As you probably know, the tax code in the United States is extremely complex. In addition to all the IRS rules, you can't overlook the importance of staying on track in regards to your state and local taxes.
With all this in mind, it's only natural for mistakes to be made. Even when you have the best intentions, you could overlook an important detail that has a big impact on your tax situation. If this happens, you could soon find yourself in trouble with the IRS.
However, here's something you need to know: there is a big difference between a tax mistake and tax evasion.
A simple error, such as a math mistake, could alter how much money you owe in taxes. Even so, you have the right to correct this mistake in the future by paying what you owe, along with a potential fine or interest.
Tax evasion, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like. This is when a person takes calculated steps to prevent paying what they should in taxes. An example of this is hiding money in an overseas bank account.
Unfortunately, there are times when a basic tax mistake is considered to be something much more serious. As a result, you could be charged with tax evasion when you didn't knowingly do anything wrong.
If you find yourself in this position, it's important to learn more about your situation. This will help you better understand your rights, as well as the steps you can take to defend yourself and eventually put this mix-up in the past.
Source: FindLaw, "Tax Evasion," accessed March 27, 2017