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Yes, tax matters can get murky: tax avoidance versus evasion

We will simply posit that most -- if not all -- of our readers in Florida and elsewhere are reasonable and reflective people.

We pose the following two questions to all of you.

Do you think it's possible for a well-intentioned person striving for accuracy to commit a material error on a federal or state tax return? Do you think you have ever made a mistake on a return?

Given that the American tax regime is virtually unparalleled globally for its intricacies and flat-out complexity, it's likely that most readers would respond affirmatively to those queries.

Candidly, who hasn't wondered whether a completed return for a given year was error-free and likely to escape an exacting IRS review and, potentially, a follow-up contact from the agency?

Uncertainty regarding filing entries is likely exacerbated by so-called tax avoidance, which makes best sense when contrasted to tax evasion.

The former is legal. The latter, as virtually everyone knows, is unlawful and having the potential to bring a most draconian response from the IRS.

A recent media article discusses the sometimes blurred line between tax avoidance and tax evasion, noting that, for starters, some people scarcely distinguish the two.

They are distinguishable, though, and many filers routinely avail themselves of avoidance strategies enacted into law that can help them minimize tax burdens. As noted above, the complexities of the American tax system sometimes render it unclear whether a given choice/election is a wise move or an unlawful strategy pursued by an unwitting taxpayer.

People of all shades and inclinations -- from innocent filers who simply made one or more mistakes to people who took illegal and calculated risks -- can find themselves in hot water with the IRS.

All of them have the right to a legal defense and an opportunity to challenge adverse actions sought to be taken against them.

A proven criminal defense attorney with experience representing clients with tax-related legal problems can provide further information.

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