Common IRS Tax Crimes That Can Land You in Jail

Curious about which IRS Tax Crimes can land you in prison? They say that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. It’s funny, but it’s true. After all, the U.S. Government even nabbed the infamous 1920s gangster and bootlegger Al Capone for tax evasion. But if you aren’t a notorious rum runner, can you go to jail for not paying taxes? In some cases, you can, but it’s pretty rare for the IRS to send you to jail for making an honest tax mistake. In 2021, the federal courts only sentenced 370 tax fraud offenders. If you’ve made a mistake or haven’t filed your taxes and are feeling overwhelmed by what you might owe, the best thing you can do is contact a tax professional at the Highland Tax Group.

IRS Crimes that Can End in Criminal Charges

Some tax crimes are more likely to end with criminal charges from the IRS, including failing to file, fraud, and helping someone else evade taxes. The IRS won’t typically put you in jail if you don’t pay your taxes, but if you evade taxes and try to hide your income or the assets you have, you could face criminal charges. Tax evasion is a federal crime.

  • Failing to file a tax return: If you fail to file a return when you owe money, you can end up in jail for up to one year for each year you failed to file. The penalties for failing to file are far higher than the original amount of tax you might owe.
  • Misrepresenting your income or credits: Actively or willfully misrepresenting your income or tax credits is more serious than simply failing to file. The average jail time for tax fraud is three to five years, although the sentence depends on the circumstances of each case.
  • Helping someone else evade taxes: You can also face tax evasion charges if you help someone else hide their income or evade taxes.
  • Failing to disclose offshore bank accounts: Americans must pay taxes on foreign income, subject to some exceptions. You could face criminal charges if you have foreign income that you try to conceal in an offshore account.
  • Identity Theft or Using Someone Else’s Tax ID Number: identity theft is an all too common occurrence that can land you in hot water with the IRS. We once represented someone using someone else’s PTIN and EFIN numbers to file fraudulent tax returns on behalf of his clients. Don’t be that guy – the CID or Criminal Investigation Department went after him.

You Need a Tax Professional

If you have a tax problem or questions, it’s time to talk to a tax professional. Contact Highland Tax Group to get started.