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

Factors contributing to alleged tax crimes often complex

When dealing with matters related to alleged tax crimes, officials at the Internal Revenue Service tend to view such matters as being black and white. In reality, however, most allegations related to tax crimes involve several shades of grey.

Those individuals facing criminal charges related to tax fraud or tax evasion often have legitimate reasons for their actions or failures to act. Some of these reasons are considered better and more legitimate than others. For example, an individual who claims he or she simply forgot to file a tax return or pay taxes won't likely receive much sympathy from the IRS.

There are, however, certain excuses that are generally regarded as being acceptable for why an individual may have failed to pay taxes or omitted certain information when filing a tax return. For example, those individuals who relied upon a third-party tax professional may be able to claim ignorance and therefore avoid criminal tax charges or penalties.

In criminal tax cases where a tax preparer is accused of carrying out criminal activity without the knowledge of an individual tax payer, certain criteria must be met. Additionally, tax payers who claim their use of and reliance on computer tax programs contributed to tax errors will need to produce sufficient evidence to support such claims.

In some cases, an individual's mental state or dependence on alcohol or drugs may be used as a defense in criminal tax cases. For example, an individual who suffers from bipolar disorder may claim their alleged criminal activities were committed during a period in which he or she was experiencing symptoms. In some cases, this defense has been effective in helping individuals both avoid penalties and time behind bars.

Individuals who are facing criminal charges related to tax crimes would be wise to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney. A legal professional who has experience handling and defending individuals facing tax crimes can provide advice and guidance and help provide for the best possible legal outcome.  

 

 

Source: Forbes, "Tax Excuses To Avoid Penalties, Or Even Jail," Robert W. Wood, Nov. 17, 2013

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