Are fraud and negligence both tax crimes?

Receiving word from the Internal Revenue Service that something does not seem right on one's taxes can be alarming. As tax crimes are an issue in Connecticut and elsewhere, the IRS will take the time to investigate. Here is the thing, though — not everyone intentionally commits fraud when doing their taxes. Some people just make mistakes. Negligence and fraud are not the same things, and negligence is not necessarily a crime.

A person is said to have committed income tax fraud when he or she intentionally attempts to defraud the IRS or evade taxes. The key word in that sentence is intentionally. A few examples of tax fraud include:

  • Failing to file a tax return
  • Failure to pay taxes
  • Making false claims
  • Preparing a false return

When people make careless errors on their taxes, this is considered negligence. It is not a crime. However, the IRS will not know if tax mistakes are the result of negligence or fraud without investigating the matter. An example of negligence would be a person taking more deductions or exemptions than he or she probably should. It is not necessarily suspicious but could result in them paying fewer taxes than they should.

Being accused of tax crimes is a big deal. It is not something one can just brush off. If the IRS can prove fraudulent activity, the consequences one might face can be pretty extreme. Connecticut residents who are accused of tax fraud or any other tax crime can turn to legal counsel for assistance addressing the matter as quickly as possible.

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