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Harm and Sentencing in Maryland Tax Fraud Cases

Harm in a tax fraud case is essentially the financial loss suffered by the US government. Harm and sentencing in Maryland tax fraud cases are related; in fact, baseline sentencing guidelines are directly correlated to the amount of this loss. So the greater the harm, the lengthier the guidelines. Pecuniary harm is the monetary harm and is usually the only type of harm involved in a tax fraud case. Tax fraud financial crime that causes a loss of tax revenue. If an individual faces charges for tax fraud, they should seek the services of an adept tax fraud sentencing lawyer that could attempt to mitigate the penalties that they face.

Determining the Degree of Harm in Tax Fraud Cases

The degree of harm in a tax fraud case is the amount of lost tax revenue suffered by the US government. That amount is calculated in different ways, depending upon the type of tax fraud perpetrated. For example, if the tax fraud consisted of a failure to file any tax return and the convicted person paid no taxes, the degree of harm would be the amount of taxes the person would have paid if they had properly filed their taxes. Harm and sentencing in Maryland tax fraud cases are often looked at in conjunction with each other. The degree of harm done can impact the severity of the sentencing.

Alternatively, if a person paid taxes but fraudulently claimed inapplicable deductions and thus underpaid their taxes, the degree of harm is determined with a mathematical formula described in the sentencing guidelines. Tax fraud statutes have no mandatory minimum sentences that would affect the degree of harm determined in sentencing guidelines. Instead, the guidelines serve as a starting point and are the key factor in determining the sentence. The sentence is directly related to the dollar value of the degree of harm and once that is calculated, a table is used to determine the level of the offense and thus the length of sentence.

Aspects Judges Take into Account When Determining a Sentence

First, the judge will determine the sentencing guidelines. These guidelines are advisory, not mandatory. The amount of financial loss establishes the starting point for the guidelines. That initial guideline range can then be increased or decreased based on certain factors. For example, if a defendant accepts a plea offer from the government, that can reduce the guideline range. Alternatively, if the court finds the defendant employed “sophisticated means” to effectuate the fraud, the guidelines may be increased.

Once the guidelines are established, the Court will use that information as one factor in the sentencing determination. Next, the judge will consider factors laid out in 18 USC 3553(a), including the nature and circumstances of the offense, the history, and characteristics of the defendant, the need for the sentence to deter future criminal conduct, and other factors.

Benefit of Working With a Maryland Tax Fraud Attorney

Regardless of the amount of the harm cost, it is important to contact a tax fraud sentencing lawyer because an individual faces criminal penalties that can include jail time and fines in addition to other collateral consequences that could affect future employment, contracts with the government, or many other factors.

Furthermore, there are many additional factors beyond the amount of harm that influence the judge’s sentencing determination. An experienced sentencing lawyer will know how to employ and advocate each of those factors to reduce a sentence to as little as possible. The amount of harm is the starting point, and it is not automatically determinative of the overall sentence. There are other factors involved when it comes to harm and sentencing in Maryland tax fraud cases, and a capable tax fraud sentencing lawyer could help an individual navigate them all.