Tax fraud is a complex matter that has serious consequences, potentially including fines and jail time. If you are accused of tax fraud, a criminal attorney in California can walk you through the experience and help you clear your name.
Let’s shed light on some of the most common tax fraud mistakes that people make when filing their taxes.
What Is Tax Fraud?
Tax fraud is a form of fraud that involves intentionally filing false documents or otherwise misleading the Internal Revenue Service.
Like all types of fraud, tax fraud requires an individual to have intentionally misrepresented the facts to another person’s detriment. In the case of tax fraud, that generally means lying to the government about your income in an attempt to avoid paying the taxes you owe.
Tax fraud includes:
- Not filing tax returns
- Claiming residency in another state
- Not reporting all earned income
- Creating false documents that don’t accurately reflect income and expenses
- Not recording income and expenses
While there are some legitimate ways to reduce your tax liability, these methods never include deceit or falsified records.
Can You Accidentally Commit Tax Fraud?
The IRS defines tax fraud as an intentional act with the goal of avoiding paying the taxes you owe. Technically, tax fraud must be done intentionally with the goal to evade the taxes you rightfully owe. However, it’s still possible to accidentally violate tax laws and get yourself hit with tax fraud charges.
Acts such as omitting income, not disclosing assets, and claiming credits you aren’t entitled to are difficult to prove as accidental. It’s easier to attribute these mistakes to malice than to ignorance. LibertyBell Law’s defense attorneys can help you prove your innocence in court or even before your case makes it to trial.
Tax fraud is one of the most serious fraud crimes. It carries a potential penalty of up to $100,000 and three years in prison.
Tax evasion is a form of tax fraud that involves illegal means of concealing information and income from the IRS. One of the most important differences is that the burden of proof is on the IRS in this situation.
Tax negligence, on the other hand, is when a person makes an unintentional mistake on tax forms or fails to keep clear, reliable records. Just claiming ignorance doesn’t let you off the hook for major errors, but it comes with a lesser penalty, such as fines and interest due.
Common Tax Fraud Mistakes That Can Land You in Trouble
Many people make these tax fraud mistakes every year. Whether or not you intend to commit fraud, these mistakes can create legal issues that cost you lots of time and money.
Whether you do your taxes yourself or hire someone else to do them, you could end up with these very common mistakes in your tax documents.
Expert criminal defense lawyers have years of experience defending their clients both in and out of court. They will collect evidence, argue on your behalf, and even prepare you for trial if necessary. A lawyer has the resources you need to enjoy a positive outcome for your case.
1. Filing an Incomplete or Inaccurate Return
Tax documents can be confusing, especially to anyone who doesn’t deal with them regularly. That’s why it’s important to work with an expert or reliable tax software when filing taxes.
There are many different tax forms for different types of income, tax credits, and more. Omitting information or essential forms could mean that you don’t end up paying all the taxes you owe.
Making mistakes on the forms you include or the information you fill out could raise eyebrows and lead to an auditing situation. Working with a professional helps you avoid minor errors that could cause an audit and legal strife later on.
2. Claiming the Wrong Credits or Deductions
If you don’t read carefully enough, you could believe you are eligible for credits and deductions that don’t apply to you.
For example, if you try to claim a personal purchase as something essential for your business, it could lead to fraud charges later down the line. Although it may be tempting to fudge the details, especially if you are a business owner, these minor inaccuracies can add up to a serious problem.
In some situations, this may actually be a case of tax preparer fraud. This means that your accountant has given you false information and taken tax credits or deductions that don’t apply to your situation. If you find yourself a victim of fraud that makes you look like you broke the law, get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
3. Unreported Income
Failing to report all your income is another major concern. Although this may seem like a huge oversight, this problem is more common than you think. Some streams of income are difficult to track, which can cause issues when tax season rolls around. Cash income is notoriously hard to track.
Employees who receive tips, for example, may not always track them consistently. However, the IRS can generally tell when you are leaving significant amounts of tip income out of your documents.
Failing to report large chunks of income can count as tax evasion in the eyes of the IRS. This is a common concern for our clients, and many of them don’t realize it’s a problem until they are facing audits or tax fraud charges.
Get Reliable Legal Representation at LibertyBell Law
LibertyBell Law is a trusted law office that has built up its reputation over many years. We pride ourselves on our excellent track record of helping clients avoid sentencing. In many situations, we can get charges dropped and cases dismissed. We offer legal advice every step of the way, from the start of the case to the finish.
Finding a criminal attorney in California will help you stay on track as you deal with the criminal justice system.
Contact us today to discuss your tax fraud concerns and schedule a free consultation with a legal expert! We will give you an honest assessment of your situation and discuss how our legal team can help.
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Executive Managing Attorney Gina Tennen is a renowned leading advocate of personal liberties. Her meticulous trial preparation and exceptional ability to pursue every possible defense has earned her the admiration of clients and respect from prosecutors, judges, and other criminal attorneys all over the nation.
Lawyer Tennen began her career as a Senior Law Clerk for one of the toughest District Attorney’s offices in the country where she gained remarkable experience in juvenile crimes, elder abuse, parole hearings, child abuse, sex and other serious crimes. Her experience at the District Attorney’s Office armed her knowledge and case strategy in exploiting the other side’s weaknesses for the client’s advantage and building a rock solid defense. Criminal attorney Tennen’s experience on both sides and brilliant maneuvering throughout is evidenced in her winning track record. In fact, even before earning her law degree, she was instrumental in getting excellent results on several criminal cases outshining her peers.
A consummate strategist and top criminal attorney, lawyer Tennen works tirelessly on many high profile criminal cases. She is known as a relentless fighter who never gives up on any case. Whether the case is hers or handled by another criminal defense attorney from LibertyBell Law Group, no matter how small the case may seem she asserts that every client deserves the right to the best legal representation.
It is her deep belief and what she has built her entire career and lifelong dedication to that there is always hope for every client and every avenue should be pursued regardless of the time and energy it takes. For criminal attorney, Gina Tennen, devoting the finest criminal defense for clients is a habit and talent that you must apply and do all the time.
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I hired this law firm in 2014 for my son who was facing 16 years in prison for a felony robbery. Lina Helou answered all our questions. I was extremely distraught regarding what my son was facing but Lina comforted me and told me that it would be okay. And thank goodness LibertyBell saved my son from going to jail and they were able to obtain only 3 years of probation. I could not have hired a better law firm for my son and if you want the best defense call LibertyBell Law Group. Thank God for this great group of lawyers.– V. J.
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My father had found this group through his company and coworkers. I was assigned Gina Tennen and I cannot explain in just a review on how gratefull I am to be working with her. My case was an accusation of unlawful sex. This had looked extremely bad on my part since I was in a fraternity and she was in a sorority. During these times with Greek life, there are too many bad stigmas surrounding these organizations. Gina had believed in me and knew that I was innocent and that these accusations just were not true. She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence. I totally recommend this law group because they are willing to put in the work to help your situation.– C. D.
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When I first heard I was under a criminal investigation, I initially thought I would try and resolve this in the best way possible, without legal representation, as we were all interested in a "just" outcome. I quickly discovered that was not the case and contacted Gina at Liberty Bell. She clearly described the expectations and the choices available to me. She was always available to me, and when I called, if she couldn't talk with me at that time, she would quickly get back to me. Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding. Her fee's were stipulated up front, as well as what those fees covered and what they did not.– S. B.
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