Tax Defenses that Rarely Work

Although defense strategies in these tax crime cases vary according to the individual in question, there are some defenses to avoid simply because it has been rejected numerous times by the courts.

For instance, it is well established that a tax prosecution is not the place for a defendant to dispute the validity of the tax laws.

Most federal laws are challenged on a constitutional basis by those who have violated them.  Given the sheer number of instances in which the constitutionality of a federal income tax has been upheld, courts are simply unwilling to entertain such claims in a tax prosecution.

While there are many defendants who still choose to bring objections to the entire notion of an income tax as a defense– tax protesters for example, their chances of winning their case is almost non-existent.

There are other common defenses that have been rejected over and over again= so it is worthwhile to at least give a cursory overview of them.

  1. The intent to pay tax sometime in the future is not a defense to a charge of failure to file a tax return.  This applies to late returns as well.
  2. A fear of filing tax returns has been routinely rejected.
  3. To claim marital or financial difficulties for failure to file is unlikely to be successful, unless one shows circumstances beyond one’s control.
  4. A defense based on the theory that the tax deficiency is also unsubstantial.
  5. Willful refusal to sign a tax return is not a successful defense.
  6. The claim that one’s records are simply too complicated to ascertain the amount of tax owed is regularly dismissed.


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