One of the most stressful times of the year for many is tax season. Unfortunately, this can be a strenuous, confusing process for many. As such, some may intentionally falsify their report to avoid paying the taxes they owe to the state in the hopes that no one will notice the discrepancies. If you’re being investigated or charged, it’s essential to understand the consequences of tax evasion in California, as this carries grave penalties. Keep reading to learn more about this crime and discover how a Sacramento criminal defense lawyer can help represent you during these uncertain times.
What Is Tax Evasion?
Generally, when someone deliberately and purposely falsifies or misrepresents information on their tax returns to reduce or avoid paying their tax liability, they are committing tax evasion.
This is a form of fraud that can be perpetrated by businesses and individuals. Commonly, individuals purposely reduce the amount of income they earned, especially from jobs paid in cash, to avoid paying what they owe. As such, they may not report tips or outside income like money earned from babysitting. A company may underreport its earnings to reduce the taxes it must pay.
What Are the Penalties for This Crime?
Depending on the circumstances in which you commit tax evasion, you may face anywhere between six months to three years in prison for this crime, in addition to paying hefty fines.
Generally, when you purposely file a false tax return or fail to file with intent to avoid paying what you owe, you will likely face a misdemeanor charge. This carries up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $20,000. However, this is a “wobbler” crime, as it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances.
If your crime falls under California state Tax Evasion Code 19705 such as falsifying statements and other documents to avoid paying taxes, you can face up to three years in jail and $250,000 in fines, as this constitutes a felony charge.
What Should I Do if I’m Arrested for Fraud?
If arrested for tax evasion, the most important thing you must do is remain silent. Even if you know the charges are based on a legitimate error you made when filing, it’s in your best interest to invoke your Constitutional right to silence when in custody. The only thing you should do is request an attorney.
When you’re in legal trouble, the Law Offices of Dale R. Gomes can help. We understand how complex tax evasion and fraud charges can be in California. As such, our team will work to craft a defense to assist you through this process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you through these times.