Pittsburgh Tax Fraud and Evasion Lawyers
Knowingly failing to pay your taxes is a federal crime. Making an honest mistake on your taxes is not. Having an attorney who can help highlight the differences between these two is, therefore, a necessity.
Our team of criminal defense attorneys understands the nuanced arguments that arise in tax evasion defense cases, perhaps more so than most other lawyers in Pennsylvania. This is due to each of our lawyer’s past experience working as a prosecutor. The first-hand knowledge of what the prosecution must prove, the arguments it must put forth, and the supporting evidence it must identify is key to developing strong defenses on behalf of our clients.
Two Separate Lawsuits for Any Tax Evasion Charge
Did you know that a tax evasion charge from the IRS can actually bring about two separate lawsuits? First, tax evasion charges will lead you to criminal court, where you will face the potential conviction for federal fraud – a felony. A conviction could result in up to five years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines for individuals and $500,000 fines for corporations.
Additionally, tax evasion charges can also lead you to civil court, where the IRS may pursue a claim for civil tax fraud. A conviction in civil court could lead to expensive civil fines as restitution for defrauding the IRS.
Understanding Tax Fraud & The Possible Criminal Charges
The U.S. Tax Code is notoriously confusing and is amended every year. Many taxpayers are not entirely clear on what would exactly constitute tax fraud or evasion. Unless you are trained as an accountant or other kind of tax professional, it is highly likely that mistakes could be made on your tax return. It is not uncommon for these kind of mistakes to result in an underpayment of taxes due.
What Is Tax Fraud Or Tax Evasion?
A simple mistake or mistakes on a tax return does not automatically equate to tax fraud. If the mistakes are discovered, the result is generally that the tax paying entity must the difference in tax owed and may also be required to pay a fine.
What The IRS Is Looking For
Tax fraud or tax evasion is the practice of purposefully underpaying taxes owed. Either may be committed by individuals or companies. When examining tax filings for cases of fraud, IRS agents are looking to prove that there was a deliberate attempt made by the filer to under represent and subsequently underpay taxes owed to the government.
Tax fraud or evasion can take many forms. Some of the common red flags that IRS investigators are looking for are:
- Underreported Income
- Inflated Expenses
- Offshore Or Undeclared Foreign Bank Accounts
- Questionable or Excessive Deductions
- Questionable Charitable Donations
The Government Is A Serious Opponent In Tax Fraud Cases
If the IRS makes a determination of tax fraud or evasion, the resulting charges and penalties can be significant. Both are serious federal offenses that the government generally approaches with a special prosecutorial zeal. A conviction in a tax fraud or evasion case can often result in expensive fines and a potentially lengthy prison term.
Business and Corporate Tax Evasion
The government never takes kindly to a business’s failure to pay its taxes. The IRS will pursue tax evasion claims in instances where it has reason to believe the corporation has defrauded the government. Common claims involve:
- Multi-level pyramid schemes that involve using employee-paid taxes for corporate purposes
- A corporate executive’s use of company funds for personal purposes
- A corporate accounting firm purposely underreporting its clients’ taxable income
- A sole business owner representing every expense in a calendar year as a business expense
No matter what type of tax fraud claim your company faces, waste no time in seeking the dedicated defense that our Pittsburgh lawyers can provide.