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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Defending Against Federal Tax Evasion and Tax Fraud Charges

By Spodek Law Group | October 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 09:41 am

Defending Against Federal Tax Evasion and Tax Fraud Charges

Being accused of tax evasion or tax fraud can be an incredibly stressful and frightening situation. These charges carry severe penalties such as felony convictions, jail time, and heavy fines[1]. However, with the right defense strategy and legal representation, it is possible to fight the charges and protect your rights and livelihood. This article provides an overview of common tax evasion and fraud charges, potential defenses and strategies, and the role a knowledgeable tax attorney can play in building your defense.

Common Tax Evasion and Fraud Charges

There are a number of potential federal charges related to tax evasion and fraud under Title 26 and Title 18 of the U.S. Code[5]. Some of the most common include:

  • Tax Evasion (26 U.S.C. § 7201) – Felony charge for willfully attempting to evade assessment or payment of taxes. Penalty is up to 5 years in prison.
  • Filing False Returns (26 U.S.C. § 7206) – Felony for subscribing to a false tax return. Penalty is up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Aiding and Abetting Tax Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 2) – Felony for assisting in preparation of false returns. Penalty is up to 3 years in prison.
  • Fraudulent Returns (26 U.S.C. § 7207) – Misdemeanor for delivering a false or fraudulent return. Penalty is up to 1 year in prison and $10,000 fine.

In addition to criminal penalties, defendants face owing back taxes, interest, and substantial monetary civil fines up to 75% of unpaid taxes.

Building a Strong Defense Strategy

While tax evasion and fraud charges should always be taken seriously, there are potential strategies to challenge the allegations and build a strong defense case[3][4]:

  • Lack of intent – The prosecution must prove “willfulness” and intent to violate tax laws. Mistakes, errors, misunderstandings, or reliance on a tax advisor may refute intent.
  • Lack of tax deficiency – Evidence that no taxes were actually owed can defeat charges of evasion.
  • Weak/improper evidence – If evidence was obtained improperly or is insufficient to prove intent, charges may be dismissed.
  • Statute of limitations – Tax charges must generally be brought within 6 years, providing a possible defense.
  • Insanity defense – While very difficult to prove, mental state may have made the defendant unaware of their actions.
  • Reliance on professional advice – Demonstrating good faith reliance on an accountant or tax attorney advice can disprove intent.

The key for any tax crime defense is thoroughly examining the facts of the case to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments and build a counter-narrative demonstrating lack of intent, honest mistakes, or other defenses.

The Role of an Experienced Tax Attorney

Facing tax evasion and fraud charges is complex, with very high stakes. Working with an attorney experienced specifically in tax law and federal tax crimes is highly recommended[6]. A knowledgeable tax attorney can:

  • Rigorously examine the prosecution’s evidence and arguments to identify potential motions to dismiss, suppression of evidence, and other options.
  • Help reconstruct records and provide context to demonstrate any errors were honest mistakes rather than intentional deceit.
  • Bring an understanding of complex tax codes and how to frame a defense within the technical rules.
  • Offer an expert opinion on the viability of a “reliance on tax advisor” defense.
  • Negotiate with prosecutors for plea deals or settlements where appropriate.
  • Represent the defendant vigorously in court proceedings if charges are not dismissed pre-trial.

The level of complexity in tax law means working with an attorney focused specifically on tax matters is crucial for the best defense. Don’t hesitate to exercise your rights and contact a tax attorney if you are being audited or accused of tax crimes. With the right legal advice and defense strategy, the outcome for tax charges can be significantly improved.

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