It doesn't matter if you complete and file your own income tax return or hire a professional to assist you, there is always the chance that you will make a mistake.
It goes without saying that you do your best to avoid mistakes, but these have a way of popping up every now and again. After all, there is nothing simple about the IRS tax code.
The IRS is well aware of the fact that its tax code can be complicated at times. While they don't want you to make mistakes on your tax return, they realize that this can and will happen every so often.
Is a mistake the same as fraud?
Many people believe that a simple tax mistake is the same as fraud. This is not the case now and never will be in the future.
Even for the most experienced tax professionals, mistakes happen from time to time.
You should do your best to avoid mistakes, but if you make one, it doesn't mean that the IRS will come after you with criminal charges. Instead, you will need to amend your return to make things right.
Tax fraud is very real
Of course, there are times when tax fraud comes into play. An example of this is tax evasion, which is when a person makes a calculated decision to hide income from taxation.
There are many ways of doing so, such as by underreporting cash earnings or attempting to hide income in offshore accounts.
Tax fraud is extremely serious, as a conviction could lead to a large fine and/or time in prison.
If you have reason to believe that you are being investigated for tax fraud, maybe because you received a letter from the IRS, you need to learn more about your legal rights. By consulting with a legal professional, you can better understand what is happening and how to clear your name.