If a tax auditor has reason to believe that you have been involved in sales tax irregularities of any kind, then you may be contacted by an investigator. It is easy to say the wrong things if you discuss your finances with an investigator, especially if you didn’t expect a visit. If you incriminate yourself without realizing, you could face a charge of tax fraud. As tax fraud offenses are felonies, you could easily face several years in a state prison and massive fines if you are convicted, even if you didn’t realize that you were committing an offense.
If you suspect that you may be investigated or have reason to believe that a visit from a tax investigator from the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) is imminent then you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In no circumstances should you discuss your finances with a tax investigator without an attorney present.
What might be considered sales tax fraud
Any of the following could be considered sales tax fraud:
• failure to file taxes correctly;
• failure to pay any taxes you owe;
• helping someone else submit fraudulent tax records;
• submitting tax records that are fraudulent yourself;
• falsifying claims on sales tax returns;
• failing to file correct exempt and gross sales;
• submitting false records to avoid paying sales tax.
Penalties for tax fraud
The penalties depend on how much sales tax has not been paid correctly, whether because of alleged tax evasion or tax fraud.
• Over $300 but less than $20,000 is considered a 3rd degree felony. You could face up to 5 years in a state prison and up to $5,000 in fines if convicted.
• Over $20,000 but less than $100,000 is considered a 2nd degree felony. You could face up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines if convicted.
• Over $100,000 is considered a 1st degree felony. You could face up to 30 years in prison and up to$10,000 in fines.
Tax investigators should be treated as if they were police officers
It is easy to say the wrong thing when interviewed by a tax investigator. You could implicate yourself in a crime which you didn’t commit or didn’t realize was so potentially serious. Tax fraud is what is called a white collar crime. Maybe because these crimes rarely involve people being physically hurt, they carry less stigma than other crimes, like robbery or assault. However, don’t think that they aren’t serious. It is far better to pay the right amount of tax if it is thought that you have not paid enough than go to prison for 10 years. The long term consequences of a criminal conviction and several years in prison can be devastating and not worth risking.
The DOR is normally far keener on getting its hands on the tax it thinks is owed rather than pursuing a full blown investigation and trial. As long as you talk to a criminal defense attorney rather than the tax investigator you have a good chance of avoiding a criminal conviction if any tax underpayment, if proven, can be corrected first.
In Miami, contact determined and dedicated criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes Esq. Call him at his law firm office at 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.