Differences between Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion
Tax avoidance is generally the legal exploitation of the tax regime to one's own advantage, to attempt to reduce the amount of tax that is payable by means that are within the law whilst making a full disclosure of the material information to the tax authorities. Examples of tax avoidance involve using tax deductions, changing one's business structure through incorporation or establishing an offshore company in a tax haven.
By contrast tax evasion is the general term for efforts by individuals, firms, trusts and other entities to evade the payment of taxes by illegal means. Tax evasion usually entails taxpayers deliberately misrepresenting or concealing the true state of their affairs to the tax authorities to reduce their tax liability, and includes, in particular, dishonest tax reporting (such as underdeclaring income, profits or gains; or overstating deductions).
Tax avoidance may be considered as either the amoral dodging of one's duties to society, part of a strategy of not supporting violent government activities or just the right of every citizen to find all the legal ways to avoid paying too much tax. Tax evasion, on the other hand, is a crime in almost all countries and subjects the guilty party to fines or even imprisonment. Switzerland is one notable exception: tax fraud (forging documents, for example) is considered a crime, tax evasion (like underdeclaring assets) is not.
Some tax evaders see their efforts to evade taxation as based upon novel legal theories: these individuals and groups are sometimes called tax protesters. U.S. tax protesters are an example of this kind of approach to tax evasion that has generally ended in failure for those making such claims.
Tax resistance is the refusal to pay the tax for conscientious reasons (because they do not want to support the government or some of its activities), sometimes breaking the law to do so. Some donate their unpaid taxes to charity, while...