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Tax evasion and its penalties

The New Year has arrived and many California residents may find themselves already thinking about their tax obligations from the previous year. Although for many people this is a time when they may look forward to a hefty tax return, for others it may be a process through which they find themselves facing federal charges for tax evasion.

What is tax evasion? As the name implies, tax evasion occurs when an individual or business acts illegally in order to avoid paying taxes. Many times this charge is filed against individuals and businesses the federal government believes have been obtaining illegal income. Tax evasion can occur when income is underreported or deductions are inflated, but it can also happen if assets are hidden.

The penalties for tax evasion are quite severe. If convicted, an individual can face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. There is a lot at stake when a California resident is accused of tax evasion, which is why addressing the matter in a timely fashion is critically important.

Once under investigation, an individual should consider legal options. Law enforcement may try to get a suspect to admit to certain facts that eventually work against the defendant during plea negotiations or a trial. By beginning the process of crafting a criminal defense strategy immediately, an accused individual may be able to protect legal rights and, perhaps, improve the chances of finding some sort of successful result at the end of the case.

Source: Legal Information Institute, "Tax evasion," accessed Jan. 8, 2015

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