New York Tax Fraud Lawyer

Everyone is required to pay taxes. Many of these, such as sales taxes or gasoline taxes, are unavoidable since they are levied at the point of sale. Others, like income or property taxes, are collected on an annual or quarterly basis.

There are any number of governmental agencies that are capable of collecting taxes including the federal government, the State or even the city. Since the government relies on these taxes to fund their activities, any person who fails to pay will be prosecuted.

New York tax fraud lawyers represent people who are facing criminal prosecution for false reporting of taxes to the State of New York. Experienced fraud attorneys can try to demonstrate that the alleged fraud does not rise to the level of criminal activity that is required under the law and so defend against these charges.

New York Tax Fraud Laws

Tax fraud in New York carries a number of definitions under New York Tax Law 1801. These include:

  • Failing to sign, file, or otherwise complete a required tax form
  • Knowing that a tax form contains incorrect information
  • Engaging in a scheme to defraud a tax agency
  • Distributing a false certificate stating that taxes do not need to be collected on an item.

What is important to note about all of these violations is that the accused needs to have a specific frame of mind when committing these acts. Known as the mens rea, all violations of the criminal code require that the defendant have some knowledge of the alleged criminal activity.

For tax fraud, all of the examples listed above require that the defendant willfully engage in these activities. This means that if someone accidentally misplaces a comma in a tax return, the State will have difficulty proving willful tax fraud. It is in this way that most defenses to tax fraud are argued.

Since the State bears the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, even as to their mens rea, the State needs to prove that the defendant intentionally committed the crime.

Potential Penalties for Tax Fraud

Violations of the tax fraud law are punished in accordance with the amount of money that is proven to be stolen. A New York tax fraud lawyer knows there are five degrees of a fraud offense. These are:

  • First Degree: When the money not paid is in excess of one million dollars. This is a class B felony.
  • Second Degree: When the money not paid is in excess of $50,000. This is a class C felony.
  • Third Degree: When the money not paid is in excess of $10,000. This is a class D felony.
  • Fourth Degree: When the money not paid is in excess of $3,000. This is a class E felony.
  • Fifth Degree: When the money not paid is any value less than $3,000. This is a class A misdemeanor.
Classifying Common Consequences

Penalties range from relatively minor misdemeanor charges to serious felonies. According to New York Penal Code 70.00, class B felonies carry a minimum term of one-year imprisonment and a maximum term of 25 years. For the lesser C, D and E class felonies, much of the sentencing is at the discretion of the judge considering the defendant’s history and the nature of the case, but carry respective sentences as high as fifteen, seven and four years in prison.

Class A misdemeanor convictions are far less serious crimes and carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail according to New York Penal Code 70.15. Any conviction for any tax fraud crime could result in a court order to pay back all of the money in arrears and even a misdemeanor offense with a permanent criminal record.

How a New York Tax Fraud Attorney Can Help

New York tax fraud lawyers work to represent individuals from arraignment through trial. Understanding tax fraud law as it applies to not only the act itself, but also as to the required mental state of the defendant that the State is required to prove. Using this knowledge, an attorney can work to discredit the State’s case and prove that the accused individuals lacked the necessary intent to commit fraud.

Whether someone’s goal is to fight the charges at trial, or to come to a fair plea deal, can represent at every stage of the proceedings. The potential penalties for a conviction include significant jail time and hefty fines.

Call our New York Tax Fraud lawyers at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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