No one in Oklahoma wants to find themselves afoul of the IRS. Tax evasion may be one of the most feared and misunderstood crimes. Luckily for most people, it is not a crime based on misunderstandings or mistakes. Accidentally miscalculating or leaving something off a tax return should be no cause for concern. Although the penalties for tax evasion are stiff, so is the standard of proof. Tax evasion must be willful.
Defining tax evasion
Tax evasion is deliberate, by definition. When someone is evading taxes, what they’re actually doing is knowingly telling a lie. The standard for committing this crime involves intent. In tax evasion, people are purposefully not filing, or they’re misstating information about their income, deductions or credits. Although the penalties for this crime are harsh and can include prison time, most people have nothing to worry about.
Signs of trouble
The first warning sign that a taxpayer may have something to worry about is generally an audit. Usually, high-income people or freelancers are most likely to be audited. However, even then, it takes lots of evidence to prove that someone has committed tax evasion. Generally, the IRS is looking for a long-term pattern. They need to find proof that someone has been underreporting their earnings. Another warning sign is when people don’t cooperate during the audit process.
Tax evasion is considered a white-collar crime. One way the IRS can tell if someone is underreporting is through third parties. For example, they get information about income from employers in the form of W-2s. An attorney will be able to help a client who has been accused understand the process and the best way to deal with it.