Nobody likes paying taxes. Few people enjoy doing their taxes either. But if you play games with your federal or state tax obligations to the extent that you are illegally withholding or failing to pay what you owe, you could be facing a very bad time behind bars.
Tax evasion is a serious crime. As sophisticated as you think you may be in your efforts to avoid paying taxes, investigators and prosecutors are even more familiar with such efforts. They will catch you, and they will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.
If you have been charged with tax evasion, it is essential that you retain an aggressive white collar criminal defense lawyer who has experience in complex tax cases. At Epstein & Conroy, we understand how prosecutors build tax evasion cases and know how to effectively counter the charges. Working with seasoned accountants and other experts, we develop and mount tenacious defenses in tax matters.
What is Tax Evasion?
If you are like most people, you try to pay as little in taxes as possible. There is nothing illegal about taking advantage of tax laws to minimize your tax liability. “Loopholes” are the doing of the folks who wrote the tax laws, and tax lawyers and accountants get paid a lot of money to exploit those loopholes and avoid taxes for their clients to the full extent of the law.
But minimizing taxes and evading them are two entirely different things. Tax evasion and tax fraud refer to any number of ways individuals and corporations skirt their obligations under the federal Internal Revenue Code or New York state tax laws. It can involve both the illegal nonpayment as well as the illegal underpayment of taxes, and can be evasion of not only income tax obligations, but other tax requirements such as payroll taxes.
Common Examples of Tax Evasion
Given the thousands of pages in the tax code, there are an almost infinite number of ways to illegally evade taxes. Some of the most common examples of tax evasion include:
- Failing to report or underreporting income
- Failing to file tax returns
- Making false statements in tax returns
- Claiming deductions to which you are not entitled
- Inflating deductions or expenses
- Sham transactions
- Hiding money in offshore accounts
Penalties for Tax Evasion
Tax evasion on the federal level is a felony, and the penalties upon conviction reflect the seriousness of the offense. Section 7201 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that:
"Any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution."
The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigative Division is staffed by highly trained and aggressive tax experts who know how to uncover even the most sophisticated efforts to evade tax obligations. You could be under investigation by the IRS for months or even years and not know it until they come knocking at your door or have passed your case on to the U.S. Attorney’s office for indictment and prosecution.
Call Epstein & Conroy’s Experienced Brooklyn White Collar Crime Defense Attorneys Today
If you learn that you are under investigation by the IRS or New York state tax authorities or are facing prosecution for tax evasion, please contact us immediately. At Epstein & Conroy, P.C., we have extensive experience successfully representing defendants in white collar investigations and prosecutions throughout New York City in state and federal courts, including the defense of tax-related charges.