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What Are the Penalties for Tax Evasion in California?

Tax evasion is a prevalent type of theft crime that falls under the umbrella of “white-collar crimes.” That said, if you’re found guilty, you risk facing years of incarceration, high fines, and more. Read on and reach out to a dedicated Red Bluff criminal lawyer from Cohen Criminal Law to learn more about the potential penalties for tax evasion charges in California and how our legal team can help if you’re facing this charge. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What is tax evasion?

Tax evasion is when someone avoids paying taxes owed to the government. This can take many forms, including underreporting your income or overstating your deductions, hiding your money or assets in offshore accounts or shell companies, failing to file your tax returns or pay your taxes on time, using fraudulent documents or information to reduce your tax liability, and more.

Tax evasion is different from tax avoidance, which is the legal use of tax laws and strategies to minimize your tax burden. Tax avoidance is not a crime, as long as you follow the rules and report your income and expenses accurately.

What are the potential penalties?

If you are caught evading taxes in California, can potentially face both civil and criminal penalties. Civil penalties are imposed by the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and can include the following:

  • Claims for unpaid taxes plus interest and penalties for late payments
  • Liens on your property or assets until you pay your taxes
  • Seizure of your property or assets
  • Collection fees and costs

Criminal penalties, on the other hand, are imposed by the courts, and can entail the following:

  • Up to one year of incarceration
  • A potential $20,000 fine
  • Probation or parole
  • Restitution to the government

Criminal penalties can vary depending on the severity of the offense, the amount of tax evaded, and your prior criminal history. Importantly, if you’re found guilty of committing the crime of tax evasion, you will develop a criminal record, which will follow you for years to come. For this reason, among others, any accusation of tax evasion should be taken very seriously, and you should never face such a charge without a competent Tehama County criminal defense attorney in your corner. Contact Cohen Criminal Law today so we can get started working on your case.