Tax evasion can be shown when the following three elements are present:
- The existence of a tax deficiency
- An attempt to evade or defeat tax
The IRS reported 2,672 convictions for criminal tax violations in the 2016 fiscal year. While criminal tax charges are not common, the penalties —which can include jail time — are severe enough to cause any taxpayer to be concerned.
Most criminal tax penalties can result in a five-year prison sentence and $100,000 fine. You can also be charged with civil penalties for the same violations, and you may have any professional licenses revoked.
Common Criminal Tax Violations
If you have an interest in an offshore bank account or another type of foreign financial account, you may be required to file a yearly report for the account with the Department of Treasury. The penalties for not filing Form FinCEN 114 are costly, and if you have been putting off disclosing your foreign bank accounts to the IRS, you should be aware of the risks you face by continuing to hide your offshore accounts.
There can be both criminal and civil penalties for failing to satisfy your Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) requirements. Criminal penalties can include up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The willful failure to file FBAR is also a felony that can result in the loss of your right to vote, revocation of professional licenses for attorneys, doctors, and other professionals, and deportation of green card holders.