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What kind of tax crime constitutes tax evasion?

Have you ever been concerned about potential mistakes in your taxes? Many Florida residents made inadvertent errors when they are processing their own taxes -- but does this constitute a tax crime? Luckily, experts say that honest mistakes are very rarely prosecuted. In most cases, those individuals must simply pay the difference in the amount of taxes they missed. However, when payers intentionally attempt to defraud the government by underpaying their taxes, additional criminal penalties may come into play.

In order for a tax crime to be considered tax evasion, the government must demonstrate that the person maliciously and intentionally attempted to underpay taxes. Tax fraud can be alleged in a variety of circumstances. First, if you underreport your income -- as a hairdresser, food server or other tip-earning individual -- you could be subject to an audit and criminal charges, even though there is a scant paper trail for your earnings. Additionally, business owners that inflate their expenses may face legal action, along with families who claim additional tax credits for which they are not qualified.

Furthermore, simply failing to file your tax documentation can also constitute tax evasion, as the Internal Revenue Service has no way to audit your finances. In general, tax procedures are still relatively simple -- Americans are only required to submit information about the amount of money they make, and then they claim certain deductions to limit their tax payments. The adjusted gross income, or AGI, is used to determine your tax liability.

Those who are concerned about the accuracy of their tax documents may benefit from a review by a financial or legal professional. Criminal tax violations are very serious matters that you should not try to handle on your own. The easiest way to manage potential tax evasion is to ensure that you file your taxes appropriately from the start.

Source: FindLaw, "FindLaw: Tax Evasion" Aug. 04, 2014

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