Decatur, Illinois Tax Fraud Lawyer
At some point, most of us have made a mistake on our tax returns. This is usually a minor matter that can be cleared up by filing an amended return and paying any taxes owed (with penalties and interest). In some cases, you may face a tax audit, which is unnerving but again no real cause for concern.
In rare cases, however, the government does go after people on suspicion of tax fraud. At this point we are talking about a serious felony charge that can lead to five years in federal prison and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. If you are facing such a criminal investigation and need legal representation from a skilled Decatur, Illinois tax fraud lawyer, the team at Patel Law, PC, is here to help.
Understanding Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion
The first thing you need to know is that “tax fraud” is not simply forgetting to file your return or paying the tax that you owe. Federal law defines tax fraud as the “willful” misrepresentation or falsification of information on a tax return. So making an honest mistake is not a crime. But if you deliberately lie or withhold information with the intent of under-reporting your income or the tax you owe, then you could be prosecuted for tax fraud.
You can also be charged with criminal tax evasion if you willfully try to avoid a tax obligation. For example, if you intentionally decided not to file a tax return in a given year, or you chose to accept income and did not report it on your return, that is considered tax evasion. Additionally, other tax-related criminal acts fall within the general purview of tax evasion and tax fraud, such as money laundering and identity theft.
Although the penalties for a criminal tax fraud conviction are severe, it is important to keep in mind that criminal prosecutions of this nature are rare. Bringing a criminal prosecution for tax fraud represents an enormous commitment of time and money by the government. So in many cases, it is possible to negotiate a potential criminal case down to a civil matter. You will still have to pay any back taxes owed, often with substantial penalties and interest, but you can stay out of jail and avoid having a felony conviction on your record.
Contact Patel Law Today
Of course, negotiation is not always possible and there are cases where the government is committed to prosecuting. This underscores the importance of working with a qualified Decatur, Illinois tax fraud lawyer who has extensive trial experience. Illinois defense attorney Baku N. Patel and his team have handled hundreds of criminal jury trials, and they are prepared to make every effort to secure a favorable outcome in your case. So if you are under investigation for tax fraud or tax evasion, contact Patel Law, PC, today to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our staff.