Tax evasion is a serious crime with serious consequences. A conviction will change your life forever, as you’re likely to get hit with a large fine and possibly time in prison.
This crime occurs if you willfully attempt to evade tax authorities in an attempt to avoid paying taxes. It’s often easy to believe that you can pull one over on the IRS or a state agency, but they have safeguards in place to protect against this.
How to defend yourself
Should you learn that you’re under investigation for tax evasion, it’s critical that you take the steps necessary to protect your legal rights.
Here are some of the most common defense strategies for this serious white collar crime:
- Lack of evidence: The court must be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you intentionally committed a crime. This defense strategy forces the prosecution to provide evidence to back up its claim of tax evasion.
- Lack of willful fraud: There’s a big difference between making a mistake on your tax return and a serious crime, such as tax evasion. For example, if you file your income taxes without professional assistance, it’s common to make errors, such as underreporting your income. While this is a serious mistake that can cost you money, it doesn’t equate to a crime. It’s an honest mistake.
- You don’t owe additional money: Maybe it’s clear that you took steps to evade paying taxes. Even so, you may be able to defend yourself against serious criminal charges by proving that you don’t have any tax liability, such as the result of deductions and credits.
There’s nothing more stressful than finding out that the IRS is investigating you for a crime, such as tax evasion. In addition to the stress, you realize that your personal finances are now in the line of fire.
The biggest mistake you can make at this point is doing nothing and hoping for the best. This puts you at greater risk of a conviction, which can change your life forever. Take the time to settle on a tax evasion defense strategy that will help you protect your legal rights as a taxpayer.