If you are facing federal criminal charges for tax evasion, defense lawyer Bristol C. Myers has the experience you can trust to thoroughly investigate your case and provide an innovative and relentless defense. Call now 512-478-2100 or connect online.
Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201, makes it a crime for anyone willfully to attempt to evade or defeat the payment of any federal income tax.
Elements of Tax Evasion
The government must prove each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. That there exists a substantial tax deficiency owed by the defendant to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
2. That the defendant committed at least one affirmative act to evade or defeat assessment or payment of the income taxes owed. An affirmative act includes any conduct the likely effect of which would be to mislead or conceal.
3. That the defendant acted willfully, that is, the law imposed a duty on the defendant, the defendant knew of that duty, and the defendant voluntarily and intentionally violated that duty.
Tax Evasion Defenses
The lack of a tax deficiency is a defense to tax evasion. The government’s case can be attacked by a tax evasion defense lawyer who can demonstrate that income received was non-taxable, identify errors in the government’s financial analysis, or prove entitlement to a deduction or credit not yet claimed.
The lack of a willfulness is a defense to tax evasion. The defendant’s lack of sophistication leading to a mistake, or negligence may provide a defense. This is especially true if the defendant has a past record of tax compliance. More commonly, the good faith reliance on the advice of an accountant or tax attorney may show a lack of willfulness, provided the professional’s advice is grounded on the defendant’s full disclosure of underlying facts and information. Likewise, if the tax law in question is ambiguous or unsettled, that will support a lack of willfulness.
Much like other types of financial crimes, courts determine punishment in tax cases by referring to the amount of loss. In tax cases, the focus is on tax loss. Unpaid taxes must be examined in light of taxes that were paid, as well as deductions and credits that could have been claimed but were not. Tax rate can also be a sentencing factor. So, a defendant’s specific tax situation must be thoroughly reviewed.