Sometimes mistakes are made when handling taxes, but what can start out with a simple audit can end up as a criminal indictment for tax crime. Both the state and federal government have an obvious incentive to prosecute tax crime: it means more money for the government. If you, your business, or someone that you know has been charged with a state or federal tax crime in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or greater Florida area, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side. With over thirty years of state and federal litigation experience, the Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C. can provide you with the skilled defense you need against overly aggressive state and federal tax prosecutors.
Types of Tax Crime
Tax crime is a general term for multiple charges that can be brought under the state and federal tax codes. Florida law is governed by Title XIV of the state statute, and the federal law is governed by Chapter 26 of the United States Code. Tax evasion and tax fraud are the two most common types of tax crime. This involves the deliberate misrepresentation of assets in order to avoid paying taxes. The following activities can all be considered different types of tax crime:
- Under-reporting assets;
- Overstating tax deductions;
- Filing false tax returns;
- Failing to pay employees’ payroll withholding tax
- Sales tax fraud;
- Failing to report offshore bank accounts or international income;
…and other activities that are considered violations of the tax codes.
Additionally, state and federal prosecutors will frequently tack on other white collar charges, such as money laundering or wire fraud, in order to make the potential punishments more severe. This serves as a powerful weapon when deployed against an individual defendant who faces potential fines, incarceration, and other harsh consequences.
Florida and Federal Tax Crime Penalties
The penalties for tax crime vary widely depending on the specific type of tax crime committed and the amount in question. On the state level, Florida tax evasion can be a misdemeanor or a felony offense. If convicted, you are responsible for paying back 100% of your tax bill and the following:
- Less than $300: Misdemeanor for 1st and 2nd offenses, 3rd degree felony for 3rd offense;
- Between $300 and $20,000: 3rd degree felony;
- Between $20,000 and $100,000: 2nd degree felony; and
- More than $100,000: 1st degree felony.
Misdemeanor crimes carry up to a one-year jail sentence, and felony convictions can be five, fifteen, or even thirty year prison sentences. Each count also carries its own civil fine in addition to the tax bill that you are already required to pay.
On the federal level, the punishments for tax crimes can be even more severe. Civil and criminal penalties apply to federal tax crimes. Criminally, the IRS can impose prison sentences and fines for each charge in a tax crime. Additionally, the federal government can sue you in civil court for additional money damages. For example, failure to file a tax return results in a 5% penalty per month until it is paid. For accuracy-related charges, a 20% penalty applies. For the charge of tax fraud, a 75% penalty applies.
Let a Florida Tax Crime Attorney Help
Tax law is one of the most confusing areas of the legal system, and a simple misstep can lead to major consequences. If you, your business, or a loved one is facing tax law violations, let the Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C. help. With access to experienced forensic accountants and other dedicated tax professionals, Tony Moss can build a skilled defense team for your case. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential review of your case. Everyone should get the best defense possible, because fairness and justice are essential human values that we all deserve.