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Tax evasion: A mistake versus intentional fraud

Is tax evasions really a serious crime? What happens if you're caught missing or skipping your taxes in Minnesota? The government can file charges against you for fraudulent behavior, but it also is aware that mistakes happen.

It's important to know that mistakes themselves are not considered to be tax fraud, so you shouldn't have to be concerned if you underpaid due to an honest mistake and are willing to rectify the situation. The tax codes for the United States are complicated, and it's understandable that mistakes take place.

Even when trying to do your taxes correctly, it's possible to underpay, or even overpay. If you did try to pay your taxes and the Internal Revenue Service can see that, then you should simply pay your taxes as they're due and do your best to correctly file them in the future.

Tax evasion can come in a number of forms, from avoiding filing taxes to underreporting income. It may not be uncommon for someone who deals in primarily cash-based payments to say they're making less than they are, but that's still fraud in the eyes of the government. Failing to file taxes makes it impossible for the government to audit a person's finances, and that can be a signal that fraud is taking place as well.

Of course, there may be no fraud taking place; maybe a person didn't earn anything for a year and has nothing to claim. It's important to file taxes regardless, so the government is able to accurately collect taxes or pay out benefits or refunds as necessary.

Source: FindLaw, "Tax Evasion," accessed Feb. 11, 2016

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