Federal Tax Fraud Lawyer in Austin, TX

Have You Been Arrested for Tax Fraud?

Tax fraud involves deliberately falsifying financial information to evade federal tax responsibilities. It's a serious offense, carrying heavy penalties including fines and potential imprisonment. 

When facing allegations of tax fraud, it is essential to take proactive steps by contacting a federal tax fraud attorney. While the stakes are high, you don't have to face this challenging period on your own. Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, has a track record of assisting numerous clients in the state of Texas in resolving serious criminal charges to their advantage, and our objective is to achieve the same outcome for you.

To arrange a consultation with a tax fraud lawyer, simply get in touch with Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, by calling (512) 991-0576 or contacting us online.

What is Considered Federal Tax Fraud?

Under 26 USC § 7206, tax fraud encompasses many types of deceptive activities aimed at defrauding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The law outlines several specific actions, each constituting a form of tax fraud if undertaken willfully and with the intent to deceive or defraud the federal government.

Submitting a False Tax Return

First, if you sign and submit any tax-related document, such as a tax return, knowing that it contains false statements or claims, you are engaging in tax fraud. This is not a mere oversight but involves a conscious decision to present incorrect information as true, especially when these documents are declared under penalty of perjury. It’s the deliberate act of asserting falsehoods in official documents that you are legally affirming to be correct that forms the basis of this violation.

Assisting With a Fraudulent Tax Return

Additionally, tax fraud is committed when someone knowingly aids, assists, or advises in the preparation or presentation of a fraudulent tax document. This means if you are involved in counseling or helping someone to prepare or file a document that you know includes incorrect details, you are also culpable. The law holds you accountable whether or not the person submitting the document is aware of the misinformation it contains.

Fabricating Documents

Creating or using false documents is another type of tax fraud. This involves fabricating official documents like bonds, permits, or other papers that are related to tax-related procedures. The fraudulent activity here can range from forging signatures to creating entire documents, all with the intention of misleading the IRS or evading rightful taxes.

Concealing Assets

A more covert form of tax fraud is the act of concealing or transferring assets to dodge tax obligations. If you hide or move goods, money, or other items with the objective of escaping tax liabilities, you are violating tax law. This applies to assets over which the IRS has established a right to levy due to unpaid taxes.

Other Forms of Tax Fraud

Lastly, in the context of compromises and closing agreements with the IRS, any deceptive practices are considered tax fraud. This includes hiding assets, fabricating documents, or making false statements during negotiations or settlements with the IRS aimed at resolving tax debts.

For the prosecution to successfully convict you of tax fraud, it must establish, without a shadow of a doubt, that your actions were willful and intentional – not careless. The prosecution has to present evidence that unmistakably points to your intention to commit fraud. This evidence can be direct, such as explicit actions or statements made by you, or it can be circumstantial, inferring your intent from the pattern of your behavior. Either way, the evidence must collectively be strong enough to eliminate any reasonable doubt about your intent and actions concerning the alleged tax fraud.

What Are the Penalties for Federal Tax Fraud?

The penalty for federal tax fraud is a fine of up to $100,000 ($500,000 for corporations) or imprisonment for up to three years, or both. Additionally, convicted persons are required to pay the cost of prosecution.

Potential Defenses to Tax Fraud Charges

Lack of Willfulness

If you didn't have the intention to deceive or were unaware that your actions were unlawful, this could be a strong defense. For instance, if you honestly believed that the information you provided on your tax return was correct or you were unaware of certain tax laws, you might argue that your actions were not willful. This defense is particularly relevant if you relied on incorrect advice from a CPA or other tax professional or if there were honest mistakes in interpreting complex tax laws.

Mistake of Fact

This defense applies if you made an honest and reasonable mistake regarding a matter of fact. For example, if you genuinely believed that certain income was not taxable or deductions were legitimate when they weren't, you might use this defense. However, for this defense to be viable, your belief must not only be genuine but also reasonable under the circumstances.

Insufficient Evidence

The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence doesn't demonstrate that you committed the acts you're accused of, or if it fails to prove all elements of the crime, including willfulness, your case should be thrown out.

Comparison to Tax Evasion

26 USC § 7201 deals with the act of willfully attempting to evade or defeat tax. For example, a person deliberately failing to file a tax return to avoid paying taxes would fall under this law. On the other hand, 26 USC § 7206 focuses on fraud and false statements in tax matters. This includes making fraudulent claims on a tax return, like inflating deductions or expenses.

Role of a Tax Fraud Lawyer in Austin, TX

Facing tax fraud charges can be daunting. A tax fraud lawyer can offer meaningful guidance, ensuring you understand the charges against you and the potential consequences. Your lawyer will carefully analyze the evidence, work to identify weaknesses in the prosecution's case, and present the strongest possible defense on your behalf. They will advocate for your rights at every stage, from negotiation with the IRS to representing you in court if necessary. In essence, a tax fraud lawyer aims to secure the best possible outcome for your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tax Fraud

  • What is tax fraud?
    Federal tax fraud is intentionally misleading or providing false tax information to reduce tax liability.
  • Can I be charged with tax fraud by making a mistake on my tax return?
    Only if the mistake is part of a willful attempt to deceive, not for genuine errors.
  • What does 'willfully' mean in the context of tax fraud?
    'Willfully' means you intentionally violated tax laws knowing your actions were illegal.
  • Is it still tax fraud if I didn't personally prepare the fraudulent tax document?
    Yes, if you were involved in advising, assisting, or encouraging its preparation.
  • Does the IRS need to prove I owed taxes to charge me with tax fraud?
    No, tax fraud charges focus on deceptive actions, not the amount owed.
  • What is a 'material matter' in a tax document?
    A 'material matter' significantly impacts the tax calculation, like income or deductions.
  • How can I defend myself against tax fraud charges?
    Some defenses may include lack of willful intent, reliance on professional advice, or insufficient evidence.
  • What should I do if I'm accused of tax fraud?
    Consult a federal tax fraud attorney immediately for guidance.
  • Can ignorance of tax laws be a defense in a tax fraud case?
    Generally, no. However, it can be complex and depend on the specifics of the case.

Contact an Experienced Austin Tax Fraud Attorney

If you're facing tax fraud charges, it's time to take action by reaching out to a federal tax fraud lawyer. The stakes are high, but you don't have to face them alone. Over the years, Cofer & Connelly, PLLC has helped countless clients in the state of Texas resolve serious criminal charges on favorable grounds, and our goal is to produce the same result for you. Contact Cofer & Connelly, PLLC by calling (512) 991-0576 or contacting us online for a consultation with a tax fraud lawyer.

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