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Every year, the IRS launches thousands of criminal investigations. This year, the IRS has initiated more than 2,500 criminal investigations against taxpayers; 1,270 of these investigations resulted in convictions. More than 80% of individuals convicted were sent to prisons with an average sentence of 44 months. These statistics may seem intimidating if you’re under investigation for a tax crime. That’s why an attorney from Okabe & Haushalter is ready to fight for your rights.

What are fraud and evasion?

Generally speaking, tax fraud and tax evasion are illegal methods used by individuals to evade paying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) money for income taxes, etc. There are many actions that may be considered fraud or evasion and both crimes come with serious consequences.

In order to be convicted of tax evasion, you must:

  • Attempt to avoid paying your taxes
  • Have outstanding tax payments
  • Evade taxes willfully

If one of these three elements is not in place, you cannot be convicted of evading your tax payments. For instance, if you have unpaid taxes but did not willfully intend to avoid payment, you cannot be convicted of evasion. In order to prove your innocence, you must be able to demonstrate that one of these elements is not in place. If you’re facing a tax evasion or tax fraud charge, don’t give up. A skilled tax crime lawyer from our firm is ready to help.

Understanding the Consequences

If you are convicted of tax fraud, you may be sentenced to 3 years in a federal prison and subject to a $250,000 fine. If convicted of evasion, you may be sent to prison for 5 years and have to pay a $250,000 fine. If your business is convicted, the fine may be doubled.

Evasion Schemes

Individuals and companies use a variety of tax evasion schemes to avoid remitting tax payments. Fraudulent tax returns alone may be responsible for billions of unpaid tax dollars every year. A tax evasion or tax fraud scheme may either be simple or extremely complicated. Some involve falsifying a tax return while other schemes involve creating offshore businesses and hidden bank accounts. Sometimes, employers attempt to evade paying income taxes by withholding tax money from their employees’ incomes but never actually giving the money to the IRS.

Other evasive and fraudulent schemes involve offshore bank accounts and International Business Corporations (IBCs). An offshore bank account is an account established in a foreign country—usually one that has financial secrecy laws. These countries are called tax havens. According to the IRs, more than 40 nations across the globe aggressively advertise themselves as tax havens, encouraging foreign investments by offering low- or no-tax environments.

If you’re under investigation for tax fraud or tax evasion, contact a lawyer from our firm today. We are more than ready to give you the legal assistance you need!