We have all heard the saying: the only two things certain in life are death and taxes. Most Americans simply grumble about paying taxes, while some just do not pay taxes at all. This is called tax evasion, and it can carry a hefty fine and possible jail time if convicted.
How does Missouri punish tax evasion?
Tax evasion is punished by Missouri’s Department of Revenue, both criminally and administratively. The type of fraud committed, as well as your intent, affects how tax evasion is punished. Tax evasion in Missouri is classified as either a simple infraction, resulting in a fine, or a misdemeanor, which results in a fine and possible jail time. You could also face felony charges from the IRS if the evasion charges are related to federal taxes.
What should you do if you are facing charges?
The first thing you should do if you are charged with tax evasion is to understand it is serious and should not be dismissed. Neither the IRS nor Missouri’s Department of Revenue do not accuse people of tax evasion without good reason. Here are other things to keep in mind:
- Communication with your tax preparer, such as H&R Block or Turbo Tax, is not confidential. Even a personal accountant is not legally required to keep any information you share confidential, and in fact they can be called to testify against you.
- Do not make any false statements, verbally or in writing, to the IRS or the Department of Revenue. This will only provide a stronger case against you. You should provide information that is requested but you do not need to volunteer any information.
- Consider paying the tax that is owed. This shows that you are serious about making amends and can stop other penalties or interest from accruing on the taxes owed.
- Contact an attorney that specializes in tax fraud. Unlike communication with your tax preparer, any communication with your attorney is considered privileged and confidential. It is important to find an attorney knowledgeable about tax laws and tax evasion, who is skilled in these types of white collar crimes.
Tax evasion is a serious charge, and should be handled as such. Ignoring the charges or trying to represent yourself will likely make your situation worse. Nobody likes paying taxes, but taxes are one of two certainties in life. Even if you believe you are innocent, these charges should be taken seriously.