Tax evasion is a serious charge. Depending on the circumstances surrounding allegations of tax evasion, the government could pursue a fine or penalty. Unfortunately for some people, like a co-defendant in an ongoing tax evasion case in Pennsylvania, criminal charges are filed.
Whether criminal charges are warranted depends on the individual case and the information that can be collected and proven. The ongoing Pennsylvania tax evasion case involves a 51-year-old Pittsburgh-area woman who allegedly helped her housemate hide assets from the government by preparing inaccurate tax returns.
Part of the concern with this particular case is that the housemate who was allegedly helped by the woman was already a convicted tax evader. That history influenced the current trial, and that history would have been a significant problem even if the government could not prove that the woman knew of her housemate's past. For most people who appear in court on tax fraud charges, there are no past issues like that for them to overcome. Every defendant's case is somewhat different, but any past convictions or association with people with past convictions can affect a trial.
For that reason, getting a good lawyer is important. In the Pennsylvania case, the woman took a plea agreement on her charge of conspiracy. She had also been charged with filing false returns and failure to file a return. Both of those charges are expected to be dropped, but her overall conduct will come into play when she is sentenced on the conspiracy charge in January.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Carlow co-defendant admits to conspiracy," Brian Bowling, Aug. 31, 2011