What Is Tax Evasion?
Filing taxes is something that all US citizens and legal permanent residents are required to do every year. This is usually done by filling out appropriate tax forms and submitting them to the IRS on your own or by using a tax preparer or accountant. If you don't file the correct amount of taxes or if you don't pay what you owe, then you can be charged with federal criminal charges for tax evasion. Tax evasion is a type of white-collar crime that is often related to fraud. It's not as dangerous as other crimes, but it can still lead to jail time. If you are facing allegations of tax evasion in New Jersey, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney.
What Are the Different Types of Federal Tax Evasion?
The Internal Revenue Code (section 7201) is the section of the law that covers federal tax evasion. There are two main offenses that can happen under this section:
- Trying to avoid paying taxes
- Trying not to pay taxes that have already been assessed.
A successful prosecution for the avoidance of paying taxes requires that the United States Attorney show that:
- The individual charged took specific action to avoid paying owed taxes
- The individual still owes taxes that must be paid
- That the individual took these actions purposely
The main issue in tax evasion cases is that the individual purposely tried to deceive the IRS. Most commonly, the way people try to deceive IRS is by filing a false tax return.
There are three main ways that federal tax evasion is charged under federal law: hiding what you owe, hiding money to pay taxes, and hiding someone else's taxes. Hiding what you owe involves you doing something to make it look like you don't have to pay as much tax as you actually do. Most people do this by filing a false tax return. Hiding money to pay taxes is when you hide money so you can use it to pay the taxes that you already owe to the federal government. Hiding someone else's taxes is when you help someone else lie to the government about all of the income that he or she made so they don't have to pay as much tax.
You can be charged with evading taxes if it is alleged that you hid money specifically to avoid paying taxes. However, not paying your taxes because you don't have the money is not a criminal offense. To evade another person's tax liability, you must have allegedly helped that person avoid their true tax liability through illegal activity. This occurs when a tax preparer or accountant helps someone submit a false tax return to the IRS.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Tax Evasion?
You can be criminally convicted for tax evasion if you are an individual or a corporation under federal law pursuant to 26 USC § 7201. If you are an individual, you can go to prison for up to 5 years and be fined $100,000. If a corporation is involved, the court can fine the company 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. Any convictions for tax evasion are not eligible for expungement as no federal statute exists allowing federal expungements.
What Are Some Defenses to Tax Evasion?
There are several defenses that can be used if you are charged with federal tax evasion. The prosecutor has to prove that you had the intent to evade your taxes. This can be shown with evidence showing you are making a mistake or not paying attention. If this is the case, then you didn't intend to break the law. Other defenses include a lack of evidence, Constitutional violations by the government in obtaining evidence, or if the forensic accounting conducted by the government was wrong. To best determine what type of defense is most appropriate in your case, it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney who has experience with federal cases. Each defense is appropriate depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
If you are a New Jersey resident, then all federal cases are processed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. All federal criminal trials arising in New Jersey take place in this court. Decisions made by this court can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Any appeals from the Federal Circuit Court go to the United States Supreme Court.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are facing federal criminal charges, then having an experienced attorney on your side can help you in several ways, including assessing your case to determine its strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this will help you determine what your next best steps are, whether to fight the case at trial or work out an appropriate deal. Before you make your decision, make sure that you fully understand the allegations against you and what evidence the prosecution has. 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 in New Jersey, 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.