Paying taxes is one of the necessary, but unwanted, tasks most adults have to do as a US citizen. Everyone is required to pay both federal income tax and state income tax, if applicable. Filing your taxes can be complicated and tax regulations change frequently so knowing how and when to file your taxes can be a challenge. If you do not file your taxes correctly, you could end up underpaying your taxes. Those who underpay or do not pay their taxes can face harsh prosecution and a charge of tax evasion. Tax evasion is one of the well-known "white-collar" crimes that are more common in California than you would think. Even the very wealthy have been convicted of tax evasion and in California; there is no shortage of rich and famous people who simply do not pay their taxes. The media doesn't let us forget about their mistakes and neither does the IRS. Several famously wealthy people have been convicted of tax evasion in recent years, resulting in jail sentences and substantial fines. Despite the common occurrence and the status as a white-collar crime, tax evasion in California is aggressively prosecuted and can result in harsh consequences.
Tax evasion can be either not paying your taxes or underpaying them. Ways to evade taxes include not reporting all your income on your tax return, lying about your state residency to avoid paying state income tax, providing false information on your returns or simply not filing your tax return. Lying on your return can include anything from falsifying your number of dependents, omitting unreported income or claiming deductions not permitted. California tax evasion laws apply to not just income tax, but other forms of tax as well, such as property tax or excise tax. California tax evasion laws are complex and the consequence of committing a tax evasion offense will vary greatly based on the circumstances of the case. If you are facing tax evasion charges, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to get an idea of what consequences you could face in your scenario. Typically, you can face jail time and large fines and penalties as a result of being convicted of tax evasion in California. To be convicted of tax evasion, the prosecution must prove you willingly and knowingly provided false information on a tax return or intentionally did not file a tax return, thus failing to fulfill your duty as a California resident to pay taxes. Most of us aren't tax experts and will probably make a mistake here or there on our taxes. Usually, upon auditing, the IRS will simply seek collection of the taxes you underpaid along with some minor administrative fines and penalties, with no criminal prosecution. You may be worried about making a mistake on your taxes and being charged with tax evasion. Making honest mistakes on your taxes is not tax evasion. If the IRS suspects tax evasion, not just tax mistakes, your case may be turned over to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and you could face criminal charges of tax evasion.
It is important to keep in mind the requirements for the prosecution to prove you committed tax evasion and convict you. You must have willingly and knowingly evading paying taxes. If you were not aware you were evading taxes, or did so mistakenly, you may have a good defense in court. It isn't always clear what counts as income for tax purposes and business ownership, family law matters or significant write-offs can result in serious, but innocent, mistakes. Tax evasion only occurs when the defendant underpaid or did not pay their taxes intentionally, knowing that they were committing a crime. They must have had intent to do so. Consult with a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case if you are facing tax evasion charges and feel they may be a mistake. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to help you fight tax evasion charges or assist you in negotiating a resolution with the IRS or the tax entity you underpaid to.
Are you facing tax evasion charges in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team. Experienced in criminal defense, our Visalia area legal team can ensure you are charged based on correct facts and will help you seek a negotiation with the IRS. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.