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Sales Tax Fraud Lawyers

June 6, 2021 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Sales Tax Fraud Lawyers

Sales tax fraud charges mean a business owner or other entrepreneur has landed into tremendous legal trouble. Sales tax fraud often entails shortening state and other local tax authorities of money owed. Customers, often overlooked, are not treated fairly when blatant sales tax fraud occurs. The customers pay a tax the proprietor is supposed to remit. Yet, the tax fails to be remitted to the proper authorities.

Sales tax fraud remains a serious violation of the tax code. A local government may be highly reliant on sales tax to pay for debt and other general operating expenses. Being shorted for the money isn’t something the government entities consider minor or something to overlook. The City of New York absolutely takes sales tax fraud seriously. NYC’s government maintains an online tip site for the purpose of soliciting information about those who aren’t reporting accurate sales tax figures.

When sales tax fraud is discovered, criminal charges may be sought to address the matter. A person charged with sales tax fraud should contact a criminal defense attorney capable of devising a defense strategy. Yes, sales tax fraud – along with other forms of tax fraud – can be charged as a crime.

Defining Fraud

The ways in which a business owner or other merchant fails to pay sales tax can vary. The common element is sales tax was not paid and the failure to pay involves a fraudulent act. Under the law, fraud refers to intentionally using deception to cause a loss. Filing false sales tax documents with the state could be constituted as fraud. A local government becomes fraudulently deprived of tax revenue based on the presentation of purposefully inaccurate forms.

Instances of Sales Tax Fraud

Probably the most blatant example of sales tax fraud would be the collection of the tax and then choosing not to turn the money in. Audits of a business’s books could uncover such actions in clear detail. The most blatant of examples regarding how sales tax fraud occurs is not the only means in which it happens. Not reporting all sales and revenues and keeping two different accounting logs for the purpose of paying less income tax not only opens the door to sales tax fraud charges but also to possible tax evasion. Potentially, additional legal jeopardies may arise.

The Penalties for Sales Tax Fraud

The failure to collect sales tax, files tax documents with materially false information, or violates the tax code in any number of ways may be charged with tax fraud. New York state statutes distinctly note that persons guilty of sales tax fraud could face time in jail and civil penalties.

Not paying sales tax for multiple years could lead to multiple charges of tax fraud. Criminal tax fraud could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the seriousness of the offense. Penalties increase with more egregious levels of tax fraud. A person who commits sales tax fraud for several years may be looking at multiple counts of tax fraud charges.

Considering the serious nature of sales tax fraud, retaining a criminal defense attorney becomes necessary. The attorney should be someone with significant sales tax fraud defense experience.

Do I Need an Attorney if Charged With Tax Fraud?

Tax fraud is when an individual or business knowingly and purposefully falsifies tax return information to reduce the amount of tax liability. An individual who is guilty of tax fraud will intentionally lie on a tax return to prevent paying the full tax obligation.Although mistakes filing taxes can lead to individuals not paying the full tax obligation he or she owes, these circumstances are not considered tax fraud. To be convicted of tax fraud, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must prove an individual intentionally attempted to underpay his or her taxes or tried to hide any taxable assets.

What are Examples of Tax Fraud?
Tax fraud involves a purposeful wrongdoing. If an individual is careless or negligent, which caused tax errors, he or she will not be convicted of tax fraud. The IRS typically conducts an investigation to see if a crime has been committed. The IRS considers some of these examples as tax fraud:

  • Failure to make required tax payments
  • Providing inadequate records
  • Failure to file tax returns
    Dealing in cash to avoid being taxed
  • Engaging in illegal tax activities and fraud
  • Inconsistent explanations of tax records
  • Intentional understatements of income
  • Failure to cooperate with tax authorities
  • Concealment of taxable assets

Furthermore, those accused of lying, concealing, or delaying an investigation, which are made to mislead the IRS in an investigation, is also a against the law.

What are Defenses to Fight a Tax Fraud Charge?
There are several tax fraud defenses that can be used, which may include:

Insufficient Evidence
To be convicted of tax fraud, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt an individual knowingly had intentions not to pay his or her taxes. If an individual can prove that his or her failure to file a tax return was because they forgot, it may be sufficient for a dismissal.

Statue of Limitations
There is a time limit (statute of limitations) for an individual to be charged with tax fraud. If the IRS doesn’t file a tax fraud lawsuit before the time limit, an individual can’t be charged with tax fraud. The general statue of limitations for this offense is six years of when the alleged tax fraud occurred.

What are the Penalties for Tax Fraud?
If an individual is convicted of tax fraud, he or she could face the following penalties:
If an individual violates a federal tax law, it can result in significant fines. A tax fraud conviction fine can be $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for companies.

A tax fraud conviction can result in a prison term up to five years. However, this sentence can be enhanced if an individual was charged with multiple counts or it was a repeated offense.

Those convicted of tax fraud can lead to court orders that require an individual pay for restitution.

An individual convicted of tax fraud can result in probation, which usually last one to three years.

Should an Individual Consult an Attorney?
Tax fraud is a serious offense. Those who have been charged with tax fraud should contact a defense attorney immediately. For an individual to be convicted of tax fraud, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt he or she knowingly committed the offense. A knowledgable defense attorney can protect an indiviudal’s rights and examine evidence to build a strong defense.



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