In Florida, it is illegal to willfully refrain from collecting sales taxes or to fail to remit them to the state. If you are suspected of this crime, you could face a significant criminal charge.
As a business owner in Pinellas County, you should consult Russo, Pelletier, & Sullivan P.A., defense attorneys in St. Petersburg immediately if you find sales tax fraud allegations brought against you.
Russo, Pelletier, & Sullivan P.A.’s specialized criminal defense attorneys in St. Petersburg have extensive knowledge in fighting white collar crimes like sales tax fraud. Learn how we can help you navigate and defend criminal charges to protect your reputation, business, and assets.
Allege in Your Defense That A Mistake Was Made
Sales tax fraud is considered stolen revenue from the state, and the severity of the charge that can be brought range from misdemeanors to felony offenses. If your company sells, leases, or has licenses to use goods or services, you must register as a sales and use tax dealer.
If your company is small to medium-sized, inadequate accounting resources can sometimes result in unintentional tax misfilings and poor record keeping. Knowing this, tax fraud investigators sometimes target small businesses, find these discrepancies, and attempt to bring charges.
Sales tax fraud can only be charged when a business intentionally fails to collect or pay sales tax. Demonstrating that there were accidental misfilings or that the withholding of tax payments was unintentional is a strong defense our attorneys can use to help mitigate consequences or perhaps avoid the formal filing of a charge altogether.
Come Forward About Misfiled Taxes with the Voluntary Disclosure Program
If you believe an error has been made when filing taxes and the state has not yet contacted you, you can take advantage of the Voluntary Disclosure program as a means to correct any issues you discover, and potentially avoid greater penalties. This program allows you to come forward and disclose what you owe, alleviating criminal intent, and possibly reducing your penalties and fees. The Voluntary Disclosure program is by far the least painful way to resolve sales tax liabilities in Pinellas County.
We can help with this process, but note that you must apply before the state contacts you. If the state has already contacted you, you are no longer eligible to apply for the program. Once you do apply you have 30 days to get all documentation in order, giving you additional time to gather what is needed.
Pay Back the State Through TCEDP To Avoid Jail Time
Ultimately, the state of Florida wants to collect the money that it is owed. Thus, they have created pre-trial intervention programs and diversion programs throughout the state that allow delinquent businesses to pay back outstanding sales tax and avoid harsh sentencing, or sometimes prosecution altogether. Pinellas County’s Tax Collection Enforcement Diversion Program (TCEDP) is one of such programs.
The attorneys with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan, P.A. can assess your individual case and advise whether participation in the TCEDP is in your best interest, or if there are other means of defending your case and getting you back to business as usual, as quickly as possible.
If you are facing a sales tax fraud investigation or have been charged with sales tax fraud in Pinellas County, you need a defense attorney in St. Petersburg that you can trust. Complete our contact request form or give us a call today at (727) 578-0303 for a free case evaluation.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.