When it comes to paying taxes, there is no gray area. You need to do what is required of you, unless you want to risk major consequences with the IRS and other taxing authorities.
Tax evasion is one of the most serious types of white collar crimes. In short, this is when a person purposefully pays less tax than what they owe.
To start, here's something you need to remember: A mistake is not the same as tax evasion.
Every year, millions of people make mistakes with regard to their taxes. For this reason, you may end up paying less than what you owe. While this is never a good situation to find yourself in, it's not the same as tax evasion. You didn't make the mistake on purpose, so the IRS is not going to file criminal charges.
To be convicted of tax evasion, the IRS must be able to prove that you purposefully made decisions that would allow you to underpay your taxes. This could be something such as sheltering money overseas in an attempt to keep it hidden from the IRS.
Nobody wants to consider the fact that they could be charged with tax evasion, but this could present a problem in your life if you take any steps towards deliberately paying less tax than what you owe.
If you are charged with this serious crime, you need to understand why. From there, make note of the next steps to take and your legal rights. Most people find that they need professional help from the start.
Source: FindLaw, "Tax Evasion," accessed Sep. 01, 2016