How simple mistakes may be viewed as criminal acts

| Apr 24, 2018 | Blog |

As the federal income tax deadline has passed, you may not be feeling the pressure filing for an extension if you haven’t filed a return. For those who fear the power of the federal government, procrastination only breeds fear and desperation. And this could lead to questionable choices in the future.

Regardless of what you do, or the mistakes you may make going forward, how they are viewed by federal investigators can be the difference between having to pay penalties and interest and ending up behind bars. This is because the IRS may consider your actions willful and intentional as opposed to genuine ignorance or neglect.

For instance, what you may consider to be an innocent mistake (or set of errors) may be viewed as calculated steps to avoid paying taxes. A common example is when a taxpayer relies on cash deposits, as opposed to payroll checks for a majority of their income, and their deposits do not reflect what their lifestyle is. In these instances, the IRS could operate on the belief that a taxpayer is fraudulently trying to hide income.

These types of negligible omissions could be called into question in other instances, such as failing to provide records during inspections, allegedly falsifying documents provided to regulators or failing to maintain current records. These types of actions could also be construed as obstructing justice in some circumstances. As we have heard in a number of media reports, the term “obstruction” can be used to punish any number of seemingly legal activities.

A skilled criminal defense attorney can help in debunking these types of assumptions. If you are accused of a federal offense, the government must prove that you have willfully acted in violation of the code or statute before any adverse action can be taken against you. An attorney can distinguish between negligent actions and willful behavior, which, as we alluded to earlier, can mean the difference between facing criminal charges and simply facing regulatory infractions.

If you have questions about fraud, tax evasion or any number of white collar crimes, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.