Owe a Small Amount of Taxes? It's Unlikely You'll Wind Up in Jail

If you're an otherwise law-abiding citizen, you may experience a moment of panic when you receive a dunning notice from the IRS. After all, the letter is on official government stationery, and, in no uncertain terms demands you to make good on your unpaid taxes. If you don't have the funds on hand, you may even picture yourself dragged off to a cold, lonely jail cell after a summary trial, where you'll stay until the IRS decides you are sufficiently rehabilitated.

Well, don't worry too much. This scenario almost never plays out, especially if (as is the case with most Oklahoma taxpayers) your back-tax debt amounts to only four or five digits, and you've only screwed up your taxes for one or two years. The IRS simply doesn't have the resources to put people in jail for these relatively minor amounts, and the government has no interest in jailing its citizens for small offenses (after all, a year in a minimum-security prison costs a lot more than $20,000!).

If, however, you have failed to file your taxes for years on end, or if you've constructed elaborate mechanisms to avoid paying what you owe to the government (e.g., creating fictional dependents, or paying your employees in cash), you may well be facing jail time, especially if your scheme has cheated the IRS out of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars' worth of tax payments. But, it's rare even for these “big” offenses to land their perpetrators in prison, especially if they are represented by an experienced tax lawyer who can strike a deal with the feds.

Do you think you are in trouble with the IRS? The Oklahoma tax experts at Travis W. Watkins, PC are here to assist you! Call us today at 800-721-7054 for more information.

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