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Criminal Defense Blog


Is missing a tax payment considered tax evasion?

Have you ever completed your yearly taxes only to find out that you actually owe the government money?

You may wonder about the legal tax process and any penalties you could face. Therefore, you should understand the principles of tax evasion and whether you are evading if you miss a payment.

Tax evasion is

The IRS may not label a missed payment as tax evasion. Instead, tax evasion is the purposeful misrepresentation of your income on your tax forms or not filing your taxes so that you can avoid paying what you owe. In addition, if you intentionally miss your payment, you could find yourself in the crosshairs of the IRS for tax evasion.

The key here is intent. If the IRS proves intent, you could face jail time, penalties and fines. For example, you can face one year in jail for each year you do not file your taxes. You will also need to pay the taxes would have owed and any applicable tax penalties.

Tax evasion is not

Fortunately, the IRS typically gives you the benefit of the doubt. These professionals understand that the tax code is confusing and challenging, so they often give you opportunities to fix your mistakes.

If you cannot afford your tax payment, do not fully understand the tax code or forget to make a payment, the IRS is typically lenient. These are not considered evasion actions. Although you may not face federal charges and jail time, you could face penalties of 20-75% of your taxes owed.

To prevent claims of tax evasion, maintain open lines of communication with the IRS. You can also pursue a payment plan or settlement that you can afford. Also, if you do not plan to fill out your own taxes, choose your preparer carefully.

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