Could an honest tax mistake lead to criminal charges?

Tax forms and tax rules are incredibly confusing. It is not unheard of for someone to make an honest mistake when completing the annual tax return. You might wonder if you could get into trouble due to such a mistake.

Finance Train explains that the IRS does not usually pursue criminal charges for tax issues unless it suspects there was intentional fraud. It is unlikely that you would face charges for a simple mistake.

Criminal charges

The IRS usually does not investigate criminal tax issues involving less than $70,000. It simply is not worth the time and money to investigate smaller issues. The investigation will determine if you made a mistake or did something intentionally. If it is clear that you made an error without intending to do so, the IRS will probably not seek criminal charges against you.

However, if the “mistake” was not reporting your income or intentionally hiding information, the IRS will likely consider that fraud. In this case, you could face criminal charges. To prove fraud, the IRS will look for a few signs, such as bad record-keeping, incomplete income reporting, other illegal actions and excessive credits or deductions.

More likely action

In most cases, it is more likely that a mistake on your taxes will result in an audit from the IRS. The IRS will correct your mistake and charge you fees along with collecting any taxes you owe. You should understand that the IRS prefers to handle things with your cooperation and will often be lenient if you really did make an error.

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