The federal government relies on the collection of taxes to fund everything from education, to public health programs, to the military. Despite this, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) largely relies on private citizens and businesses to self-report and pay taxes. However, situations do arise where the IRS will investigate a party for a failure to pay their fair share of taxes. If this investigation reveals an apparent underpayment, criminal charges alleging tax evasion might follow, necessitating the need for an experienced tax lawyer.
A Washington DC tax evasion lawyer could help defend individuals and businesses against allegations of tax evasion. This might include disputing the concept of intent in the case or whether a defendant had a duty to pay taxes at all.
Consequences of a Failure to Pay Taxes
Every person or business in the United States that receives an income must pay taxes on that money. At least once a year, these parties must file a tax return and, in many situations, provide payment for all tax liabilities.
An apparent failure to provide these payments is a criminal offense. According to 26 U.S. Code § 7201, any overt act that a person takes with the intent of paying less than their share of taxes is a violation. These overt acts include making illegal deductions, underreporting income, or misleading an IRS investigation into the payment of taxes. These charges are serious felonies where a conviction can result in a maximum prison sentence of five years and/or the payment of up to $100,000 in fines. A Washington DC tax evasion attorney could provide more information about the criminal charges resulting from apparent nonpayment.
Defending Parties Facing Accusations of Tax Evasion
It is important to remember that the prosecutor in a criminal case always bears the burden of proving charges beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be especially difficult in tax evasion cases. A close reading of the tax evasion statute says that it is illegal to “willfully” attempt to evade paying taxes. This means that the prosecutor must show that a defendant took a step to intentionally avoid paying taxes. A local tax avoidance lawyer could help to fight back against allegations of taking an overt step towards not paying taxes.
In addition, it might be possible to contest the idea that a person had to pay taxes at all. Parties who make below a certain amount of income or businesses that do not make a profit do not have tax obligations. An error on the part of the IRS may result in an improper criminal investigation. A lawyer could help to craft a defense to criminal charges that is specific to each parties’ situation and needs.
Let a Washington DC Tax Evasion Attorney Take the Lead in the Case
Allegations that involve a failure to pay taxes are serious matters. Any overt act that a person takes in an attempt to lessen their tax burden is a felony, and convictions in these cases can result in a multiple-year prison sentence and the payment of thousands of dollars in fines. It is essential that anyone facing these allegations act quickly to protect themselves.
Hiring a Washington DC tax evasion lawyer can be a powerful first step. A lawyer could work to explain the law and why prosecutors are pursuing a case. They could then identify the defense strategy that works best for the charges you are facing. Contact one today to see how they could help you.