Who Can Be Prosecuted for Tax Evasion?

Tax cheats, or people who clearly refuse to pay taxes, often get prosecuted for tax evasion.

In recent years, the tax gap (difference between federal income taxes owed and federal income taxes paid) has swollen to about $600 billion per year. Honest, or at least semi-honest, mistakes on complex tax forms cause much of this gap.

Tax cheats cause a lot as well. These individuals usually either omit income streams, claim clearly fraudulent deductions, like claiming children they do not have, or commit other egregious errors that clearly were not accidental. Others refuse to take advantage of tax repayment programs, which are outlined below.

If a taxpayer willfully fails to pay income or other taxes, and the taxpayer refuses to work with the IRS, agents could refer the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Roughly the same process applies to Georgia state income and other taxes. These cases usually involve huge fines and penalties, as well as jail or prison time. A Georgia criminal defense lawyer can reduce or eliminate these consequences.

Civil Remedies

The overarching principle in these cases is that, at least in most situations, the IRS or GDR does not want to punish tax cheats, semi-honest mistake-makers, or anyone else. Generally, these agencies just want the money. So, the best way to avoid tax evasion charges is usually to give these agencies what they want.

Heading these cases off at the pass is often the most effective defense, at least in tax cheat cases. The taxpayer either paid or did not pay. Additionally, tax cheats make such large errors that very few jurors would believe the taxpayer simply made a mistake.

Payment plans are usually available. The IRS recently lowered the standards in these plans, so now, almost everyone qualifies for a payment plan, even if the outstanding balance is in the tens of thousands of dollars. The GDR and other state agencies have followed suit.

Some variation of an inability-to-pay defense is usually available as well. This option only applies if the taxpayer is utterly unable to pay. Usually, there is at least some element of unwillingness to pay, along with the inability. That combination, even if it is 1% unwilling and 99% unable, will not cut it in this context.

A few other options, like an innocent spouse, may be available as well in a few cases. But most people do not qualify for these options.

Criminal Defenses

Usually, only hard-core tax cheat cases make it to this level. Typically, the taxpayer has refused to meet the GDR or IRS halfway, or the case is so outlandish that officials want to make an example out of the taxpayer.

As mentioned, these cases are difficult to defend in criminal court. However, the prosecutor must establish guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. That is a very high burden of proof. If a Georgia criminal defense lawyer creates a reasonable doubt in the mind of one juror, the defendant is not guilty as a matter of law.

Work With a Diligent Gwinnett County Tax Evasion Lawyer

Tax evasion charges are difficult to resolve. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Norcross, contact Zimmerman & Associates, Attorneys at Law.