When does time run out to prosecute tax crimes?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2014 | Tax Evasion

Did you do your best with your taxes this year, but you are worried that there may have been some kind of mistake? Taxes are incredibly complex, sometimes leading inattentive people into technical tax crimes because they make mistakes when filing their returns. It is important to know the statute of limitations for tax evasion and other similar violations — if for no other reason than to put your mind at ease.

First, keep in mind that the Internal Revenue Service can choose to audit your income tax three years after you file. If you have omitted more than a quarter of your income, that time period could stretch to six years. In some cases, IRS officials ask tax filers if they can extend the time frame through a form that would extend the statute. Although it may be advisable to cooperate with the agency in this scenario, no two cases are alike; a tax attorney may prove to be a valuable ally.

The IRS has the ability to extend its auditing power past the traditional rule of six years through a variety of mechanisms. The statutes of limitations depend on a number of circumstances, such as the date on which a defendant is indicted or even if a defendant flees the country. It can be difficult to identify the exact date — and sometimes even the exact year — when the tax crime began. Does the clock begin, for example, when someone fails to file a return? Or does the six-year period start when it was determined that the person may have been attempting to hide that alleged tax fraud?

Timing can be essential to your tax crimes case. The statute of limitations never runs out for civil tax fraud, but you may have some wiggle room with other, more minor violations. Luckily, with the benefit of attorney-client privilege, you can come clean with your lawyer and develop the best strategy for your individual financial situation.

Source: Forbes, “How Far Back Can IRS Claim Tax Evasion Or Fraud? Timing Is Everything” Robert W. Wood, Jul. 01, 2014

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