Brown, PC
Main Menu
Schedule Your Initial Consultation:
View Our Practice Areas

Failure to File Taxes: The Element of Willfulness

It isn't only tax fraud that can result in criminal tax charges. Failure to file an income tax return at all can do so as well.

From time to time, the defendants in such cases are high-profile people. A recent example is the actor Wesley Snipes, star of "White Men Can't Jump" and other films.

On February 1 2008, Snipes was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file federal tax returns. Nearly three years later, on December 9 2010, he began serving a prison term. He is now at a federal prison camp in Pennsylvania, with a projected release date of July 19, 2013.

Snipes apparently bought into a bogus argument that only income from foreign sources is taxable. That is simply not the case; taxable income is taxable income, no matter where it is earned. And everyone whose income is above a given level must file a tax return each year with the IRS.

Snipes could have faced even heavier punishment if he had filed a fraudulent tax return. Under federal law, failure to file is classified as a misdemeanor. A false filing, however, is considered to be felony.

Amended Tax Returns

Fortunately, the presence of mistakes does not necessarily mean that the IRS will view a timely return as a false one.

But if a taxpayer has knowledge that a return is inaccurate, it is important to file an amendment to it right away. Otherwise, the IRS could discover inaccuracies in an audit.

Even worse, if you don't pay the tax the IRS says you owe, the agency may choose to pursue criminal charges.

Source: "Wesley Snipes Turns 50 in Prison But Didn't File False Tax Return," Forbes, Robert W. Wood, 8-1-12

•· Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our page on failure to file.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Print this Page
Email Us For A Response
Set Up An Initial Consultation Now: 888-870-0025

Work Directly With Us

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy