What are the basic criminal tax violations?
March 21, 2014
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Defenses for tax crimes of a taxpayer or tax preparer
March 21, 2014
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Tax crimes taxpayer or tax preparer can be convicted of

A taxpayer can be simultaneously charged with a greater offense and with a lesser included offense within the legal definition of the greater offense (which often carries a lower burden of proof), and can be convicted of either individual charge, or both charges, although the law does not allow for consecutive sentences where a defendant is convicted of both the greater and the lesser included offenses. A single action on the part of a taxpayer may constitute a violation of several criminal tax statutes. When both criminal and civil remedies are available to the government, it has the discretion to pursue criminal remedies, civil remedies or both under the law. The IRS will not rule in advance (private letter ruling) on whether a proposed transaction would subject a taxpayer to a criminal penalty.

  • A defendant can be convicted of attempting to evade tax if, a tax deficiency can be proven to exist between the return at issue and the correct amount of tax as proven by the government, the government can prove that the defendant took affirmative actions in an attempt to evade or defeat the correct amount of tax and the defendant acted willfully.
  • A defendant who is required to file a return and who willfully fails to file the return by the due date (or extended due date) can be convicted of failure to file a return.
  • A defendant who is required by law to pay tax and who willfully fails to pay the tax as it becomes due can be convicted of failure to pay tax.
  • A defendant can be convicted of making and subscribing a false return or other document if it can be proven that they willfully made and subscribed a return, the return contained a statement or included another document that included a statement that it is made under the penalties of perjury, and it can be proven that the defendant did not believe that the document was true and correct as to every material matter at the time of signature. Tax Preparers can also be convicted of the same crime if it can be proven that they aided or assisted in the preparation or presentation of a false return or other document. This creates an inherent conflict of interest between the tax preparer and the defendant taxpayer.
  • Any person who is required to collect, account for and pay over any tax and who willfully fails to do so can be convicted of a felony.
  • It is a crime for an employer to willfully fail to furnish, or to furnish a false or fraudulent, Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to an employee.
  • Convictions can be obtained under the Federal Criminal Code offenses include aiding and abetting the commission of a substantive offense, presenting the government with false or fraudulent claims, conspiring to commit a substantive offense, making a false statement to the United States or any of its agencies, using the mails to execute a fraudulent scheme, bribery, and forgery. Note: Preparers and promoters are often prosecuted under these code sections.
  • Other miscellaneous tax crimes include making false statements, falsifying or destroying records or books, concealing property in connection with a compromise or a closing agreement, removing and concealing property that is subject to levy with the intent to evade or defeat tax, interfering with the administration of the internal revenue laws, and making unauthorized disclosures or inspections of returns or return information.
  • Any person who is required to keep any records or supply information and who willfully fails to do so can be convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • A person who willfully delivers or discloses to the Treasury Secretary (or his or her delegate) a list, return, account, statement, or other document that the person knows to be fraudulent or false as to any material matter can be convicted of a misdemeanor.