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Tax evasion defense part III: Statute of limitations expired

As stated in two recently published posts for this column, evading taxes is a crime with serious consequences for Connecticut residents. Of course, it is necessary for the Internal Revenue Service to provide evidence that one has actually committed the crime and any audit requests and charges brought against the accused have to be filed in a specific time frame. In a continuation of the tax evasion defense series, the statute of limitations will now be discussed.

The statute of limitations, which is simply a limit for how long legal actions can be taken against a person, is put in place so that no one has to live with the threat of legal action for the rest of his or her life. When it comes to taxes, the statutes of limitations that exist are for three years, six years and no time limit. For personal income taxes, the IRS has three years to request an audit. The time frame doubles to six years if a person failed to report 25 percent or more of his or her income. There is no time limit for the IRS to pursue an audit or press charges if a person has never filed taxes or has filed fraudulent returns.

So, in cases of tax evasion, the IRS has six or more years to go after the individual accused of failing to pay taxes in full. The exact amount of time the IRS has depends on what the agency is accusing the taxpayer of. Keeping detailed tax records for a minimum of seven years -- longer if possible -- can prove helpful if questions about one's tax returns ever arise.

Connecticut residents who are accused of tax evasion can help themselves by seeking out legal counsel as soon as possible. In some cases, it may be possible to successfully claim that the statute of limitations has expired, preventing the IRS from taking any action. Those who want to learn more about this and other defense options can speak to an experienced tax attorney.

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