Tax fraud is a criminal offense that often requires the help of an experienced attorney. There are multiple ways to violate Minnesota’s tax laws, including, but not limited to, failing to file, failing to pay, and providing false information in connection with taxes. Depending upon which particular provision is violated, offenses can range from misdemeanors all the way up to serious felonies.
If convicted of a tax fraud offense, you would face imprisonment, probation, fines, fees, and restitution. In addition to the criminal penalties, Minnesota law provides civil penalties for those who commit tax fraud crimes. To avoid or minimize the civil and criminal penalties associated with this crime, contact a Bloomington tax fraud lawyer.
Failure to File or Pay
Under state law, a person cannot be convicted of tax fraud simply for failing to file or pay their tax liabilities. They must have done so knowingly. This means that if a person accidentally, inadvertently, or negligently failed to file or pay, they are not guilty of a crime. They would still be required to file and pay their taxes, along with any civil penalties imposed, but they could have a good defense to a criminal charge.
If someone knowingly fails to file their taxes, they are guilty of a gross misdemeanor. This means that they could be sentenced to up to one year in jail, up to $3,000 in fines, or both. If the defendant willfully attempted to evade taxes by not filing them, they can be found guilty of a felony. This means that they could be punished by more than one year of imprisonment and more than $3,000 in fines.
Someone who knowingly fails to pay their taxes can be found guilty of a gross misdemeanor and punished as outlined above. Someone who willfully tries to evade taxes by not paying them can be found guilty of a felony and punished as laid out above.
False or Fraudulent Returns
Like failure to file or pay taxes, a person cannot be convicted of filing false or fraudulent tax returns unless they did so knowingly. A simple mistake or accident on your taxes will not lead to serious criminal charges. Additionally, the false or fraudulent part of the return must be concerning a material matter. Again, this means that a simple typo is not going to lead to tax fraud charges. However, if someone knowingly falsifies part of their tax return, and the false portion is material, they can face felony charges.
Someone who files a tax return while knowing all or part of the return to be false or fraudulent regarding a material matter can be found guilty of a felony and punished accordingly. Further, someone who knowingly helps another person prepare a tax return that is false or fraudulent regarding a material matter can also be charged with and convicted of a felony whether or not the person who they helped knew of the falsity or fraud. A skilled local lawyer could determine whether a person’s tax issue was a minor mistake or the result of a fraudulent return, and proceed accordingly.
Civil Penalties for Tax Fraud
In addition to the penalties outlined above, Minnesota law imposes severe civil penalties for those who do not properly file their taxes. The most common civil penalties are imposed on those who file late. Someone who fails to file their taxes within 6 months of the due date will face an additional penalty of 5% of the amount of taxes that have not been paid. This means that if an individual owes $10,000 in taxes and fails to file within 6 months of the due date, they will be required to pay an additional $500.
Additionally, someone who fails to pay their taxes within 180 days after the filing of their return will also be assessed a 5% penalty. If you receive a written demand to file a tax return and do not do so within 30 days, a $100 or 5% penalty will be assessed. Which penalty is assessed is determined by whichever number is greater. An experienced attorney could further explain and help mitigate the civil penalties often levied for tax fraud.
How a Bloomington Attorney Could Help
If you have been charged with tax fraud, it is important that you have an attorney assist you with this complex process. Tax fraud offenses carry severe criminal and civil penalties. An attorney could present any defenses you have and minimize the consequences if you are convicted. If you have been charged, contact a Bloomington tax fraud lawyer at the BK Law Group today.