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Income tax fraud requires more than a simple oversight

Income tax fraud is a crime that the federal government takes very seriously. If you are accused of income tax fraud, which might be termed income tax evasion, you should understand some of the basic information about these charges.

One thing that you might not realize about income tax fraud is that it takes more than a simple oversight for you to be charged with this crime. Instead, you must have purposely tried to defraud the government by making misstatements on your income tax returns.

Investigation of tax fraud

Tax fraud investigations come from an audit of your income taxes. This can occur for a business or an individual, depending on the type of tax return that is at the subject of the audit. The IRS Criminal Investigation unit handles investigations into suspected tax fraud and other similar crimes.

Tax fraud takes many forms

Tax fraud doesn't happen in only one form. Instead, there are several different things that can lead to this charge. Misrepresenting your income or your ability to claim tax deductions or credits can lead to these charges. Not paying the taxes that you have due or failing to file an income tax return can lead to criminal charges. Essentially, anything that is is willful misstatement of fact on your tax returns constitutes tax fraud.

Time limits apply

In most cases, the IRS has three years to audit a return. If it is determined that at least 25 percent of the income was omitted from the return, the time limit for an investigation into tax fraud increases to six years. In some cases, the IRS will ask the subject of an investigation to give the agency more time to complete the investigation. This comes in the form of a letter that you are asked to sign and return. This gives the IRS one more year for the investigation. If you get this letter, you should work with a professional to determine how to respond.

Planning your defense

The penalties for tax fraud convictions are serious. You face imprisonment in the federal prison system and fines if you are convicted of the crime. This has to be your wake-up call to get started on your defense.

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