Decades ago, Al Capone was suspected of being one of the most powerful crime bosses in America. As the head of an alleged crime family in Chicago, Capone was assumed to been involved in number of suspected murders. However, readers of this New Orleans criminal defense law blog may be surprised to hear that Capone was never convicted on any homicide charges; rather, the notorious criminal figure was imprisoned for the crime of tax evasion.
Tax evasion involves the willing avoidance of paying one’s owed taxes. Both the state and federal governments impose taxes on individuals and businesses, and failing to satisfy those imposed costs can result in a person facing serious legal consequences. Both the complete failure to pay taxes as well as the underpayment of one’s taxes can result in tax evasion charges.
Tax evasion does, however, carry with it a very important defense. A person cannot unknowingly commit tax evasion. This means that making a mistake on one’s tax records and underpaying without knowledge would not be considered a criminal offense.
Preparing one’s own tax statements can be a very confusing prospect and not everyone wants to or can afford professional tax assistance. It can be easy to make a mistake while performing what can be very convoluted computations. Because a person must knowingly attempt to underpay or avoid paying his or her taxes, simple errors are generally not considered evasion.
Being charged with tax evasion or another white collar crime can be an intimidating process. Though the prosecutors on the case are tasked with proving the alleged crime was committed, a criminal defendant can feel as though it may be difficult to demonstrate his innocence. Whether charged with a violent crime or a white collar offense, some Louisiana residents choose to work with criminal defense attorneys to help guide them through their legal dilemmas.