Tax Matters

There could be one of many reasons that you did not file a tax return. Perhaps you are dealing with overwhelming personal or business problems. It is possible that you hold antigovernment sentiments and do not believe in filing taxes. Regardless of your reasons, hiring a tax attorney St Louis may become necessary if you receive a notice from the IRS.

Generally, the US tax system is an honor system where the agency expects taxpayers to willingly pay their obligations. The IRS will encourage non-filers to volunteer to come forward before serious prosecution efforts begin. If done voluntarily, you have a greater chance of working out a payment installation plan or even reducing your tax liability.

Basics of Tax Evasion

It can be a criminal violation for knowingly failing to file a tax return or refusing to pay what you owe on a filed tax return. Commonly known as tax evasion, this crime is not just for notorious gangsters who make money from illegal enterprises. Their activities do not encourage paying taxes. However, this is a serious crime in which anyone refusing to file or pay taxes could be charged.

It is not, however, the policy of the IRS to prosecute people for making simple mistakes. It becomes a question of intent and the IRS reserves the right to prosecute. The agency is known to encourage an amicable solution so you can avoid conviction. Cooperation decreases the likelihood that you will be prosecuted.

Failure to Pay Taxes is a Crime

Blatantly fraudulent behavior increases the odds that the IRS will seek to prosecute you. For example, deriving your income from illegal sources such as racketeering or other criminal activities can lead to prosecution. Failing to file after repeated contacts by the IRS also increases your chances of recommended prosecution charges.

Furthermore, the IRS does not need to prove the precise amount that you owe to convict you of a tax crime. The agency can conduct an audit of your financial situation and the type of income you earn. A tax collector may detect fraud or evasion, which leads to charges being filed. Simply suspecting criminal nonpayment or underpayment can lead to a primary investigation to determine whether criminal charges are necessary.

Enforcement of filings more than six years old are rare, but the agency might request records older than that if an audit turns up the need for more data. Hiring a legal tax professional could help, especially if you have good recordkeeping habits.