Tax Evasion in Contra Costa County, California
"Tax Evasion" refers to the crime of purposely failing to pay one's taxes, as required by California law.
Usually, the strategy employed by tax evaders in Contra Costa County, California is to try and make it look like they have less taxable income than they actually do. This can be done by failing to report income, concealing it, or fraudulently transferring property.
"Tax evasion" should not be confused with "tax avoidance." Tax evasion is the act of purposely attempting to get out of one's tax liability through unlawful means. Tax avoidance is perfectly legal, and involves utilizing legal strategies (such as taking advantage of deductions and tax credits) to reduce one's legal tax liability. However, someone engaging in tax avoidance typically intends to pay whatever they end up owing, even as they try to reduce the amount they owe.
Penalties for Tax Evasion in Contra Costa County, California
Under the laws of California, as well as federal law, tax evasion is a very significant criminal offense.
Tax evaders in Contra Costa County can be punished by multi-year prison sentences, as well as six-figure fines. Of course, there is a wide range of penalties available, with the ones just mentioned representing the most severe options available.
In most cases, especially when the amount of taxes evaded is small, and it's a first offense, the punishment will normally be fairly mild. It will normally result in an order to pay the taxes the defendant owes, plus a small financial penalty. This is especially likely when it cannot be proven that the failure to pay taxes was willful.
But, if the government can prove that a defendant in Contra Costa County, California purposely concealed income, in order to get out of paying taxes, a court will most likely impose the heaviest penalties allowed by law, including enormous fines, and several years in prison.
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A Contra Costa County, California Tax Evasion Lawyer Can Help
A tax attorney in Contra Costa County, California can ensure that you meet your tax liabilities, which will make an audit, or charge of tax evasion, less likely. Sometimes, it's challenging to determine clearly what one's tax liability is, and a tax attorney can help.
If you find yourself really accused of tax evasion, and are innocent, you should hire a Contra Costa County, California attorney with expertise practicing tax law, as soon as possible. Your tax attorney can help you defend yourself against the charges, ensuring that you have a good chance at being acquitted.