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Is Tax Evasion a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

Whether tax evasion is a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the amount of money you would have owed if you had filed a correctly completed income tax return; you can get felony charges if the amount is more than $3,000.

Wesley Snipes served three years in prison and then had to pay the government more than $9 million. Mike “The Situation” from Jersey Shore served eight months in prison. Ja Rule served a prison sentence of nearly two years. In the 90s, Darryl Strawberry spent three months behind bars and three months under house arrest. Even Sophia Loren spent 17 days in jail back in 1982. The reason? Tax evasion. If it can happen to these celebrities, it can happen to you. Tax evasion convictions do not always lead to prison time, whether for celebrities or for the 99%, but even if you do not get a prison sentence, you could still be sentenced to probation, or the court could require you to pay back all the taxes you thought you were cleverly avoiding, or even more. In other words, you should take tax evasion charges seriously and contact an Atlanta tax evasion defense lawyer.

Tax Evasion is More Than Just Making a Mistake on Your Tax Return

Every year during tax season, you probably brainstorm and research all the ways you can get the biggest possible tax deductions and tax credits. Maybe you make spreadsheets of every expense that could possibly be tax deductible, only for your accountant to tell you that, not only are your expenses not tax deductible, but you are in a tax bracket that requires a higher tax rate than last year, when your income was $2,000 less, so your tax refund is not even enough to buy a new pair of sunglasses. The temptation to lie on your tax returns is understandable.

Yes, lots of people underreport their income or inflate their deductible expenses, and most of them do not get criminal charges for tax evasion, but you might not be so lucky. Tax evasion is a misdemeanor if the amount of taxes you are accused of evading is $3,000 or less. If the amount is more than that, tax evasion is a felony, and the punishment is one to five years in prison, plus a fine of up to $100,000. (If the tax return in question is a business, the responsible party could be sentenced to one to five years in prison and pay a fine of up to $500,000.00.) In addition to all of this, you will also have to pay back all the taxes you were supposed to pay in the first place. Many tax evasion cases begin when someone who obviously has a high income does not file an income tax return at all.

Tax Trouble is Legal Trouble, and a Lawyer Can Help

A criminal defense lawyer can help you fight charges of misdemeanor or felony tax evasion. Contact the defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam in Atlanta, Georgia about tax evasion cases.