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Pennsylvania Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion Laws

In Pennsylvania, tax fraud and tax evasion are serious crimes that carry steep penalties and repercussions. These crimes generally all fall under one of two categories:

  • Crimes related to the filing of the return
  • Crimes related to the failure to file a return.

Tax fraud or tax evasion involves an intentional wrongdoing. Mere carelessness is not tax fraud. Signs of tax fraud/evasion that law enforcement look for include:

  • Understatements of income
  • Inadequate records; failure to file tax returns
  • Implausible or inconsistent explanations of behavior
  • Concealment of assets
  • Failure to cooperate with tax authorities
  • Engaging in illegal activities
  • Attempting to conceal illegal activities
  • Dealing in cash
  • Failure to make estimated tax payments

Penalties for both crimes can be civil and criminal. State and federal governments aggressively use the criminal law to enforce tax violations.In addition to state law penalties, individuals committing tax fraud can also be investigated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The following table highlights the main provisions of Pennslvania's tax fraud and tax evasion laws.

See also Financial Crimes,White Collar Crimes, Forgery, and Fraud.

Code Section

§119.22 et. seq

What is Prohibited Purposefully failing to file any required tax report or return; or filing a false/misleading document in connection with any tax return, audit or investigation or failing to supply the correct information in a timely manner. Also, intentionally evading any tax or failing to pay a tax; or claiming a false exemption.
Penalties Criminal (felony or misdemeanor) and civil penalties including fines/restitution.
Possible Associated Crimes Embezzlement, forgery, fraud, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, grand larceny, and possession of stolen property

Whistleblower Laws

Federal Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Law : Allows people to bring lawsuits against individuals and companies whom they believe committed fraud against the government

Common Types of Tax Fraud/Tax Evasion

  • Underreporting income
  • Overestimating expenses or deductions
  • failing to collect employment taxes
  • Making false statements to investigators,
  • Violating employer withholding requirements,
  • Not filing a yearly tax return.


Enforcement Agencies

If you want to report tax fraud or tax evasion, here is some contact information that can help you:

Because tax laws can sometimes get extremely complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney or a tax attorney, if you have questions about your specific situation.

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