Mid-April may be when flowers really start to bloom and the weather starts to turn pleasant in much of New York. Unfortunately, many people are too stressed about tax season to truly enjoy these weeks of transitional weather. Every April, workers, business owners, contractors and investors across the country struggle to make sense of the changes and updates to the federal tax code.
Many people choose to use professionals to prepare their taxes, although a significant number of people also prepare and file their own taxes. Regardless of how you go about filing your federal, state and local taxes, you will likely experience the temptation to exaggerate or lie about certain situations in your life.
From adding children to your family to attempting questionable deductions, those practices could leave you vulnerable to legal consequences including criminal charges related to tax fraud. You won’t just have to pay the taxes you avoided. You will likely also face fines, penalty fees and hefty interest charges, as well as potential jail time.
Intentional tax fraud is a serious offense
There is a significant difference between overlooking areas of your tax obligation and intentionally engaging in fraudulent reporting or tax preparation to avoid paying your full obligation. The information you change or manipulate about your family circumstances, finances, jobs, investments or charitable donations could easily result in reduced tax obligations.
However, those changes and small lies could also wind up being the basis for criminal tax fraud charges in the future. Intentionally lying to or hiding information from the government in order to reduce your tax obligation is a dangerous decision. While some people who engaged in tax fraud may at least temporarily get away with it, many others wind up caught and prosecuted.
One of the more common forms of tax fraud and evasion include failing to report a cash income. Some people go so far as to open secondary bank accounts and attempt to hide them. However, the IRS has an uncanny way of tracking down those who don’t report substantial sources of income and interest on bank accounts. The chances are good that a hidden account isn’t as hidden as the person holding it may think.
It is possible to defend against tax fraud allegations
If you find yourself facing allegations of tax fraud, you need to take careful steps to protect yourself. One of the first things you should do is to consult with a New York criminal defense attorney who understands white collar crimes such as tax fraud.
The right legal advice can help you make decisions that can reduce or even eliminate the criminal consequences that you face for allegations related to tax fraud or other forms of fraud. You can negotiate a repayment plan or develop a sound criminal defense strategy.