Penalties for Committing Tax Fraud in Georgia
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Tax fraud is a very serious crime in the state of Georgia, although there can be some leniency depending on the circumstances. For example, there is a huge difference between making a small, accidental mistake on your tax forms, versus participating in intentional tax evasion schemes or providing multiple pieces of blatantly fraudulent information on your state tax forms. Here is some information below related to how Georgia tax fraud is identified and penalized.
Forms of Tax Fraud in Georgia
There are many forms of tax fraud that can cause you to incur penalties in the state of Georgia. Some of them are very easy to commit accidentally. You could accidentally forget to include certain information on your tax form or you may transpose numbers by mistake. But, those sorts of errors are usually corrected quickly and are not penalized very much.
The worst forms of tax fraud, which are also the forms that can lead to the worst penalties, are any forms of fraud committed intentionally. For example, if you provide false information on a tax document and it can be proven that you knew the information was false, that is a serious offense. So is the practice of reporting fraudulent earnings, expenditures and deduction requests.
Simply not filing your taxes at all or coming up with other schemes and scams to avoid paying taxes at all is also highly illegal in the state of Georgia. If you need more time to file, you must go through the proper channels to request an extension.
Basic Tax Form Errors Versus Tax Evasion
It is important to know that there is a drastic difference between intentional tax evasion and making accidental errors on your tax form. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is well aware of this. Tax evasion is intentional underpayment of taxes. If you are suspected of tax evasion, then the IRS will investigate your finances carefully. That may lead to a court trial and, if convicted, you could face jail time.
Basic Georgia Tax Fraud Penalties
Basic Georgia tax fraud penalties are usually fairly lenient, especially for first-time offenders who make relatively small errors. You may be asked to simply correct your form and resubmit the proper information. Although, you may also be required to pay a variety of fines and fees, depending on the severity of the offense.
For example, as of the 2016 tax season, you can be charged a five percent fee on top of having to pay back any underpayment. You can also be charged up to $1,000 for having any sort of false information on your income tax form. However, those amounts can change each year, and additional penalties may also apply, depending on any related offenses you may have committed or whether or not it is a first-time offense.
Related Crimes and How They Can Influence Penalties
Taxpayers who commit serious tax fraud in Georgia on purpose often commit other offenses that go hand-in-hand with tax fraud. Among them are embezzlement and money laundering. Embezzlement is stealing money, generally from a company. Money laundering is an attempt to make money gained from committing crimes of any sort look legitimate by filtering it through fake companies or by using other scams to conceal its origins. Both embezzlement and money laundering are generally felony offenses. If you are suspected of them, then you will be facing a court trial and potentially a long period of time in jail.
What to Do If You Have Concerns About Filing Taxes Properly
If you are concerned about potentially being accused of Georgia tax fraud simply because you don’t know how to file your taxes properly, then you should seek professional help. An accountant or a financial planner can assist you with understanding your tax forms. A professional can even file your taxes for you. However, if you find yourself in a complicated tax situation, you might want to hire an actual Georgia tax attorney.
Georgia tax attorneys are familiar with all of the ins and outs of filing taxes in Georgia. The same can be said for most accountants in Georgia, but hiring an attorney, instead, gives you one big advantage. The attorney can assist you in the unlikely event that you are taken to court over issues related to your tax forms. If you don’t employ the services of a Georgia tax attorney to begin with, then you will need to pay for a separate attorney in the event that you are taken to court. That can lead to even more fees that you can’t afford or simply don’t want to pay.