Each year, people in Minnesota and other localities must pay their state and federal taxes. Sometimes, people may take steps to avoid paying their taxes. This may be in an attempt to retain more of their annual income, to keep from providing proof of some type of criminal activity or for any other number of reasons. Actively taking action to avoid paying taxes may be considered tax evasion, a serious offense that carries potentially life-changing penalties.
In general, tax evasion is a type of tax fraud. According to the Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, tax evasion is the use of illegal means in order to avoid tax liabilities. Typically, this involves individual people or corporations misrepresenting their income to the Internal Revenue Service in some way.
There are a number of actions that may constitute tax evasion under federal law. For instance, people may be charged with this offense if they only declare a portion of their income in an effort to avoid paying taxes. Purposely overstating their deductions or expenses may also be considered tax evasion. Additionally, neglecting to file tax returns to keep from paying the taxes on taxable income may result in tax evasion charges.
The Internal Revenue Service points out that tax evasion is a felony level offense under federal law. Further, the law dictates the penalties that people should face if they are convicted of this offense. This includes a fine of up to $250,000, a maximum of five years in prison or both. Additionally, people who are convicted of this offense may also be held liable for the costs of prosecution.