Tax Evasion in Arizona and the Best Criminal Defense
Whether you’re unaware of laws or you committed tax evasion intentionally, this is an offense in Arizona and across the US. The only difference is that intentional tax evasion or tax fraud will be classified as a criminal offense. Tax evasion in Arizona is a white collar crime, which means it is non-violent. Still, the scope and the consequences of tax fraud could lead to rather severe punishments. Understanding what tax evasion is and choosing an experienced defense lawyer in the field will be of paramount importance.
The Definition of Tax Fraud in Arizona
The legal definition of tax evasion is intentionally avoiding the payment of fully-owed taxes. Usually, it will have to occur over a longer period of time, as well, to be considered a criminal offense. A few of the ways in which tax evasion in Arizona could occur include the following:
- Filing falsified tax returns
- Using false documents when filing tax returns
- Understating one’s income for the purpose of paying lower taxes
- Not collecting employment taxes
- Refraining from tax payment
- Concealing assets or income stemming from illegal activities
- A failure to make estimated tax payments
- A failure to cooperate with tax collection authorities
- Using a false social security number
- A failure to maintain any kind of financial record
Remember that all of these will have to be intentional. If any of the above occur, tax authorities will be prompted to carry out an investigation. Such an investigation could potentially reveal additional violations that will qualify as fraud and that may eventually lead to criminal charges.
IRS officials will not trigger this process if a simple mistake has occurred. Most people are guilty of committing such mistakes. A few of the most typical ones include claiming too many deductions, overlooking a smaller source of income, a failure to report investment income or committing a classification mistake when listing incomes and deductions. Such mistakes may eventually lead to penalties but the amount will usually be about 20 percent. The person who made the mistake is not going to face more serious charges.
Penalties for Fraud and Tax Evasion in Arizona
Tax-related crimes fall in three main categories – tax evasion, filing a false return and not filing a tax return at all.
In the case of tax evasion, a felony charge will be the most common outcome. The minimum punishment will be five years in prison and there’ll also be a fine that can reach up to 250,000 dollars for massive fraud.
Filing false returns will also result in a felony charge. The maximum sentence will be the same one as in the case of a tax evasion.
The final situation is one in which no tax return has been filed at all. In such an instance, criminal prosecution will not be pursued and the charge is going to be less severe. After the IRS issues a warning and the person still fails filing a tax return, a criminal charge may apply to the situation. The person will be charged with a misdemeanor and the maximum penalty will be one year in prison and a fine of 100,000 dollars.
Tax Evasion Defense Scenarios
Getting in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney will be important, even if you don’t think your offense is serious. A lawyer will take a look at the specifics of the situation and advise you about the best line of defense.
A common line of defense will be lack of knowledge. As already mentioned, an honest mistake will still lead to some penalty but the fine is going to be much less severe than the one stemming from a criminal offense.
An attorney may choose an alternative line of defense like proving that the claimed taxes aren’t really owed by the defendant, getting wrong advice from a tax professional and participation in the IRS voluntary disclosure program.