Top Tax Excuses: Providing tax information is self-incrimination

This post was written as part of a series on tax excuses that don't work.

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives people the right to not incriminate themselves in criminal matters. This means they don't have to testify in criminal trials of themselves. They don't have to tell on themselves in regard to crimes that they've committed or been accused of committing.

The filing of tax returns is something completely different, however. Yes, it's possible that a tax return could later be used in a criminal tax trial against you, but that possibility is very remote. Especially if you're honest when you file and pay your taxes. So the filing of tax returns is not equivalent to self-incrimination.

It is merely the reporting of income which will be taxed by the government. You're required to report your income on tax returns, and the U.S. Constitution doesn't exempt you from that.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.
Filing Your Taxes Late
What do you do if you can't meet the IRS filing deadline? Learn more about filing a tax extension, late payment and late filing penalties, and what to do if you can't pay your taxes.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
How to File an Amended Tax Return with the IRS
Did you make a mistake on your tax return or realize you missed out on a valuable tax deduction or credit? You can file an amended tax return to make the correction. Filing an amended tax return with the IRS is a straightforward process. This article includes step-by-step instructions for when and how to amend your tax return using Form 1040-X.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
Taxes 2021: 7 Upcoming Tax Law Changes
Tax Year 2021 will likely bring some surprises, but some of its changes are already planned. Here's what you need to know about some of the planned phase-outs, changes and inflation adjustments the IRS will present for taxes in 2021.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
Ways to Increase Your Tax Refund You Never Thought About
Laying the groundwork for a tax refund requires some simple tax planning, a little research and some forethought. Reviewing your tax status, consulting your spouse when filling out your W-4s and taking advantage of several tax credits can help you increase your tax refund. TurboTax also can help decide which credits can get you the biggest refund.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com