CA Revenue & Taxation Code Sections 19705 & 19706

California State Tax Evasion

The tax code can be complex and may seem as if they are out to get you. Hopefully, this article will help you understand where the risks are and how to get help with your situation.

In California, evading taxes you owe the state is primarily covered by Revenue and Taxation Code sections 19705 and 19706, and includes personal tax returns, or corporate taxes owed to the franchise tax board.

California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 19705

Section 19705 makes it a felony to willfully make and subscribe any return, statement, or other document, that contains or is verified by a written declaration that it is made under penalty of perjury, that any person does not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter. Essentially, if you willfully falsify some tax records, you may be guilty of a felony. Section 19705 also criminalizes other material misstatements on various other tax documents.

The interesting portion of section 19705 is where the person giving the state the information has to know it was false when they provided it. Simply being negligent is not enough. However, this is a complex analysis that should be undertaken by a licensed criminal defense attorney, so be sure to contact a professional to analyze your specific circumstances.

  • Any violation of any part of section 19705 carries a maximum penalty of 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 19706

Section 19706 makes it a crime for any person, or any officer or employee of any corporation, who willfully fails to file any return, or to supply any information with intent to evade any tax imposed under the Revenue and Taxation Code, or to willfully and intentionally render, sign, or verify any false or fraudulent return or statement or to supply any false or fraudulent information.

Violations of section 19706 are wobblers, meaning they can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies at the sole discretion of the prosecutor based on the facts and circumstances of each individual case. Cases with more egregious facts, like a series of false statements, a defendant with prior convictions, or a large amount of avoided taxes, are more likely to be filed as felonies. Call a licensed criminal defense attorney to find out what that could mean for your unique case.

  • Violations of section 19706 are punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, and/or a fine of $20,000 for misdemeanors, and up to 1 year in state prison and/or the same fine for felonies.

Next Steps

As you can see, these issues are intensely fact dependent, and carry heavy penalties. If you are being accused of tax fraud or tax evasion contact a licensed criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and how they may be able to help you. The criminal justice system is powerful and you don’t want to be at a disadvantage when faced with these sorts of consequences.

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