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Intent matters when it comes to tax evasion

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2021 | White-Collar Crimes |

Preparing tax documents is a notoriously difficult undertaking. An entire industry exists to help people and businesses prepare and file their taxes properly to avoid incurring penalties. To make matters worse, those that fail to pay their taxes correctly run the risk of being charged with tax evasion. 

Is it tax evasion or a mistake? 

Considering just how complicated tax preparation can be, it may come as no surprise that many people in Florida make mistakes. These mistakes can result in underpaying taxes or receiving returns larger than one is entitled to. The main difference between a mistake and tax evasion is intent. 

Someone who has mistakenly underpaid will still have to pay what they owe but will not face any criminal charges. If the IRS believes that someone intentionally underpaid, he or she may be subjected to an audit and further legal action. Behaviors that typically constitute tax evasion include: 

  • Failing to file tax returns 
  • Underreporting income 
  • Inflating expenses 
  • Overstating the size of one’s household 

All of the above behaviors can be performed either intentionally or by mistake. Unfortunately, this means that someone can be accused of committing tax evasion after making an otherwise simple mistake. These types of accusations can derail a person’s life, making it difficult to find or maintain gainful employment in fields that require employees to interact with money. Florida defendants often find that creating a vigorous defense against such criminal accusations can help them secure the best possible outcome whether they fight their charges to the fullest extent in court, or negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution.