Fraud and tax evasion can be punishable by substantial terms of imprisonment, in addition to steep financial penalties.
Don’t let it get to that point. Let an experienced fraud defense lawyer with Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC help you prepare a strong defense. Time is of the essence, so call or contact us online today to schedule your consultation.
What is tax fraud?
Tax fraud occurs when an individual or business willfully and intentionally falsifies information on their tax return to avoid paying taxes. The act must be intentional –oftentimes the government will show that the motivation is greed rather than an honest mistake. The following are all considered tax fraud in Georgia:
- Filing any tax return, protest, report, or refund claim using false or fraudulent statements that are known by the filer to be false.
- Knowingly and intentionally omitting any circumstance, fact, condition, or thing on a written document, when the omission constitutes a material misrepresentation or misstatement of facts.
- Any plan, scheme, device, or trick to avoid or attempt to avoid paying taxes, interest, license, or penalties owed to the state.
Convicting someone of tax fraud hinges on proving that they knowingly and willfully committed the acts or omissions when preparing the tax return or filling our tax documents with the intent to defraud Georgia.
Types of tax fraud
Although some mistakes might be unintentional errors by an individual or tax preparer such as not understanding the new tax laws, or what qualifies as income or a legitimate deduction, there are certain actions that qualify as deliberate tax fraud.
The IRS or Georgia DOR may examine your tax returns and have charges filed against you if it perceives your actions constituted willful tax fraud or tax evasion. If the authorities have requested an audit, call our skilled Georgia tax fraud lawyers immediately. We’ll protect your rights and defend you against the following charges.
Underreporting income essentially claims that you made less money than you actually did. It can include failure to report “gig” income or stating employment income as less than what you were actually paid. It may also be a cause of including personal expenses as business expenses or illegitimate business deductions.
Hiding the source of income or the amount of income is considered hiding assets. This could include funds in an offshore bank account or hiding the title to a property.
Claiming false deductions
False deductions are tax deductions you claim that you aren’t entitled to. This could include claiming a dependent that you are not entitled to claim or stating that you qualify for a deduction when your situation doesn’t warrant it.
Filing false returns
Filing false tax returns can include multiple types of providing false statements. This could include making false declarations on your own tax return or filing a tax return for someone else that contains false statements. Filing false returns also includes fraudulently signing any document required by the Georgia DOR.
Consequences of tax fraud
In Georgia, a tax fraud conviction can carry a penalty of substantial imprisonment, in addition to paying court-ordered restitution to the state and other associated fines.
Prosecutors often charge tax fraud in conjunction with other types of financial crimes, like wire fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, embezzlement, or other similar charges. Many types of state tax fraud crimes are also federal crimes, so the defendant may be subject to federal charges, too.
Federal and state authorities prosecute tax crimes that can carry decades of potential prison time. The specific types of criminal penalties vary by the offense charged. The Internal Revenue Service publishes a Tax Crimes Handbook with exhaustive summaries of potential tax crimes and penalties. Fines and restitution are also likely to be ordered to be paid.
The civil penalties for Georgia tax fraud depend on the type of fraud, negligence, oversight, or deliberate obfuscation of the actual tax liability owed by an individual or corporation.
|Late Filing||Submitting tax returns past the filing deadline||5% of the tax owed, plus 5% each subsequent month the tax is late, up to 25% of the taxes due.|
|Late Payment||Failure to pay owed tax by the due date||0.5% of unpaid tax, plus 0.5% for each subsequent month tax is unpaid, not to exceed 25% of the taxes due.|
|Frivolous Return||Information on the tax return is filed with incomplete information to determine the tax owed; or with intent to delay tax collection||$1,000|
|Negligent Underpayment||Underpayment of tax due to disregard of filing requirements or other oversight||5% of the underpayment of the taxes that were due.|
|Fraudulent Underpayment||Underpayment due to fraud||50% of the tax owed|
|Failure to Pay Estimated Tax (Individual)||Underpayment of estimated taxes owed||9% per year of underpaid taxes owed|
|Failure to Pay Estimated Tax (Corporate)||Underpayment of estimated taxes owed||9% of the tax owed per year plus 5% of Georgia state income tax owed|
Once the Georgia Department of Revenue determines the actual amount that you or your business owes, it will assess the appropriate penalty based on its calculation of the amount you owe.
Repayment of taxes owed
The penalties assessed for tax fraud include paying back the taxes that the Georgia DOR determines that you actually owed. You may be required to pay interest on the amount, too.
Loss of professional license
Tax professionals, like CPAs, who knowingly submit a fraudulent tax return, hide assets, or otherwise are complicit in filing false returns on behalf of clients may have their license suspended or lose it altogether. The Georgia State Board of Accountancy licenses and regulates certified professional accountants in the state and may censure or fine CPAs who face tax fraud charges.
Tax fraud investigations and defenses
A tax fraud conviction relies on the prosecutor proving that the accused knowingly and intentionally submitted false or deceptive tax information or deliberately withheld assets from taxation. Therefore, the primary defense against tax fraud is building a case that you didn’t willfully or intentionally defraud the state. In other words, you made a mistake.
Other defenses that your Georgia tax fraud lawyers may use in your case include contesting the search and seizure of evidence that the prosecutor may use in your case, such as account seizures or forfeiture of assets.
Georgia officials must follow certain procedures and protocols when conducting searches and seizures in tax fraud cases; if they fail to do so, then any evidence gathered from that search is inadmissible.
How a tax fraud lawyer can help
The state takes tax fraud and evasion crimes very seriously and has extensive means to investigate and prosecute them. They have several resources at their disposal, including forensic accountants whose job is to comb through your financial records and tax filings to build a case on behalf of the state.
Our Georgia tax fraud lawyers will work tenaciously alongside our own experts to protect your professional reputation and the assets you’ve earned. We’ll present the defenses and evidence supporting a reduction or dismissal of your charges and will negotiate with the state so that you can keep your professional and personal life as normal as possible.
Contact Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC to speak with a Georgia tax fraud lawyer.
The Georgia white-collar crime defense attorneys with Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC will be beside you every step of the way, zealously advocating to protect your rights. We’ll develop a strong defense against the charges filed against you and will explain each step in the process of helping protect your reputation and freedom.
Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Georgia tax fraud lawyers by calling either of our offices: Atlanta at (404) 891-9150 or Savannah at (912) 867-9140.