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What is tax fraud and how does the IRS define it?

If you're like a lot of people here in Missouri, then much of you legal knowledge has probably come from discussions you have had with other people or from television shows you watch. But even though some of this legal knowledge may be sound, the same cannot be said for everything you have heard, which can create misunderstandings on occasion when facing criminal charges.

Take for example your understanding of the term tax fraud. Do you know what this crime entails or how the Internal Revenue Service defines it? If you're like most people then you probably have a general understanding of the term but cannot pinpoint the specifics of what makes it a crime. That's why, in this week's post, we will explain some things about tax fraud that we think will help our readers understand the law better.

According to the IRS, a person can be accused of committing tax fraud if they are believed to have intentionally misrepresented facts regarding their taxes to evade tax law or defraud the IRS in any way. An allegation of tax fraud is incredibly serious and can lead to civil and/or criminal litigation.

Although the Government may pursue civil litigation, which can seek missing tax amounts or assess a civil penalty, criminal litigation allows prosecutors to press criminal charges that can result in fines and even prison sentences. Although the burden of proof is on prosecutors to prove the validity of an accusation, an accused person should still consider getting the help of a knowledgeable attorney to make sure that their rights are protected during the judicial process.

Because of the complexity of the tax code, mistakes can be made. But it's worth pointing out that these mistakes generally do not lead to criminal charges as they were committed out of negligence rather than intentional wrongdoing.

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