The old saying is that the only two things you have to do are die and pay taxes. Some people challenge that tidbit of wisdom by trying to get out of paying taxes, but could wind up charged with tax evasion. These are serious charges that can be the result of complex investigations.

Just to be clear, tax evasion isn’t making a mistake on your taxes. Instead, this charge means that you’re accused of willfully not paying the taxes you should have paid. It can mean that you falsified the returns that you submitted or that you failed to file taxes entirely.

It is possible to face tax evasion charges as an individual, just as it is also possible to be charged based on a company’s business tax returns. The key point here is that you have to have known that you weren’t paying enough in taxes.

Some examples of actions that could lead to tax evasion charges include under-reporting income or over-reporting expenses. These charges are usually levied against people or businesses that deal largely in cash transactions. For example, a server could under-report the amount he or she earned in tips so that the tax bill isn’t as high as it would be if the full tip income was reported.

The laws that govern taxes in the United States are very complex. It is fairly easy to make an error when you are preparing your taxes. If you are facing tax evasion charges, it is crucial that the entire situation is investigated so that you can learn about what option you have for fighting against the charges.

Source: FindLaw, “Tax Evasion,” accessed Dec. 01, 2016