You filled out your taxes incorrectly. The IRS says you still owe them money, you have to pay an additional fine and you may even be facing criminal charges.

You cannot believe it. You protest that you made a simple, honest mistake. You're not a tax expert. You do not mind paying the money you owe or even the fine on top of it, but you do not think criminal allegations are fair.

Two Categories for Mistakes

The first thing you should know is that the IRS typically puts mistakes into two categories. The first contains mistakes made out of ignorance. You really thought you did your taxes properly. The second contains mistakes made willfully. Your intent is critical to this process. If they show that you intended to make the "mistake" so you could defraud the government, that's when criminal charges may enter the picture.

Willful Ignorance

There is one more category that is sometimes used, though it is not as common. Technically speaking, the IRS may be able to say you were willfully ignorant. This means that you knew you did not have the proper financial knowledge to avoid a mistake, and you could have learned the rules prior to filing your taxes. Instead, you purposefully avoided learning the regulations just so that you could pay less in taxes and then plead ignorance when you got caught. The intent, they would argue, was still there.

Defense Options for Serious Tax Crimes

Do not take tax crime allegations lightly. The government considers them akin to theft. They can be very aggressive when they think fraud has occurred. If you are facing charges, especially if you think it was all a misunderstanding, you must know your legal rights and defense options. You absolutely deserve a fair trial, as do all those accused of white collar crimes.