People can commit the offenses of tax fraud and tax evasion in a variety of different ways. In general, though, people commit these crimes when they purposely avoid or underpay their taxes and thereby avoid their tax responsibilities. Both offenses are considered serious white-collar crimes in Washington. If you or a loved one are facing charges of tax fraud or tax evasion, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away.
What is Tax Fraud/Tax Evasion?
Prosecutors can charge people with tax fraud and tax evasion in many particular situations. Common types of ways people commit these crimes include when they:
- Underreport income,
- Overestimate expenses or deductions,
- Fail to collect employment taxes,
- Make false statements to investigators,
- Violate employer withholding requirements,
- Fail to collect or pay sales tax, and
- Not file a yearly tax return.
Tax fraud and tax evasion are often associated with the following crimes:
- Falsifying business records, and
- Grand theft.
The ultimate penalties for tax fraud and tax evasion will depend on the facts of a case. Different types of conduct can result in either state or federal criminal charges. Prosecutors can charge the crimes as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If a defendant is convicted of either crime, he/she can face criminal penalties (jail or prison time and the payment of money) and civil penalties. The latter include the payment of back taxes with interest. In addition to these penalties, people committing tax fraud/tax evasion could also face an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Are there Defenses?
Fortunately, people facing tax evasion and tax fraud charges can challenge them with a legal defense. One common defense is to show that the defendant was only arrested and charged with a crime after law enforcement committed an unlawful search and seizure. Washington and federal law state that police can only engage in a search and seizure if they have a lawful warrant. If no warrant, then they must have a valid legal excuse for not having one. If a defendant can show that law enforcement committed an unlawful search and seizure, then a judge could suppress evidence from the case or dismiss a defendant’s charges in their entirety.
Also keep in mind that people are sometimes arrested for these crimes after police conduct an undercover sting operation. In these situations, a person may be able to challenge a charge with an entrapment defense. This defense asserts that law enforcement used some type of overbearing conduct to trick a person into committing a tax crime. Entrapment is an acceptable legal defense so long as the accused shows he/she only committed tax fraud/tax evasion because of the entrapment.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge tax fraud and tax evasion charges, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 25 years of combined experience defending clients on tax fraud charges. Our Seattle tax evasion lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these types of cases. Black & Askerov will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!