Federal income tax evasion represents one of the most serious federal charges you can face in Mississippi. If Internal Revenue Service investigators believe that you deliberately and knowingly committed some type of tax fraud, the IRS has two choices: it can sue you civilly or it can ask that federal prosecutors bring criminal charges against you.

Keep in mind that as FindLaw explains, mere mistakes on your part regarding your federal income tax return do not rise to the level of tax evasion. For instance, if you make an inadvertent calculation error when determining the amount of income taxes you owe, no one will sue you for tax evasion, either civilly or criminally. The IRS will simply contact you, tell you about your error, and tell you how and when you must pay any additional taxes it believes you owe. It can and will, however, demand that you pay interest and possibly penalties on the amount owed from the date on which you filed your incorrect tax return.

Tax evasion examples

Tax evasion itself can take many forms, including the following deliberate and knowing acts:

  • You fail to report some of the income you earned during the year.
  • You take deductions or exemptions to which you are not entitled.
  • You put some of your property or assets in someone else’s name so as to hide the fact that you own them yourself.
  • You destroy your underlying financial records so as to attempt to leave no paper trail.
  • You fail to file your tax return when due.
  • You file, but the return you file is somehow fraudulent.

Criminal Penalties

You will face severe penalties if the government convicts you of criminal tax evasion. Each type of evasion carries its own penalties. For instance, if convicted of failing to file a tax return, you face one year in federal prison plus a fine of $100,000 for each year you failed to file. Maximum fines generally remain the same for all types of criminal tax evasion, but the maximum prison sentences increase. Three years represents the maximum sentence for filing a fraudulent return, while five years represents the maximum sentence for underreporting your income.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.