Fraudulent Tax Returns Completed by Tax Preparers Can Cause Legal Issues for Taxpayers
Taxpayers should choose preparers judiciously and know when to seek legal support for tax fraud defense
The federal tax code has become so massive that even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admits that its agents find it challenging to determine exactly how long it is. So it is no surprise that about 60 percent of taxpayers hire tax preparers to complete their returns. Of course, even highly-qualified preparers can make errors interpreting the tax code. But in some cases preparers knowingly prepare fraudulent returns. Unfortunately, using a tax preparer does not eliminate all liability on the part of innocent taxpayers.
A typical tax audit can easily uncover anything from unclaimed income to invalid deductions, but it may not accurately determine the ultimate responsibility for these and other fraudulent activities. The IRS warns that even when it finds a tax preparer to be at fault, the taxpayer is still required to pay the additional taxes, interest and even penalties. Furthermore, taxpayers potentially face criminal penalties in situations such as the following:
- When preparers claim their returns are based solely on information received from their clients
- If the IRS believes a taxpayer knowingly engaged the services of a preparer with a reputation for illicit activities
- When only the taxpayer’s signature appears on the return
Tax evasion is a serious felony crime, punishable by five years of imprisonment along with $250,000 in fines. If the actions of a tax preparer put you at risk for charges, it is vital to seek legal support from an Ohio white collar criminal defense lawyer at the first signs of investigation. An effective tax fraud defense can be as complex as the tax code itself, so it is important to retain an attorney with extensive experience in this type of legal case.