For Pennsylvania individual taxpayers and businesses alike, January is a time of important preparation for filing tax returns. If these preparations are not done properly and in compliance with the law, a taxpayer can face fines for underpayment or late filings. Severe violations can even result in criminal charges for tax evasion.
With effective preparation during tax season, filings can be made thorough and accurate prior to being submitted to federal or state tax officials. This can avoid significant fines and penalties in the future, not to mention the stress of an audit or criminal investigation. If authorities do initiate a criminal investigation, you should know that as a taxpayer, you have important constitutional rights. A Scranton criminal defense attorney should be consulted as soon as possible after receiving notice of any type of IRS investigation. Allegations of tax evasion, improper accounting, underpayment, and other crimes can carry serious penalties which affect the taxpayer for years to come.
Preparing Now to Avoid Tax Problems in the Future
The services of a professional accountant, attorney, or other tax professional can be costly. But it is important for taxpayers to recognize this as an investment. Investing in professional tax advice and preparation can save significant time and expense during an audit. More importantly, it can save the taxpayer from fines for underpayment of taxes, or criminal penalties for tax evasion. The IRS reports that the conviction rate of cases referred for criminal investigation has remained steadily high over the past three years. The percent of defendants who were sent to prison was 79.6 percent in 2014, and stayed high at 80.8 percent in 2015 and 79.9 percent in 2016.
A tax professional can help your family or business avoid these unpleasant consequences by preparing and documenting thorough tax returns. Common tax crimes in the United States Code include:
- Attempting to evade or defeat a tax obligation.
- The willful failure to collect, account for, or pay over taxes to the government.
- The willful failure to pay an estimated tax, make a return, keep records, or supply information as required by tax law.
- Committing fraud or making false statements on tax documents, or willfully aiding or assisting another in committing fraud against the Internal Revenue Service.
- Attempting to intimidate or impede any officer or employee of the government acting in an official capacity under the Tax Code.
- Conspiring with another individual or individuals to defraud the United States or commit a crime against it.
With the professional advice of an experienced accountant, attorney, or tax preparer, your family or business can prepare a return that is honest and accurate and conforms to all legal requirements.
The consequences of inaccurate or misleading tax documents can be severe. Don’t face the IRS or Pennsylvania Department of Revenue alone. Seek the advice of a Scranton criminal defense attorney in order to protect your legal and financial rights. An attorney can help you determine how best to defend against claims of criminal tax conduct and mitigate the consequences of criminal charges.