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Montana Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion Laws

In Montana, tax evasion occurs when a taxpayer, with the intent to defeat or evade a tax, purposely or knowingly violates a provision of the Montana Tax Code. Tax fraud is a subset of tax evasion that occurs when a taxpayer intentionally underpays their taxes by submitting a false or fraudulent tax return. The chart below outlines Montana's main tax evasion law.

Code Section

Montana Code section 15-30-2641: Tax Evasion

What's Prohibited?

Engaging in any of the following acts with the intent to evade a tax or requirement of the Montana Tax Code:
  • Purposefully failing to pay a tax
  • Purposefully failing to file or sign a tax return
  • Purposefully failing to supply information within the time required
  • Purposefully filing or signing a false or fraudulent tax return or statement, or
  • Purposefully supplying false or fraudulent information
Who is Capable of Committing Tax Evasion?

Individuals, corporations, partnerships, officers or employees of a corporation, or members or employers of a partnership.


Tax evasion is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

Statute of Limitations

In Montana, there is a statute of limitation relating to tax evasion. This statute requires prosecutions for tax evasion to be commenced within five years after the offense is committed.

Mistakes are Not Considered Tax Fraud

Tax codes can be complicated and honest mistakes on tax returns are often made. It is important to note that taxpayers in Montana can only be convicted of tax fraud for acts that are done with the purpose of evading a tax. In other words, mistakes that are made in good faith can't constitute tax fraud.

Federal Tax Evasion Law

Under federal law, any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat a federal tax is guilty of a felony. Federal tax evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation), and/or imprisonment for up to five years. See 26 U.S. Code section 7201.

Common Examples of Tax Evasion

Common examples of tax evasion include:

  • Intentionally failing to file a tax return
  • Willfully failing to pay a tax
  • Intentionally failing to report all income received
  • Willfully making false or fraudulent claims regarding taxes, and
  • Intentionally preparing or filing a false tax return

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Montana's tax fraud and tax evasion laws contact a local tax attorney.

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