It is often said that the only inevitable things in life are death and taxes. For any number of reasons, however, people in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, may not pay their state or federal taxes. At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, we understand that what might have been a minor oversight or misunderstanding could lead to tax evasion charges. In this post, we will discuss possible defenses to these potentially serious criminal allegations.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, there are two general types of tax evasion. You may be charged with this offense if it is alleged that you deliberately attempted to “evade or defeat the payment of a tax.” If, for example, if you understate your income in order to avoid being held liable for your full tax liability, it may constitute an attempt to evade assessment. By the same token, you may face tax evasion charges if you are accused of intentionally attempting to escape paying a tax.
In order to obtain a conviction on tax evasion charges, the prosecution must generally prove that you knowingly and purposely took steps to evade your taxes. Therefore, it may do to claim that you simply forgot to file. Likewise, you may argue that you mistakenly did not file. For example, you meant to file, but you mistook the filing date. In this situation, you may not be held criminally responsible for neglecting to file your taxes. You may also claim that you were unaware that you had made a mistake in your filing.
As is the case with other criminal offenses, there is a strict statute of limitations on tax evasion charges. In these types of cases, charges must be filed within six years of when the incident occurred. Thus, the IRS cannot legally file charges against you if that time period has expired, regardless of the evidence it has against you.
For more information about dealing with this type of alleged fraudulent activity, please visit our white collar crimes page.