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Washington Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion Laws

Washington, like most other states, relies on businesses and citizens to voluntarily pay their taxes. However, some businesses and citizens purposely avoid or underpay in order to avoid their tax responsibilities. That's where the law steps in.

Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion in Washington

In the Evergreen State, tax fraud and tax evasion are serious financial crimes that carry steep penalties upon conviction. These crimes can happen a number of ways including cases involving tax fraud or deceit in order to defraud the government.

Tax evasion may involve claiming deductions that don't apply or not reporting income. Here, the intent is to avoid paying taxes.

For example, not declaring all of your income, deliberately overstating expenses or deductions, or failing to file tax returns when you have taxable income in an attempt to avoid detection are all examples of tax fraud-related crimes.


Tax fraud is punishable by both civil (i.e. money) and criminal (i.e. jail time and money) penalties. 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 Washington state's tax fraud and tax evasion laws.

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

Code Section

RCW 82.32.290 et. seq.

What is Prohibited Failing to file your tax returns, underreporting your income, or knowingly claiming excess deductions.

Criminal (misdemeanor or felony) and/or civil penalties including full payment of back taxes with interest.

Possible Associated Crimes Embezzlement, forgery, fraud, falsifying business records, grand theft and more.

Where to Report Suspected Tax Fraud

Washington State Department of Revenue , 1-800-647-7706

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.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. You should contact a Washington tax law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

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

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