The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), along with state and local governments, takes a tough stance against people or corporations that do not pay their taxes or submit false tax forms. In some instances, convictions for tax evasion can result in significant fines or possible prison time.
At Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam, we understand the seriousness of such charges. That’s why we want to meet with you and discuss the details of your case. Our experienced Scranton tax evasion attorneys have years of experience handling white collar criminal investigations involving various tax-related criminal charges.
Tax evasion cases generally fall into two major categories. The most common forms generally include:
Other forms of tax evasion exist. They include:
If you are dealing with different types of tax problems or are being audited by the IRS, you might need a tax fraud attorney to handle your complicated case.
The penalties for Pennsylvania tax evasion and tax fraud vary widely. The biggest difference between a mild or harsh penalty often depends largely on whether someone intentionally tried to avoid paying taxes.
If someone made a careless mistake and did not pay certain taxes, the IRS might forgive such a mistake or perhaps assess the person or corporation filing corrected tax forms a 20 percent penalty.
If the government determines that a person or corporation knowingly submitted false tax forms in an attempt to avoid paying taxes, the penalty for tax fraud can climb as high as a 75 percent penalty.
In cases where the defendant is found guilty of a misdemeanor, they may face a fine of $1,000 plus the costs of prosecution and be imprisoned for up to three years.
Depending on the amount of money involved, people convicted of tax fraud might be sentenced to prison time. This is especially true if the government determines that a person convicted of tax fraud made money through illegal activities such as illegal drug distribution, organized crime, or other RICO or racketeering violations.
Depending on the intent of the tax evasion–whether you purposely or unintentionally committed tax fraud–will ultimately determine what defenses are available to you.
In Pennsylvania, the most common defenses are:
In 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed in law an act that institutes a three-year limitation period for criminal tax prosecutions. Under the rule, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may only prosecute, attempt to prosecute, or punish a person for an offense under a Pennsylvania tax statute if instituted within three years of the commission of the offense.
Exceptions to the three-year limitation include:
As of January 1, 2021, the act mandates a 10-year lookback period during which the state can collect assessed taxes, except inheritance taxes. Exceptions to the look-back period similar to the three-year limitations are:
Our Scranton tax evasion attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam have extensive experience handling complicated cases in Scranton and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Along with tax law, our attorneys are well versed in real estate law and wills, trusts, and estates.
Even if you violated state or federal tax laws, you still have rights and protections that must be protected throughout any investigation into your tax returns. Contact us for a free consultation. Call (570) 348-0776.
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