When people find out that the IRS has discovered some significant issues with their taxes, their first thoughts are usually fairly bleak. They assume that things are so dire that the IRS is going to put them in jail for tax fraud. Maybe they’ve just heard too many stories about the strict measures the IRS takes, and they’re worried about their future and their freedom.
While the IRS can put people in jail for tax fraud, with a court conviction, the important thing to ask yourself is whether or not they want to. Is that even the goal?
The first priority: Collecting any money that’s owed
First of all, the IRS doesn’t want to jail American citizens. They want to collect the tax money that is owed. They’re always going to err on the side of simply attempting to rectify the issue. This is similar to when you default on your mortgage. The bank doesn’t want your house and doesn’t want to foreclose. They may do so if they have to, but they just want to collect on the loan.
Second, the burden of proof is very high if the IRS accuses you of deliberate tax fraud or tax evasion. They absolutely have to prove that you did it on purpose, with clear intent, and that you didn’t just make an innocent mistake. So, even in a case where you do go to court, there’s no guarantee that the outcome is jail time.
What should you do when you have a problem with your taxes?
The key is to keep thinking rationally and carefully consider your legal options. This is not the end of the line. When you have a tax problem, there are solutions. Our experienced firm can help you find them.