Beware: Tax Fraud is a Serious Offense

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Beware: Tax Fraud is a Serious Offense

It’s the beginning of the year, and tax season is just around the corner. When most people file taxes, they are focused on having to pay or receiving a return. Yet, those who don’t follow federal and state tax regulations have something else to worry about: criminal prosecution. At the very least, tax fraud and evasion can make you liable for a significant amount of fines. In some cases, it can even land you in prison. Find out how the tax evasion laws work in Utah.

Illegal Activities Related to Taxes

Failing to pay taxes when due is only one of the offenses that is punishable. Under Utah Code Section 59-10-541, various acts are prohibited. This includes intentionally verifying a false tax return. It also encompasses any attempt to transmit false information to the government. Furthermore, it is illegal to attempt to evade paying taxes in part or in full. To find out more about the tax evasion laws in Utah, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who handles criminal law and felonies.

What Type of Penalties Exist for Tax Evasion?

It is important to note that you can be punished by both the state and federal government for tax crimes. These offenses may be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the severity of the matter. In the state of Utah, the successful prosecution of tax crimes can result in a few different sentencing scenarios. Some violations of Section 59-10-541 are considered felonies of the third degree. The crimes that fall under this category include knowingly failing to file within time or verifying a false return. A convicted defendant faces up to five years in prison, and a maximum of $5,000 in fines.

The penalties are stiffer for people who help others to evade taxes. This crime is considered a second degree felony in Utah. The criminal law states that second degree felonies are punishable by a maximum of 15 years in the penitentiary. A judge may also impose up to $15,000 in fines for violations of this section. It is also possible for the court to add additional fine amounts for certain types of crimes. If you are accused of one of these offenses, it is of the utmost importance that you be represented by an experienced lawyer.

Possible Defenses to Tax Evasion

If you are charged with a tax crime, your criminal law attorney can help you produce a defense. In most cases tax crimes require the element of knowledge or intention. This means that negligent activity does not qualify as a crime. Furthermore, it is possible to assert a defense of mistake. This means that you committed an error in good faith. In some cases, it may be possible to argue that the statute of limitations has passed for older offenses. Finally, some defendants may try to show that they were entrapped into committing a tax crime.

Each one of these offenses is highly fact dependent, and require the help of a lawyer who handles felonies. Contact T.R. Spencer Law Office in Utah if you need help with tax offenses.