Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C.

Courts heavy-handed when it comes to criminal tax matters

With tax season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service is working overtime to both process and investigate tax records. If inconsistencies or other red flags alert the IRS, a tax payer may face an audit. In some cases, such audits can lead to fines and other penalties as well as potential criminal charges.

Individuals who are facing charges related to tax crimes would be wise to consult with a tax attorney. While an individual or small business owner may dismiss the charges as being related to an honest error or simple mistake, it's likely that investigators and attorneys at the IRS will not agree. Tax crimes are serious and often result in individuals paying sizable fines and facing time behind bars.

Some of the more common tax crimes include failing to file a tax return. Individuals found guilty of not filing a tax return could spend up to one year in prison and fines up to $100,000. Those who are charged with filing false or fraudulent tax refunds could spend 10 years in prison and be forced to pay fines in excess of $200,000. Additionally, charges related to both tax evasion and failure to pay taxes carry with them a prison sentence of up to five years and fines of $250,000.

In many cases, even individuals who admit to failing to pay taxes or filing false tax returns do not reap financial gains in excess of federal penalties. The above-referenced tax crimes penalties prove the importance of hiring a reputable and knowledgeable attorney. An attorney who is well-versed in criminal tax matters can help provide for the best possible legal outcome with regard to sentencing and fines.

Source: Times-News, "Tax crimes result in prison sentences, fines," April 4, 2013

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