Tax evasion is a serious crime in the United States, yet it is one that many people commit each year. While taxes are somewhat self-imposed and self-enforced, we as citizens are responsible for evaluating and paying out own tax liability. The IRS has put harsh penalties in place for those who refuse to pay taxes as they should. Regardless of the stance of theorists who choose to argue the semantics of the tax code, the IRS is allowed to enforce taxpayers’ wrongdoing, and taxes are not voluntary.
IRS Response to Taxpayer Errors
There are varying levels of IRS penalties and fees for neglecting to pay a tax liability in full. For those who simply misstate information or misinterpret the tax code, the IRS charges interest on the money they should have been paid, and may charge small penalties based on the unpaid amount. Those who are negligent or who do not file at all may be subject to additional interest and penalties. To enforce their policies, the IRS audits tax returns and, on a smaller scale, submits inquiries to taxpayers who may need to provide further information or explanation for decisions made on a tax return. However, these small errors do not constitute fraud. Many taxpayer errors are due to a lack of understanding of the tax code or simple human inaccuracies. Tax fraud requires the intent to deceive the IRS, regardless of amount or reason.
Tax Evasion as a Criminal Offense
Tax evasion is a form of fraud and goes far beyond misreporting wages or overstating withholdings. Tax evasion is the deliberate action of avoiding taxes through illegal activity. Tax evasion generally involves criminally understating taxable income or taxable liability. Tax evasion involves a clear violation of tax law, such as neglecting to report the income of subsidiaries for a corporation. Tax evasion is possible on all levels, but for the government or law enforcement to get involved, the amounts in question generally must be substantial. According to the IRS, small businesses and successful individuals are the most common perpetrators.
Penalties for Tax Evasion
Tax evasion is always a major crime but it becomes more so when large corporations cheating the government out of large amounts of money are involved. The government reserves the right to confiscate property or to impose consequences as severe as serving time in prison. In general, the IRS treats those who are intentionally and maliciously abusing the tax code in order to avoid paying the money they owe very harshly.
How to Prevent Tax Evasion
Despite the potentially strict penalties enacted on those who choose to ignore the tax code, individuals can easily avoid attracting IRS attention or falling victim to penalties and fees for negligently filing taxes. Taxpayers must be responsible for understanding the tax code and its changes year to year. If individuals do not have the time to review the rules, hiring an accountant is a great way to ensure that everything filed is done properly and up to government standards. Additionally, hiring a tax preparer guarantees that someone knowledgeable can speak to the IRS on your behalf should the IRS audit your return or submit an inquiry for further information. Be sure that anyone you hire to file your taxes is a Certified Public Accountant or an IRS Enrolled Agent; these professionals have a higher level of training than other alternatives. It is far easier to pay the tax you owe than to attempt to unlawfully avoid income taxes. To prevent penalties from the IRS, be sure you are comfortable with tax laws before filing, or trust your return with an educated, certified tax professional.
Byline: Last year, Jeffrey received R&G Brenner Tax Help
to help him file for his business last year.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 8.6 million households had at least one member who experienced some kind of identity theft. Identity fraud is one of the largest growing crimes in the country. A staggering one in thirty people will wake up to find their identities have been stolen every single day. The ramifications of identity fraud are long and far reaching. While most of the individuals responsible will never be caught, state and federal governments have been working hard to crack down on the crime with stiffer penalties and more stringent data management regulations.
How Identity Fraud Happens
A vast majority of identity fraud occurs over the internet. Unsecured personal information is easily hacked into, providing identity thieves with enough information to steal everything from social security numbers and bank accounts to whole identities. Lost or stolen ID cards, stolen mail, bank statements, personal documents, etc. are also methods thieves use to gain access to personal information that can be used to liquidate banks accounts and open lines of credit in a victim’s name.
How Identity Fraud Affects the Victim
In most cases, a person will not know their identity has been stolen until long after the theft has occurred. Denial of credit, calls from collection agencies, overdraft statements and notifications from law enforcement officials are usually the first sign that something is wrong. Victims of identity fraud will face two major losses: time and money. It can take years for an individual to resolve all the issues that arise when their identity is stolen. Victims will need to file a police report as soon as the theft is discovered and begin distributing that report to creditors and credit bureaus as well as anyone else the victim conducts business with. The victim will also need to start gathering as much information as possible on all fraudulent activity—including copies of applications, transactions and receipts. When identity theft occurs, victims can expect to pay at least some liability charges with banks and credit agencies. There will also be document, report and court fees associated with proving the fraud has occurred. Until the situation has been resolved, victims of identity fraud may also face higher interest rates due to poor credit ratings and can even be denied both credit and employment opportunities. There is also no guarantee that any money stolen will be recovered.
Penalties for Identity Theft
Both Federal and State governments have enacted laws that provide for stiff punishment of identity fraud. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 made the penalty for identity theft punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The Identity Theft Enhancement Act of 2004 increased the maximum prison sentence by two years while adding an additional five years if the crime is considered terrorism-related. The 2004 act also added additional law enforcement resources specifically designed to catch, prosecute and prevent identity fraud.
Each state has their own set of laws and definitions addressing identity fraud; however, every state has made identity fraud a felony carrying significant fines and prison time. Convicted offenders can face anywhere from three to 10 years in state prison and face fines ranging up to $25,000. Some states even have laws that require individuals convicted of identity fraud to pay full restitution to the victim. In cases where the crime crosses state borders, the fraud becomes a federal crime and the individuals charged can be subject to both state and federal penalties.
Byline: John Anderson recommends that you get help if you ever find your credit in shambles from identity fraud. It is never too late to fix your credit!
While several issues currently divide the nation, few incite as much passion and political fervor as the debate on gun control. The unfortunate truth is that gun violence has plagued America for decades. However, widespread media attention of mass shootings in recent years has raised awareness to unprecedented levels. President Obama unveiled a comprehensive plan to address gun violence and urged Congress to vote on gun control legislation. Conversely, the state legislature in Arkansas recently joined 23 states by passing bills protecting the right of colleges and churches to choose for themselves whether to allow concealed weapons on their grounds. Supporters of the Second Amendment undoubtedly grieve the victims of gun violence, but most are unwilling to sacrifice their right no matter what the cost. Whether or not the answer to gun violence lies directly with gun legislation, the key is to find the right laws and support efforts to effectively prevent future tragedy.
Gun Control Legislation
The National Firearms Act of 1934 prohibits civilian possession of automatic weapons, short-barreled shotguns and hand grenades. The Gun Control Act of 1968 makes mail-order sale of weapons illegal and requires dealers to be federally licensed as well as maintain sales records. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 mandates all licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks. Many argue that background checks should be mandatory for all firearm sales; effectively closing the ”gun show loophole” that currently does not require them in private sales. Critics argue that this measure would not have precluded any of the shooters in recent mass killings to acquire weapons since they lacked criminal histories and lax state participation prevents many mental health records from being put into the system. The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban outlawed the sale of semiautomatic weapons with features like large-capacity magazines and pistol grips. The law expired in 2004, and strong support currently exists to resurrect it. Studies conducted on the ban’s effects on gun violence were inconclusive, largely due to grandfather clauses and short timeframe. Legislation prohibiting straw gun purchases already exists, but both the gun industry and politicians agree that law enforcement lacks the resources to enforce these laws.
Gun Use Laws
Many laws focus on the restriction of gun availability. However, some states have enacted laws designed to deter the use of guns in crimes. Known as ”10-20-Life”, Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing for crimes involving guns has been regarded as a success in reducing gun crimes in the state. Many have argued that criminals intent on using guns will not be swayed by the threat of a severe prison sentence and unfairly punishes those facing extenuating circumstances.
While gun buyback programs make for positive press coverage, these programs have been widely regarded as being ineffective in reducing gun violence. Changes in police strategies have been widely recognized as an effective approach towards reducing gun violence. By increasing patrols in high-risk areas at certain times of day, the Pittsburgh Police Department was able to focus on illegal gun carry violations and reduce gun violence in those areas by as much as 71 percent.
Reconsider Protective Tort Legislation
In response to class-action lawsuits filed against the tobacco industry years ago, the gun lobby pushed legislation through Congress that effectively shielded firearms manufacturers from similar suits. Perhaps this is legislation that should be revisited. Although such a move would obviously be controversial, an objective approach on all levels may prompt relevant gun legislation.
Byline: Tyler C writes on everything from gun safety and regulation to the deadliest months according to death rate patterns.
Imitation is not a form of flattery when you are a business owner. You have invested plenty of time and money into building your business’s brand. You do not want someone to steal your ideas, logo or brand and profit off your hard work. You do have legal rights that protect your investment. Learn more about passing off laws so you know what to do if someone tries to piggyback on your success.
What is Passing Off?
Passing off tort law is similar to trademark infringement. You can pursue legal action under the passing off tort law if someone tries to steal your name, logo, web content or product whether or not it is trademarked.
Your competitors want an easy way to launch their own business, build their own brand and increase their customer base. They may try to steal your business ideas instead of creating their own fresh content. If a competitor launches any business component that is visually, auditory or conceptually similar to your business, you may pursue action under passing off tort law.
Examples of passing off include competitors who model their logo off yours or imitate your website’s design. They may use your business model to launch their own business or spin your mission statement on their brochures. They may even try to imitate your services so closely that customers think their company is yours. These practices are dishonest and could damage your business.
Additionally, passing off tort law protects you from people who try to use your name to their advantage. For example, an employee leaves your accounting firm and opens a home-based accounting business. He or she contacts several of your clients, uses your name in his or her pitch and offers his or her services. Your customers think he or she is with your company and agree to work with the employee. As the former employee uses your reputation to build his or her new business, your company suffers financial damage. You could suffer brand damage as well if the former employee provides inferior service.
What are Your Legal Options?
You have the right to pursue legal action and recover monetary damages if your company has suffered damages or if someone violates your goodwill. While you cannot file criminal charges against someone for imitating your business practices, passing off tort laws provide legal recourse if someone tries to profit from your business or damage your brand.
The Court typically decides the outcome of passing off tort law cases. The burden of proof falls on you, the plaintiff. Keep detailed records of everything related to your business. Track when you designed your logo, started using your brand name and designed your website. Record every step of the design process for the goods you sell.
If you pursue legal action against someone who violates passing off tort laws, you may not have to show actual proof of those violations. The Court may rule in your favor if the probability of damages exists in the near future. With this guideline, you protect your business before a competitor harms your brand.
Take every hint of goodwill damage seriously. As your name, logo and product built your business into the success it is today, your future success depends on your ability to maintain brand integrity. Do not tolerate competitors who try to piggyback on your success. Instead, understand your legal rights and take action immediately to protect your business, your future and your success. A class action attorney can help you bring the best results possible to your case.
Going to college is one of the most exciting times in many people’s lives. However, when people are looking for financial help for their education, it is essential for them to be extremely careful. There are several criminal scams that college students will want to avoid, and the following three are the most common today.
With the advent of the Internet, it has been very easy for shady businesses to market their wares. One online scam that students need to be aware of concerns scholarships. Many businesses offer easy access to various scholarships; however, most of them are simply scams. There are some ways to determine if scholarships are scams though, and they are as follows.
1. If a scholarship asks for any “fees”, it is a scam. No legitimate scholarship will ask for money for any reason at all. They also will not ask for credit card or bank account information.
2. If a business says that their scholarship is “exclusive” and information pertaining to it cannot be found anywhere else, it is a scam. Legitimate scholarships are typically listed with accredited colleges and universities.
3. If the scholarship comes out of the blue, it is likely a scam. Scholarships require some form of effort. Whether it is simply filling out an application or sending in an essay, students must put some kind of effort into obtaining a scholarship.
Online Degree Scams
More and more today there are many online sites that offer easy degrees that people can acquire in a very short time. The problem is that many of these sites are scams. While it may seem tempting to get a degree online, the following reasons are why people should think twice about enrolling in an online school.
1. Many employers will not recognize an online degree. In most cases, they will hire someone who obtained their degree from a traditional college or university over someone who got it from an online institution.
2. Many online schools have little to no support available. What this means is that if students have problems, there is little they can do to resolve them.
3. There have been many cases in which students did not receive lessons on time or even their diplomas and they could not do anything about it. Some of these schools simply want people’s money and will not give much in return.
Student Loan Scams
Another popular scam that is on the rise today is that of student loans. There are many businesses that will offer easy loans to fund people’s educations. However, what they do not divulge is that the interest rates are ridiculously high and almost impossible to pay back. In many cases, young people find themselves drowning in debt due to these “easy-qualifying” student loans.
As a general rule, the only student loans that are truly legit are those that are offered through the federal government. There are some legit private loans, but they are few and far between. Typically, legit student loans will offer varying grace periods in which graduates do not have to make any payments for some time after graduation.
If people are beginning college careers, it is essential that they are aware of the all-too common scams described above. While some of these scams may sound quite appealing, it is best for students to steer away from them. Starting a college career can be the most exciting time in anybody’s life if they do not fall prey to these scams.
Byline: After having seen the slew of legal issues that come along with being scammed, Ryan D decided to promote www.justcolleges.com, a site that helps students find legitimate, honest, accredited online colleges.
A person has certain rights when seeking divorce from a partner engaging in criminal activities. A partner divorcing a criminal, especially those who also engage in domestic violence, should educate themselves about their rights and remain proactive in their divorce proceedings.
Special rights are established when divorcing a criminal. These rights are designed to protect the interests of divorcing partners and ensure their safety throughout the divorce proceedings as well as after the divorce.
This is a primary right of a person divorcing a criminal. Courts normally issue protective orders to people who need protection from verbal or physical abuse of their partners. Such an order is essential especially when the other half has agreed to testify against their partner or provide evidence of their criminal behavior.
Different States have varying laws regarding restraining orders. However, there are general guidelines on how to obtain one.
How to get a protective order
-Obtain a temporary restraining order and request for order forms from a court clerk and fill them out.
-File the two forms with the court clerk
-A hearing will be set either on the same day or a day after. During the hearing, the applicant should expect to be questioned by the judge about the abuse or criminal activity.
-File the judge’s orders and the restraining order with the court clerk after which the final hearing for the restraining order will be set one or two weeks after the first hearing.
-Take a copy of the temporary restraining order to the police, which should then be served on the abusive partner. One can ask a friend who is above 18 years and is not directly involved in the case to serve the partner with the temporary restraining order on their behalf. However, the serving individual must sign a proof of service form.
- File the proof of service form with the court clerk before the final hearing date.
-Attend the final hearing and bring any witnesses or evidence to the court
- Take the final restraining order to the police to be served to the partner
This is another right extended to a partner divorcing a criminal. This is normally granted to a party in a divorce case to prevent the partner from making contact with children born of marriage. Supervised visitation is also provided as an alternative. Though in most instances courts order a shared custody, there are circumstances that may warrant courts to give primary custody to a spouse especially if the partner is a criminal, lives in a separate state or is abusive.
Courts still uphold the right of a partner divorcing a criminal to exclusive use of the residence with the children.
A partner divorcing a criminal has the additional right to file a criminal complaint in addition to the actions taken by a divorce court. They can also present evidence, which will assist in the prosecution of the criminal case.
The criminal prosecution will begin when the criminal complaint has been filed against the partner. Rules for filing a criminal complaint are outlined in the U.S Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The complaint should be properly worded to avoid delays in prosecution and make it easy to convict the defendant.
Byline: Anderson Burke once used a Collin County divorce attorney when going through his divorce proceedings.
The U.S. war on drugs can be traced back to legislation that began in 1914, but Richard Nixon is most commonly affiliated with initiating the usage of the actual term in 1971. Although he formally announced that he was launching the War on Drugs Act, he also began implementing programs that would help convicted criminals receive drug rehabilitation instead of mandatory prison sentences. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were both proponents of the development of the so-called Drug Czar position, and they were instrumental in the creation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.
When hiring a private investigator, you may wonder what techniques and options your PI will pursue. Sure, you may have seen private investigators in the movies take the smallest clues, process them through a computer analysis and then come up with a hidden truth. Or maybe you have seen a PI use his fists to beat information out of a suspect. While this makes for good cinema, what legal and “less legal” options does a PI have at their disposal?
The truth comes down to how your PI goes about getting his or her information. There’s a lot more to real-life private investigation than the movies would have you believe.
According to estimates, DUI violations can be expected to increase by 54% over Thanksgiving Day. That is not surprising to San Diego DUI lawyers who know that Thanksgiving is one of the most spirited holidays of the year, with large numbers of drivers being pulled over and arrested for DUI over the holiday.
The 54% estimate came from continuous monitoring of high-risk drunk drivers through Alcohol Monitoring Systems,. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when it comes to alcohol-related violations, Thanksgiving ranks next only to New Year’s Day, as the most alcohol-heavy holiday of the year. Over New Year’s Day, violations are expected to jump 62%.
Dealing with domestic abuse is never easy. Abusive relationships almost always involve a number of emotional elements, including fear, anger, shame, confusion and even love. Abuse is a cycle that, unless broken, will likely be repeated time and again. The following tips will help victims break the cycle of abuse by taking the steps necessary to protect themselves.