Nobody enjoys paying taxes. Most people don’t like the process of preparing and filing tax returns either. But if you play fast and loose with your federal or state tax obligations, make false statements or illegally withhold or fail to pay what you owe, you won’t enjoy the outcome when you wind up in prison or pay penalties that exceed your original tax debt.
Tax fraud is a serious criminal offense taken equally seriously by taxing authorities like the Internal Revenue Service. No matter how smart or sophisticated you think you are in your efforts to avoid or fraudulently reduce your tax bill, experienced and determined investigators and prosecutors are way ahead of you. They will catch you, they will prosecute you, and they will seek the harshest possible penalties for you.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with tax fraud, you are in real trouble. It is critical that you retain an aggressive tax fraud defense attorney who has experience fighting complex tax charges. At Wigell Law Group in Chicago, we understand how prosecutors build tax fraud cases and know how to counter their allegations effectively. We work closely with highly credentialed accountants, tax professionals, and other experts to develop and implement strategies designed to achieve the best possible outcome.
What Is Tax Fraud?
There is nothing wrong or illegal about trying to pay the lowest amount of taxes you can. There are plenty of legal ways to reduce your tax liability. “Loopholes” exist because the folks who wrote the tax laws wanted certain taxpayers to take advantage of them, and tax attorneys and accountants get paid to find and exploit those loopholes for their clients.
But there is a big difference between minimizing tax obligations and evading those obligations through fraud and misrepresentation. Tax evasion and tax fraud refer to the multitude of ways that individual taxpayers and corporations avoid their obligations under the federal Internal Revenue Code or Illinois state tax laws. Tax fraud can involve both the illegal nonpayment as well as the unlawful underpayment of taxes, and you can be charged not just for income tax fraud, but fraud involving other tax obligations, such as payroll taxes.
Common Examples of Tax Fraud
The list of ways to defraud the government out of taxes is almost as long as the tax code itself. Some of the most common examples of tax fraud include:
- Failure to report or the underreporting of income.
- Failure to file tax returns.
- Making false statements in tax returns.
- Claiming inapplicable or unearned deductions.
- Inflating deductions or expenses.
- Sham transactions.
- Hiding nondisclosed money in offshore accounts.
Penalties for Tax Fraud and Evasion
Tax evasion on the federal level is a felony, and the penalties upon conviction reflect that. Section 7201 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that:
“Any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.”
Wigell Law Group: Aggressive Chicago Tax Fraud Defense Lawyers
The Internal Revenue Service staffs its Criminal Investigative Division with highly trained tax experts who are skilled in uncovering even the most sophisticated efforts to evade tax obligations. You could be under investigation by the IRS for months or even years and not know it until they are at your door or have passed your case on to the U.S. Attorney’s office for indictment and prosecution.
If you are accused of tax fraud, you need to take immediate steps to protect yourself, including speaking with experienced tax fraud defense counsel as soon as possible. Call Wigell Law Group to arrange for your free and confidential initial consultation, so we can learn more about your situation and craft a plan for how to respond to the investigation or charges.
To schedule your free consultation, please call us today at 312-548-9250 or use our online contact form.