When people are asked to do their taxes, it sometimes makes them fairly nervous because it’s a complicated process. They know that they might make mistakes. They could make an error when filling how much income they earned during the year, for instance, and end up massively underpaying their taxes.
The reason people don’t want to do this is that they imagine that the IRS is going to arrest them if they do. They’ll be charged with illegally underpaying the government, and they’re worried about all of the ramifications. But is this something you need to be concerned about?
The role of intent
The most important thing to remember with these types of tax situations is that intent is incredibly important. If you intended to under-report that income specifically so that you could pay less in taxes, then this could be counted as a criminal act. Willfully defrauding the government of tax money is illegal, and it is something that the IRS takes very seriously.
On the other side of the coin, however, is the fact that a lot of people make honest mistakes with their taxes. Even business owners may not have tax-specific training, and most people who are filing their personal taxes have never taken any training courses at all. If you make a mistake without intent, though you may have to rectify it later by paying the amount that you owe, it is generally not considered an illegal act.
If you do find yourself accused of breaking the law and you’re worried about what it means for your future, it may be time to start looking into your criminal defense options.