New York, like every other state, requires residents and businesses to pay state taxes accurately and on time. But what happens if you make unintentional mistakes on your tax return? Is it possible you are unknowingly engaging in tax fraud?
Tax fraud involves the willful act of providing false information on a tax return with the intent to avoid paying taxes owed. Here is what you need to know to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.
Common inadvertent errors
Sometimes individuals might mistakenly report inaccurate information without realizing the potential consequences. Some of these inadvertent mistakes include:
- Forgetting to report income. Whether it is a side gig, freelance work or interest from a bank account, all income must appear on your tax return.
- Misunderstanding deductions and credits. New York offers various deductions and credits, but you must meet certain criteria to qualify for them. Overstating deductions or claiming ones you do not qualify for can raise red flags.
- Incorrectly reporting the property value.In New York, property taxes hinge on the assessed value of your property. If you provide an inaccurate value, whether intentionally or not, it could lead to incorrect tax payments.
Many well-intentioned taxpayers make errors due to misunderstandings or simple oversight.
The difference between errors and fraud
While tax fraud involves a willful act to deceive, unintentional mistakes can still have consequences. The New York tax authorities recognize that mistakes happen. If they believe you made an honest error, they might request additional payments or offer a refund, depending on the situation. However, if there is a suspicion of deliberate wrongdoing, consequences can be much more severe.
How to avoid accidental tax mistakes
To make sure you do not accidentally commit tax fraud, review your tax documents before submitting them. Be sure to list all income sources and accurately make all calculations. Note that tax laws can change. It is your responsibility to stay updated on the latest regulations, deductions and credits.
If you find the tax process confusing and have concerns about filing, consider using tax preparation software or consulting a tax professional. They can guide you and help you meet all the requirements.