Any person who willfully attempts to evade or defeat a tax imposed by law is subject to criminal prosecution. A conviction for tax evasion under federal law is a felony offense and carries a fine of not more than $500,000.00 and imprisonment not to exceed 5 years.
In order for the federal government to obtain a conviction for tax evasion, a prosecutor is required to prove the following 3 elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) willfulness, (2) the existence of a tax deficiency, and (3) an affirmative act constituting an attempt to evade or defeat payment of the tax. What are examples of affirmative acts associated with an attempt to evade or defeat payment of a tax? Affirmative acts could include the following: concealing the nature, extent, and ownership of your assets by placing them in the names of other people; dealing only in cash in order to avoid creating a financial record; maintaining no bank accounts; falsely telling an IRS agent that you don't own any property; causing your obligations to be paid in the name of another person; failing to file tax returns; and paying creditors instead of paying your taxes.
The failure to file a tax return is not the same as the willful attempt to evade the payment of taxes. The willful failure to pay a tax when due is a misdemeanor offense under federal law, but the willful attempt to defeat and evade a tax is a more serious felony level offense and requires some affirmative action as referenced in the above examples. If you have been charged in Minnesota with tax evasion, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your freedom. Attorney Robert J. Shane has over 30 years of experience defending the freedom of the accused. Call now for a free phone consultation at (612) 339-1024.