No one likes paying taxes, but it’s a necessary part of life. Sometimes, however, people make mistakes. Like anyone who gets caught up in white collar crime, those who commit tax fraud or tax evasion are often in a difficult position and looking for a quick way to get out of a tough financial situation. Others might not even realize that they’ve done anything wrong.
If you’ve been charged with tax evasion or tax fraud, you could be facing serious consequences, both legally and personally. Oklahoma City white collar criminal defense attorney J. Patrick Quillian understands the potential ramifications of a criminal charge and will work to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
What Constitutes Tax Evasion Or Tax Fraud
In Oklahoma, tax evasion or tax fraud consists of any actions designed to willfully avoid paying taxes that are legally owed. Often, this is also accompanied by attempts to make the government believe that your tax liability is lower than it actually is.
The following activities, among others, are expressly prohibited under Oklahoma Tax Commission Rules:
- Failing or refusing to file a tax report or return
- Filing a false report or return
- Writing a false check to pay taxes
- Failing to produce tax documents when requested
- Any actions intended to defraud the state and avoid paying taxes
Concealing income and making fraudulent transfers of property are two common ways that people engage in tax fraud or evasion.
The penalties for tax fraud or evasion vary widely and can include payment of back taxes, prison time and large fines. The state is allowed to garnish your wages or file liens against your property to satisfy any unpaid taxes, interest or penalties.
Some of the penalties for specific tax crimes include:
- Failing to file a tax return — up to one year in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
- Filing a false or fraudulent tax return — a felony charge, punishable by two to five years in prison and $1,000 to $50,000 in fines
- Knowingly verifying a false return — a felony charge, punishable by no less than 90 days and up to 10 years in prison, and $500 to $5,000 in fines
It’s important to note that tax fraud in Oklahoma also carries a 50 percent penalty on all taxes that are due.
If it’s your first tax evasion offense and the amount at issue is relatively small, there is a chance that you will be able to avoid large fines or jail time. This is particularly true if the evidence does not clearly show that the evasion was intentional, rather than due to an honest accounting error. However, if there is clear proof that you willfully concealed income to avoid paying taxes, penalties can be stiff, pushing the upper bounds of what is allowed by law.
Consult An Experienced Oklahoma Tax Evasion Lawyer
A charge of tax fraud or tax evasion is a serious matter. As with all white collar criminal matters, the penalties and ramifications can be severe. It’s crucial that you enlist the assistance of a reliable Oklahoma tax fraud attorney immediately and start preparing your defense.
Oklahoma City white collar defense attorney J. Patrick Quillian is committed to aggressively defending individuals charged with tax evasion or tax fraud. He will work with you to make sure you put forward the best possible defense against the charges being brought against you. Contact us today and take the first step toward protecting your rights.