A Federal Criminal Defense Attorney With Experience Fighting Illinois Tax Fraud Charges
In the United States, all individuals and businesses are required to file an annual tax return with the Internal Revenue Service which specifies income made for the year that is subject to tax liability. However, not all taxpayers play by the rules and decide to alter their tax returns in hopes of defrauding the government. Tax fraud or evasion is committed by an individual or business who willfully and intentionally lies or fabricates the information on their tax return in order to reduce the amount of money that will be subject to tax liability. Some common examples of behavior that may be considered tax fraud or evasion include:
- Claiming false deductions that you in fact are not entitled to,
- Not reporting income earned by yourself or a corporation in order to pocket more money, also known as underreporting income,
- Inappropriately claiming expenses as business when they are personal,
- Concealing assets,
- Filing a false return that is not yours,
- Not filing a tax return, among many others.
While tax fraud or evasion can be committed in a number of different ways, the distinguishing feature of tax fraud is the wrongdoers intention to defraud the government. Proving tax fraud or evasion can be a difficult task for the government because the government has the burden of proof to show that the taxpayer knowingly violated the tax code when they failed to report or chose to omit specific information. However, even if the failure to report is a careless mistake, it can result in a hefty penalty that gets added to your tax bill in the end.
Who Can Be Accused of Committing Tax Evasion and Tax Fraud?
Tax evasion or fraud is committed by the rich and famous as well as the everyday person who is trying to get by. National headlines have been made by a number of celebrities who have attempted to evade taxes and have since had to pay the government back. In Illinois, former Democratic Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.was charged with fraudulently obtaining three quarters of a million dollars of funds from his campaign while his wife was charged with covering up receipt of funds. Wesley Snipes was charged with failing to file a tax return for three consecutive years, adding up to $7 million dollars, while Willie Nelson was fined for more than $16 million in back taxes.
While the demographic does vary, the most common group of individuals who evade or defraud taxes include business owners or those who are self employed in a cash based business. Some of the most common employees known to intentionally evade or defraud the government include accountants, doctors, lawyers, as well as mechanics and those in the service industry. Thus, while an individual may think they can go undetected, if the government starts to suspect something, they will conduct an investigation, no matter your occupation.
What Are The Penalties For Tax Crimes in Illinois?
When the Internal Revenue Service suspects that tax evasion or fraud has occurred, they conduct an investigation through their Criminal Investigation Unit. If they find that you have evaded taxes or fraudulent filed taxes, you will be subject to punishment and penalties under Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code and Title 18 of the United States Code. According to the Internal Revenue Service, of the nearly 1200 cases that have been initiated, roughly 770 have been sentenced with an incarceration rate of 76%, meaning that if found guilty and handed down a sentence, there is an overwhelming chance that the wrongdoer will either serve time in a federal prison, halfway home, on home arrest or ant combination thereof.
Conviction under Title 18 of the United States Code can result in criminal penalties such as imprisonment of up to 5 years or fines of up to $250,000, depending on the conviction. 18 USC 371. Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code contains a number of titles under which an individual or corporation may be prosecuted, including:
- Attempt to evade or defeat tax, Section 7201;
- Willful failure to collect or pay over tax, Section 7202;
- Willful failure to file return, supply information, or pay tax, Section 7203;
- Providing false statements or fraud, Section 7206(2); and
- Attempts to interfere with administration of IRS, section 7212(A).
Dealing with the IRS?
Handling matters related to tax with the IRS can be a complex situation that requires the assistance of a seasoned professional. If you or someone you know needs assistance with their tax issue, we can discuss it today. Do not hesitate to contact the Offices of Sami Azhari, LLC, any time, day or night, weekday or weekend, to discuss your claim. Feel free to call Sami directly at (312) 626 – 2871 or (847) 255 – 2100. No commitment is required and the consultation is always free.