Tax Avoidance Is a Legal Way To Limit Taxes; Tax Evasion Is Not

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Tax Avoidance Is a Legal Way To Limit Taxes; Tax Evasion Is Not

What Is Tax Avoidance?

The employment of lawful means to reduce the amount of income tax payable by a person or a corporation is referred to as tax avoidance. This is often achieved by claiming as many available deductions and credits as possible. It may also be accomplished by prioritizing tax-advantaged investments, such as purchasing tax-free municipal bonds. Tax evasion, on the other hand, focuses on unlawful practices such as underreporting income and fabricating deductions.

Key Takeaways

  • Tax evasion is any lawful strategy employed by a taxpayer to reduce the amount of income tax owing.
  • Individual individuals and organizations alike may utilize tax avoidance strategies to reduce their tax liabilities.
  • Tax credits, deductions, income exclusions, and loopholes are all methods of avoiding taxes.
  • These are legal tax benefits that are granted to promote certain activities, such as saving for retirement or purchasing a property.
  • Tax evasion, on the other hand, focuses on unlawful means such as underreporting income.

Tax Avoidance Vs. Tax Evasion

Understanding Tax Avoidance

Tax avoidance is a legal approach that many people might use to avoid paying taxes or, at the very least, reduce their tax liabilities. In truth, millions of people and corporations employ some type of tax evasion to reduce the amount they legally and lawfully owe to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Tax avoidance is sometimes referred to as a tax shelter in this context.

Taxpayers may avoid paying taxes by taking use of numerous credits, deductions, exclusions, and loopholes, such as:

Credits and deductions (and therefore tax evasion) must first be authorized by the United States Congress and signed into law by the president before they become part of the United States Tax Code. Once completed, these provisions may be utilized to benefit or relieve some or all taxpayers.

The Internal Revenue Code allows for tax evasion (IRC).The Tax Code is used by legislators to affect citizen behavior by providing tax credits, deductions, or exemptions. They implicitly subsidize critical services like as health insurance, retirement savings, and higher education by doing so. Alternatively, they may utilize the Tax Code to further national objectives such as increased energy efficiency.

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The child tax credit maximum was increased from $2,000 to $3,000 for children aged six to seventeen, and $3,600 for children under the age of six. This modification is part of the American Relief Act and will take effect for the 2021 tax year.

Special Considerations

The growing usage of tax evasion in the United States Tax Code has made it one of the most complicated in the world. In fact, because of its complexity, many taxpayers lose out on crucial tax incentives. Every year, taxpayers spend billions of hours filling tax returns, with most of that time spent seeking for methods to avoid paying greater taxes.

Because the tax law changes every year, it may be challenging for families to make choices regarding retirement, savings, and education. Businesses bear the brunt of the effects of an ever-changing tax system, which may influence employment choices and expansion initiatives.

Most proposals to amend the Tax Code center on eliminating or decreasing tax evasion. Newer suggestions often aim to simplify the process by leveling tax rates and eliminating the majority of tax evasion methods. Proponents of a flat tax rate believe that it would reduce the need for tax dodging tactics. Opponents, on the other hand, deem the flat tax notion regressive.

However, there are certain tax regimes that disproportionately benefit residents with greater earnings. As an example:

  • Federal inheritance taxes on estates valued at less than $11.7 million are eliminated in 2021 and $12.06 million in 2022.
  • Capital gains are taxed at a lower rate than most other types of earned income.
  • Mortgage interest on a first and second (but not a third) property is deductible.

If you are a company owner, freelancer, or investor, make sure you retain all receipts that may be relevant for legal tax avoidance.

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Types of Tax Avoidance

As previously stated, there are numerous methods for taxpaying companies to avoid paying taxes. This comprises specific tax advantages and deductions, exclusions, and loopholes found in the United States Tax Code. The following are only a handful of the options available to taxpayers in order to benefit from tax avoidance.

The Standard Deduction

More than 90% of people use the standard deduction instead of itemizing their deductions. For the year 2021, the standard deduction is $12,550 for individuals and $25,100 for married couples filing jointly. For 2022, this sum rises to $12,950 for solo taxpayers and $25,900 for married couples filing jointly.

For most Americans, even the mortgage interest deduction is no longer meaningful, particularly since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), passed in 2017, doubled the standard deduction and restricted deductions for state and local taxes at $10,000.

However, many small company owners, freelancers, investors, and others keep every business cost receipt that may be deducted. Others rush to the IRS challenge, looking for whatever tax reduction or credit they can obtain.

Retirement Savings

Saving for retirement implies that you are most likely avoiding taxes. That is a nice thing. Anyone who contributes to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or invests in an individual retirement account (IRA) is avoiding taxes.

If the account is a so-called classic plan, the investor receives an instant tax credit equivalent to the amount they contribute each year, subject to a yearly maximum. When the money is taken when the saver retires, income taxes are due. The retiree’s taxable income, as well as the taxes owing, will more likely be smaller. That is tax evasion.

Roth plans enable investors to save money after taxes, with the tax cut coming after retirement in the form of tax-free savings. In this instance, the full account balance is tax-free. Roth IRAs enable savers to avoid paying income taxes on their contributions for the rest of their lives.

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Workplace Expenses

You may save taxes by taking advantage of workplace deductions. On your yearly tax return, you may be allowed to claim some costs that are not repaid by your employer. These expenses are deemed essential in order for you to perform your duties. Workplace expenditures might include personal automobile travel, union dues, or items that you may need to utilize.


The United States Tax Code has loopholes that enable firms and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) to shift their money to overseas tax havens. These are places with less rules, more advantageous tax laws, reduced financial risks, and more secrecy. By establishing subsidiaries or bank accounts overseas, these taxpaying firms may avoid paying (higher) taxes in their home nations.

Tax Avoidance vs. Tax Evasion

People often mix up tax avoidance with tax evasion. While both are techniques to avoid paying taxes, they are not the same. Tax evasion is entirely prohibited, although tax avoidance is perfectly allowed.

Tax evasion occurs when someone underreport or fail to report their income or revenue to a taxation body such as the IRS. If you do not record all of your income, such as tips or incentives received by your company, you are committing tax evasion. Tax evasion also includes claiming credits to which you are not entitled. Some people commit tax evasion by failing to submit or pay their taxes, even though they have filed returns.

Tax evasion is a significant criminal violation. Entities found guilty may face fines, imprisonment, or both.

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