Posted by: Taxlitigator | October 5, 2016

Tax Fraud Offenses by MICHEL STEIN

The United States Sentencing Commission recently released its “Quick Facts” on Tax Fraud Offenses. The number of tax fraud offenders has decreased slightly during the last five years.

Significant statistics for 2015 include:

  1. There were 648 tax fraud offenders.
  2. The median tax loss was $214,093.
  3. Nearly two-thirds of tax fraud offenders were sentenced to imprisonment.
  4. The average sentence length for tax fraud offenders was 17 months.
  5. The average age of tax fraud offenders was 50 years old.

Details of the Quick Facts are set forth below.

OFFENSE CHARACTERISTICS. In fiscal year 2015, there were 648 tax fraud offenders, who accounted for 1.0% of all offenders sentenced under the Federal guidelines.   There were 71,003 cases reported to the United States Sentencing commission.

The majority of tax fraud offenders had little or no prior criminal history. The median tax loss for these offenses was $214,093.  84.6% of tax offenses involved tax losses of $1 million or less. 48.9% of tax offenses involved tax losses of $200,000 or less.

PUNISHMENT.  Nearly two-thirds of tax fraud offenders were sentenced to imprisonment (63.3%), and the average sentence length for tax fraud offenders was 17 months.

In each of the past five years, approximately one-fifth to one-quarter of tax fraud offender received a sentence below the guideline range, because the government sponsored the below range sentence. The rate of non-government sponsored below range sentences increased during the past five years (from 41.8% of tax fraud cases in fiscal year 2011 to 49.2% in fiscal year 2015).  Both the average guideline minimum and the average sentence for tax fraud offenders changed slightly during the past five years.  The average guideline minimum increased from 24 months to 26 months during that time period.  The average sentence imposed decreased from 18 months to 17 months during that time period.

The Quick Facts on Tax Fraud Offenses can be found at 

MICHEL STEIN is a principal at Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, P.C. He is a former Attorney-Adviser of the U.S. Tax Court and is a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Stein represents clients throughout the United States and elsewhere involving federal and state, civil and criminal tax controversies and tax litigation. He has extensive experience with voluntary disclosures and foreign account and asset reporting, and he frequently lectures throughout the country on these and other tax related topics.  Additional information is available at


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