Like most white collar crimes in New York, a charge for tax evasion can be serious. However, because any process related to tax filing can be incredibly complex, gray areas often arise. There are some facts to know about tax evasion charges — and the penalties that come with them — that can make these areas appear clearer and more manageable.
Those who are worried about a possible tax evasion offense are not alone: the United States Sentencing Commission reports that there were over 600 tax fraud cases in 2015. A large majority of offenders had no criminal history, and the average age for offenders was 50 years. Although the number of tax fraud cases has been on the decline, the penalties remain steep. The USSC also notes that roughly 63 percent of offenders in 2015 faced imprisonment, with an average sentence of 17 months. In addition, although the standard minimum sentencing increased from 24 to 26 months during that time, the past five years have shown that up to one quarter of offenders received sentences below the guideline range.
Forbes also comments on the ways a simple mistake made during tax filing can come with severe consequences, but questions exactly how far back the IRS can claim tax evasion. Sharing that the IRS generally has three years to audit, Forbes continues by noting that statutes may become extended voluntarily. Despite this possibility, each situation is unique and may require different steps. For instance, failing to complete one’s taxes or falling short in certain areas of the process could come with criminal charges. Under section 6531(2) of the tax code, the statute is six years from the time a person willfully fails to file a return. Forbes points out the complexities of these laws, stating that it can often prove difficult to pinpoint a false return; other acts can also keep a statute open. While there are many areas of concern when it comes to a tax evasion charge, it is clear that time is of the essence in these situations.