Without knowing more, this may constitute attempted tax evasion, which is a felony under IRC 7201. If you use a nominee account to avoid paying your tax liability, the government may have a strong case for claiming you made an affirmative act of evasion.

Recently, in U.S. v. Memmott (E.D. Cal., Aug. 21, 2013, CR-S-08-402 KJM), 2013 WL 4496615, one court found that the taxpayer committed tax fraud when he embezzled money through the use of a “nominee account.” This is an account that is in one person’s name, although the “real” owner is another. Placing property in the name of another when it is really yours, and subsequently failing to inform the IRS that it is yours, are facts the IRS will look to when it assets you committed tax evasion.

There is a test the courts use to determine whether you improperly used a nominee account. They will consider whether: (1) you paid the other person (the “nominee”) any consideration or money to hold your property; (2) you retitled the property to the nominee because you were concerned about a potential lawsuit or other liability; (3) the relationship you have to the person; (4) how much possession/control you retained over the account or property after the transfer; (5) whether you documented the transfer; and (6) whether you continued to benefit from property after the transfer. See U.S. v. Memmott, 2013 WL 4496615.