Luckily, only an extremely small number of taxpayers are actually charged with tax fraud in any given year. Of the 150 million Americans who file a tax return, only approximately 1.5 million are selected for auditing. Of those, only around 300,000 are called in for the most serious form of audit: an in-person office audit. Even those 300,000 people have a very small chance of being charged with tax fraud. Only around 1 percent of those called in for office audits will end up being charged with an actual crime. And of those 3,000 people charged with some form of tax fraud each year, only about 1,500 will actually be convicted.
All this means that if you have not yet had your case formally referred to the IRS’ Criminal Investigations Division, then the chances are high that you will not be charged with a crime. However, that does not mean that you are free and clear. If you have been called in for an office audit, you should hire an experienced tax attorney as soon as possible. If you have been charged with tax fraud, not hiring a competent attorney is a one-way ticket to the slammer.