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Understanding criminal and civil tax litigation

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Criminal/Civil Tax Litigation |

Taxation is an integral part of every working society, providing money for government programs and services. However, when tax-related issues arise, individuals or businesses may find themselves involved in legal proceedings.

Criminal and civil tax litigation provide two avenues for addressing such matters.

Criminal tax litigation

In criminal tax litigation, individuals or businesses face charges for violations of tax laws. This can include actions such as tax evasion, fraud or willful failure to file tax returns. Government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, conduct an investigation and gather evidence of wrongdoing.

Authorities may file criminal charges once they gather evidence, which can lead to a trial in a court of law. If convicted, penalties can range from fines to time in prison, depending on the severity of the offense.

Civil tax litigation

Civil tax litigation, on the other hand, involves disputes over tax-related matters that do not involve criminal intent. This includes disagreements regarding tax assessments, deductions or penalties imposed by tax authorities. Civil litigation aims to settle disputes and decide on tax obligations, unlike criminal cases.

In civil tax cases, individuals or businesses have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments in their defense. The outcome of civil litigation can result in adjustments to tax liabilities, refunds or payment arrangements. While civil tax litigation can still have serious financial implications, it is typically not as severe as criminal proceedings.

Understanding the differences between criminal and civil litigation is important for navigating the legal system and resolving tax disputes effectively.