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What Are the Penalties for Tax Evasion in New Jersey?

Every United States citizen that makes an income can be subjected to paying taxes. It is unavoidable. When a person tries to avoid paying their taxes they can be found guilty of committing tax fraud or tax evasion. These are serious crimes that can be accompanied by serious consequences. Continue reading to learn about the penalties of tax evasion in New Jersey and how a Bergen County criminal defense attorney can help.

What is Tax Evasion?

Tax evasion is the crime of failing to pay taxes or deliberately underpaying taxes. It is the illegal act of purposefully neglecting to report some or all of your income as a way to avoid paying your taxes. Tax evasion can be found in the form of placing money in unidentifiable accounts, falsely claiming dependents, pretending that business expenses cost more than they are, or lying about your source of income or amount of income you receive. Any action that you take to appear as if you make less money than you do and therefore do not have to pay the full extent of your taxes can be considered tax evasion.

Will I Go to Jail for Tax Evasion in NJ?

Tax evasion is a serious crime in New Jersey that is punishable with harsh consequences. It is an indictable crime (similar to a felony charge in other states) and if found guilty you could receive the following penalties.

  • Fines up to $100,000 for each conviction
  • Imprisonment of up to 5 years per count of tax evasion
  • Probation
  • Have to pay back the taxes you owe plus interest and penalties

What Are Some Effective Defenses?

If you are being charged with tax evasion in New Jersey the first thing you should do is acquire the services of a skilled attorney. Because of the potential severe penalties you will want a skilled lawyer on your side working to get your charges lessened or dismissed. With the help of a good lawyer and a strong defense you can avoid the full extent of the state’s punishment. The following are examples of defenses that may work for you.

  • Lack of intent: If you did not know that you were breaking the law then you could argue that the crime was not done willfully. Maybe you did not understand what you were doing, made a mistake, or failed to file a tax return but did not intend to avoid paying your taxes.
  • You relied on a professional: If you were reliant on a professional such as an accountant or lawyer and they falsely filed for you, you may be able to use this defense.
  • Improper audit: The audit may have not been done according to proper procedure, meaning that the results are inadmissible.

There may be more or less defenses that work for you depending on the specific circumstances of your situation. Speak with your attorney to discuss which defense may work best for you.

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