: 1) the willful attempt to evade the assessment of a tax, and 2) the willful attempt to evade the payment of a tax. To successfully prosecute someone for trying to avoid paying taxes, the prosecutor needs to show that: 1) the person did something to try and avoid paying taxes, 2) they still owe taxes that need to be paid, and 3) they did all of this on purpose. The main underlying issue in these cases is that the tax filer purposely did something to try to deceive the IRS. Filing a false tax return is the most common type of federal tax evasion charge.
There are three main ways that federal tax evasion is charged under federal law: evading a tax assessment, evading a tax payment, and evading another's tax liability. Evading an assessment involves an individual doing something to hide what his or her true tax liability is. Most commonly, this is achieved through filing a false tax return, as mentioned above. Evading a payment involves an individual doing something to hide money that can be used to pay a tax bill that is already owed. It must be proven that the individual did something to specifically hide money that would be used to pay an existing tax liability. Simply not paying your taxes because you don't have the money is not a criminal offense. Evading another's tax liability involves an individual doing something to help someone else avoid their proper tax liability. This crime can include a tax preparer or accountant if the facts show that the preparer or accountant acted to help the filer submit a false tax return.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Tax Evasion?
Both an individual and a corporation can be criminally convicted for tax evasion under 26 USC § 7201. If an individual is convicted of tax evasion under the federal statute, then he or she can be sentenced to up to five years in federal prison along with a fine of up to $100,000. If a corporation is involved, then a federal court can impose a fine of up to $500,000. The court can also order the costs of the prosecution to be paid by the defendant after a conviction. Federal criminal sentencing guidelines are used by the court to help determine an appropriate sentence upon conviction. Neither of these charges can be expunged under current federal law.
What Are Some Defenses to Tax Evasion?
There are several potential defenses that exist to a charge of federal tax evasion. The main criminal element that a federal prosecutor must prove to secure a conviction is intent. A US attorney must demonstrate that you had an intent to evade your taxes or an intent to help someone else evade their taxes. A defense of mistake or inattentiveness can be used to show that there was no criminal intent. Other defenses can include a lack of evidence, Constitutional violations by the government in obtaining evidence, or if the forensic accounting conducted by the government was inaccurate. These are just some of the defenses that can be used to defend you against a federal charge of tax evasion. To best determine what type of defense is most appropriate in your case, it is important that you have your case assessed by a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney, as different defenses are appropriate depending on the facts and circumstances.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
If you live in central or eastern Pennsylvania, then your federal criminal case will either be heard in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania or the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Any appeals made in these courts go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The only court that is higher than a federal circuit court in the federal system is the United States Supreme Court.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, then having an experienced attorney on your side can help you in several ways. An attorney can assess your case and help you understand its strengths and weaknesses and further help you determine if it is best to take the case to trial or potentially work out a resolution. Before you decide what to do, it is important to fully understand the allegations and what evidence exists against you. If you have questions, then call us at Lento Law today.
Why Hiring Lento Law Is the Right Choice
If you are being investigated or prosecuted for tax evasion, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney immediately. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring Lento Law is the right choice to help defend your federal criminal case.