Criminal Failure to File Tax Returns
Maryland Criminal Tax Attorneys - Representing clients facing IRS tax fraud charges in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and surrounding areas
As an individual or business owner, filing a yearly or quarterly tax return can be very burdensome and time-consuming. If you are facing a federal or state level failure to file charge, you may be feeling extremely overwhelmed and unsure where to turn. The penalties and fines associated with criminal failure to file charges can be extremely arduous and costly; however, there are a number of defenses to these charges that a knowledgeable tax attorney can help develop and assert on your behalf.
If you are currently under investigation or have been threatened with an IRS failure to file penalty, we encourage you to contact theBaltimore tax attorneys at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg right away. We can help minimize your exposure to criminal culpability and get you on your way to a positive resolution to these charges.
How a Criminal Tax Investigation is Initiated
Income taxes must be filed with both the federal Internal Revenue Service and the Maryland State Comptroller. On the federal level, your punishment will begin with a failure-to-file penalty, which is imposed as soon as the deadline for filing your income tax return has lapsed. In general, this penalty is calculated as 5 percent of the unpaid tax amount, but could rise up to 25 percent.
Keep in mind, this failure-to-file penalty is distinct from the failure-to-pay penalty, which is calculated as one to one and one-half percent of the outstanding tax due, up to 25 percent.
If an obligor still has not filed his or her tax return after the imposition of fines and penalties, the federal government will begin pursuing more aggressive options. According to Section 25.1.7 of the Internal Revenue Manual, the investigation begins with a non-filer pre-screening conference. At this time, federal authorities will review whether a fraud is occurring and will continue with an audit of the non-filer. If the compliance officer confirms the fraud, the case will be given a criminal referral.
Under federal law, willfully failing to file a tax return is a misdemeanor, whereas an “overt act of evasion” is considered a felony.
Under Maryland law, failing to file a state tax return is handled by the Maryland Comptroller’s Office. In Maryland, the process begins when the Comptroller sends the obligated party an Information Request Notice. This occurs when Maryland receives records for a particular taxpayer from the IRS that do not match the state’s information, including the non-receipt of a state return.
If a taxpayer fails to respond to this notice, more aggressive action may occur, including wage garnishment or the placement of a lien against the taxpayer’s property. Under Maryland law, penalties for failing to file a tax return include a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison upon a showing of willful and purposeful tax fraud and evasion.
Defenses to a Failure to File Charge
There are a number of available defenses to a failure to file charge. First and foremost, the most severe state and federal failure to file penalties involve a clear mental intent requirement. In other words, tax authorities must show that you failed to file your tax return willfully and purposely. Mere negligence, accident, oversight or inaccuracies will not give rise to the hefty felony-level penalties awaiting the most severe tax evaders and non-filers.
By working with the experienced Baltimore criminal tax attorneys of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, you can ensure that government regulators meet this burden and are able to show an actual mental intent on your part before proceeding with charges against you. Otherwise, your alleged misconduct is a mere civil issue and does not give rise to actual criminal culpability.
Another defense to a failure to file charge may be available if you are one of the thousands of Maryland residents serving on active duty in the U.S. military. Federal and state laws protect service members from unfair legal proceedings initiated in their absence, and allow for an additional period of time to file tax returns if the delay was due to unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances relating to service in the military.
You may also be able to defend against a failure to file charge by showing that you fit into one of the categories of people not actually required to file a tax return to the IRS or Maryland authorities. Depending upon your income level and several other factors, you or your business may be exempt from filing a tax return, thereby alleviating any possible criminal liability.
If you have neglected to file a state or federal tax return and this occurred as a result of mere oversight, absence from the jurisdiction or a similar unintentional issue, our attorneys can help you combat the government’s charges and mount a comprehensive defenses – thereby protecting your livelihood and hard-earned income from unnecessary fines, penalties or incarceration.
Contact Tax Defense Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland Today
If you are under investigation, facing an audit, or recently received correspondence from federal or state taxation authorities regarding an alleged failure to file an income tax return, please contact our office as quickly as possible. The Maryland tax attorneys at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg can help you avoid an IRS failure to file penalty and can help protect you and your business from criminal sanctions.
For more information or to make an appointment, call Brian Crepeau at 410.649.4981 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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