Tax Day is here and people are scrambling to submit their returns to avoid the hefty penalties of not filing on time. However, tax-related issues could still plague people long after this deadline, especially for someone accused of tax evasion or fraud.
Failure to file tax returns is a serious federal offense that comes with serious penalties for a conviction. However, not all cases are the same. Some people may receive a more lenient penalty and an option to repay unpaid taxes. Other people, however, face aggressive prosecution and maximum penalties. Below, we explain some of the factors that can increase the likelihood of being in the latter group.
- There is a lot of money or time involved-The IRS is more likely to expend its massive resources prosecuting people who have not paid a significant amount of their taxes. While any amount owed to the IRS can trigger criminal charges, larger amounts can often lead to more serious charges.
- Failure to pay was blatant-Not understanding the incredibly complex tax code is not an excuse for failing to pay taxes. That said, people can and do make mistakes and bad decisions when it comes to paying taxes. However, if there is reason to believe that efforts to avoid paying taxes are blatant and extensive, it is more likely that the accused will face aggressive prosecution.
- Other illegal activity was involved-A person whose income comes from illegal activity or engages in other criminal pursuits to try and avoid paying taxes can be more likely to face serious charges. Committing crimes in conjunction with not paying taxes can mean additional allegations and additional federal agencies with an interest in seeking a conviction.
Even if your case does not involve these factors, you could still be at risk of facing federal charges and severe penalties so it is important to take all tax offense matters seriously. If you have concerns about such charges, it can be crucial to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can explain your rights as soon as possible.