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Are your efforts to keep from paying taxes legal?

Spring is in the air, which means that the deadline for filing your taxes is right around the corner. Just about everyone in the country dreads April 15. That is, unless you will receive a refund. Then, you may look forward to filing your returns if you haven't already.

However, just because you submitted a return, indicating that you receive a refund doesn't necessarily mean you will get one. The IRS will review your return to determine whether the information is correct and whether you actually receive a refund, and if so, how much. What the agency finds could result in accusations of illegal acts. You may be like other Nebraska residents who aren't sure how tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax fraud differ.

What are signs that I am trapped in a Ponzi scheme?

For a house or a building to be solidly constructed, we expect that structure to have a firm foundation. If the home was built out of flimsy materials, it would likely collapse before long. Nebraska residents should think of Ponzi schemes in a similar manner. In a Ponzi scheme, companies or organizers take money from one set of investors and use it to pay off another set they had previously collected from, while enriching themselves in the process. If you wonder if you have been investing in a Ponzi scheme without your knowledge, there are ways to find out.

According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website, several characteristics are common to Ponzi schemes. For one thing, you may notice the company’s investment generates consistent positive returns even if the economy fluctuates. Investments are more likely to produce varying results as time progresses, so static positive returns should come off as suspicious. You may also notice high returns that result from low levels of investment. This is not consistent with how many investments work. High returns generally involve a high risk investment. If the investment return looks too good to be true, it likely is.

Adult felony charges to be faced by juvenile

Nebraska residents who hear about minors being arrested for crimes regardless of the nature of those offenses often assume that a person under the age of 18 will be charged as a juvenile, especially if they are two, three or more years younger than 18. However, that is not always the case as can be seen in some recent situations in the state.

One girl who is said to have shot and killed her father will in fact be charged as a juvenile. In addition to being only 14 years old, reports indicate this choice was made in part due to the belief that the girl may have been abused by her father. In contrast, a boy who is also 14 years old and shot and killed another person will be charged as an adult.

Seeking asylum in the United States

Immigrants settling in Nebraska due to fear of returning to their home country have different options available to them as far as immigration is concerned. One potential option is to seek asylum, but what exactly does that mean?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states that there are several different valid reasons for a person to seek asylum in the United States. First, they must fear that they will be persecuted, or they must have been actively persecuted within their home country already. The reasons for persecution can include:

  • Nationality
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Political opinions or views
  • Membership in certain social groups or organizations

What happens if I stay past my visa expiration?

The immigration authorities you spoke with throughout the long process of obtaining your visa likely reminded you of the expiration date printed on the front of your document. They may have impressed upon you the serious penalties of staying in the U.S. beyond the deadline. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, you are still in the country despite the passing of the expiration date.

While there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for why you overstayed your visa, the fact is that under immigration law, you are now unlawfully present. The longer you stay without properly dealing with your status, the more difficult your situation may become.

Nebraska's age of consent and sexual assault

When it comes to understanding alleged sexual crimes involving teenagers, one thing that people in Nebraska need to understand is what the state considers the age of consent. This is one area of law that differs from state to state. According to the Age of Consent, the state of Nebraska has identified 16 as the age at which a person is legally able to participate in sexual activity.

Some states have special provisions for teens who are close in age to each other but Nebraska does not necessarily follow that practice. These laws are sometimes colloquially called Romeo and Juliet laws in reference to young people in a relationship together.

Understanding tax evasion charges

If you or someone you know in Nebraska has been charged with a federal crime involving allegations of tax evasion, it will be important for you to learn about the elements of these offenses and the potential defense options. As explained by the Internal Revenue Service, one such charge may be what is called evasion of assessment.

This charge refers to an offense in which a person is accused of knowingly attempting to avoid being assessed income tax on specific income. The alleged attempted avoidance must be proven to have been by active measures, not simply by the passive lack of filing a return. An example of an active measure would be the filing of a return that contains information known to be inaccurate. In addition, the taxpayer must have some outstanding tax debt that can be identified by the IRS. This debt might be linked to income from gambling or other alleged illegal activities like embezzlement.

What situations can you use a tourist visa for?

As an immigrant currently visiting Nebraska or planning on doing so in the near future, you will need to look into visas. There are many types of visas out there, each serving a different scenario and purpose. What sort of visa is most suitable for you?

Let's take a look at tourist visas first. The U.S. Department of State lists the different types of visitor visas available to people coming into the country. The tourist visa falls under this category. The different situations that a tourist visa can be used for include:

  • Visiting friends or family
  • Tourism or vacationing
  • Enrolling in non-credited educational classes
  • Amateur non-paid sports, music, or contests
  • Medical treatment
  • Gatherings hosted by organizations

Children may face criminal charges for bullying

Many people would say that bullying is an inevitable part of life. Parents, school administrators and students have taken steps in recent years to bring awareness to the problem of bullying and to prevent it, but the fact remains that some young people in Nebraska and elsewhere will participate in teasing, threatening or harming others. It is important for parents and students to understand that some types of bullying can be seen as a crime and may result in serious charges.

Some children may see bullying as a harmless act, especially if they believe they are merely teasing their peers or performing a humorous prank. However, there are instances where a so-called “harmless” prank can go terribly wrong. In a recent incident, three girls from a school in Pennsylvania played a joke on a classmate, who was severely allergic to pineapple. Reportedly, one girl rubbed pineapple on her hand and gave a high five to the other student. The girl had to be treated at a hospital, but fortunately recovered. However, the girls who were involved in the prank are facing criminal charges, including assault, harassment, reckless endangering and criminal conspiracy.

Defining the elements of fraud

Like most in Lincoln, you likely make it a point to avoid activities that could in any way be perceived as being criminal. So have many of the clients that we here at Monzon, Guerra & Associates have worked with, yet that did not stop them from being the targets of accusations. Your personal and business interactions will often involve arrangements or agreements, some of which may not end favorably for those involved. In such cases, it is often easy for those affected to direct allegations of fraud your way. How, then, are you to prove that your motivations and intentions towards your dealings are legitimate? 

Fortunately, standards have been set that must be met for your case to qualify as fraud. In general, a legitimate fraud claim involves the following four elements: 

  • The misrepresentation of a material fact
  • A prior knowledge or belief on your part that the representation is indeed false
  • The conveyance of such information to a party who relies on it as fact
  • An actual loss or injury occurring due to that reliance 
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Monzón, Guerra & Associates, Attorneys at Law
1133 H Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

Phone: 402-477-8188
Fax: 402-477-8202
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