Kurt Kerns, Attorney at Law
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Income tax fraud and negligence are not the same thing

The Internal Revenue Service puts a lot of time, money and resources into cracking down on taxpayers who commit fraud or act in a negligent manner. By doing so, they are able to collect more money.

While many people believe that income tax fraud and negligence are one in the same, there are actually some key differences.

Generally speaking, fraud is a willful attempt to defraud the IRS or evade tax law. This occurs when a person partakes in any of the following behavior:

-- Willfully neglects to pay taxes.

-- Willfully avoids filing an income tax return.

-- The preparation of a false return.

-- Making a false or fraudulent claim.

The IRS knows how to distinguish between income tax fraud and negligence. For example, there is a big difference between an honest mistake, such as taking the wrong deduction, and a calculated move, such as neglecting to pay taxes on a large portion of income.

Even if the IRS deems a mistake unintentional, it still has the right to assess fees and penalties.

There are many differences between income tax fraud and negligence, but here is what you need to know: You should do whatever it takes to avoid both. You never want to find yourself in hot water with the IRS, as they can make your life miserable.

Due to all the fraud and negligence that the IRS deals with, it is possible for the agency to make a mistake. For example, you could be charged with a crime that you did not commit. To protect against this, make sure you always work with the best tax, financial and legal professionals.

Source: FindLaw, "Income Tax: Fraud vs. Negligence," accessed Feb. 04, 2016

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