Tax evasion defense conclusion: Intentional conduct

Over the past several weeks, this column has discussed various defense strategies that may be available to Connecticut residents who are accused of evading taxes. This week, to close out the series on this subject, one more tax evasion defense strategy will be shared. The final defense available has to do with intentional conduct.

In any criminal case, there are certain elements that must exist in order for prosecuting attorneys to achieve a conviction. When it comes to tax evasion, they must prove that the accused intended to defraud the government and that intent was shown in the accused's actions. Without intent, criminal cases are usually dead in the water.

A decent example of tax evasion and the existence of intentional conduct was recently shared in the news. A man in another state was charged with evading taxes between the years 2007 and 2017. This individual ultimately decided to plead guilty, as prosecuting attorneys were likely able to show that he intentionally evaded taxes by diverting money from his business to himself for personal use and by failing to pay sales tax. Paper and/or digital trails typically exist in these cases, and with some detective work, a person's intent can be quickly found out. This individual has been ordered to spend three months in jail and pay $300,000 in restitution.

Tax evasion does occur, and punishments are in place for those found guilty of it. Not everyone accused of evading taxes is guilty, though, or the government may lack the information it needs to successfully prove that one is guilty. While paper and digital trails can break a case, they can also make a case by showing that one did not intentionally take any actions to purposely defraud the government. Connecticut residents may be able to have the evasion charges dropped by claiming intentional conduct does not exist in their cases. Legal counsel can help individuals charged with tax evasion utilize this or any of the other defense strategies discussed over the past few weeks, if doing so proves in their best interests.

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