Tax Evasion Lawyers in Santa Maria
"Tax Evasion" refers to the crime of knowingly failing to pay one's taxes, as required by California law.
Typically, the strategy employed by tax evaders in Santa Maria, 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.
It's important not to confuse "tax avoidance" and "tax evasion." They are two different things, but some people mistakenly use them interchangeably. Tax avoidance involves utilizing legal methods, such as tax deductions and exemptions, in a strategic manner, for the purpose of reducing one's tax liability. Tax avoidance is perfectly legal. Tax evasion involves fraud, and a deliberate attempt to avoid meeting one's legal commitments to pay taxes.
Penalties for Tax Evasion in Santa Maria, California
Both federal law and the law of California treat tax evasion as a serious criminal offense.
Tax evaders in Santa Maria 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 usually be fairly mild. It will usually 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.
However, if it can be clearly proven that a person or corporation in Santa Maria, California knowingly attempted to conceal income or assets for the purpose of getting out of taxes, a court will probably throw the book at them, so to speak. This can mean jail sentences measured in years, and fines in the six or seven figures.
A Santa Maria, California Tax Evasion Lawyer Can Help
An attorney in Santa Maria, California specializing in tax law can help you adhere with all the tax laws that apply to you, which makes it very unlikely that you'll ever be accused of tax evasion in the first place.
If you find yourself actually accused of tax evasion, and are innocent, you should hire a Santa Maria, 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.