Every assessee wants to escape from paying taxes, which encourages them to use various means to avoid such payment. And when it’s about savings if taxes, the two most common practices that can be seen all around the world are tax avoidance and tax evasion. Tax avoidance is an exercise in which the assessee legally tries to defeat the basic intention of the law, by taking advantage of the shortcomings in the legislature.
On the contrary, tax evasion is a practice of reducing tax liability through illegal means, i.e. by suppressing income or inflating expenses or by showing lower income. In other words, Tax Avoidance is completely lawful because only those means are employed which are legal, while Tax Evasion is considered as a crime in the whole world, as it resorts to various kinds of deliberate manipulations. To learn more differences, on the given topics, read the article provided below.
Content: Tax Avoidance Vs Tax Evasion
|Basis for Comparison||Tax Avoidance||Tax Evasion|
|Meaning||Minimization of tax liability, by taking such means which do not violate the tax rules, is Tax Avoidance.||Reducing tax liability by using illegal ways is known as Tax Evasion.|
|What is it?||Hedging of tax||Concealment of tax|
|Attributes||Immoral in nature, which involves bending the law without breaking it.||Illegal and objectionable, both in script and moral.|
|Concept||Taking unfair advantage of the shortcomings in the tax laws.||Deliberate manipulations in accounts resulting in fraud.|
|Legal implication||Use of Justified means||Use of such means that are forbidden by law|
|Happened when||Before the occurrence of tax liability.||After tax liability arises.|
|Type of act||Legal||Criminal|
|Consequences||Deferment of tax liability||Penalty or imprisonment|
|Objective||To reduce tax liability by applying the script of law.||To reduce tax liability by exercising unfair means.|
Definition of Tax Avoidance
An arrangement made to beat the intent of the law by taking unfair advantage of the shortcomings in the tax rules is known as Tax Avoidance. It refers to finding out new methods or tools to avoid the payment of taxes which are within the limits of the law.
This can be done by adjusting the accounts in a manner that it will not violate any tax rules, as well as the tax incurrence, will also be minimised. Formerly tax avoidance is considered as lawful, but now it comes to the category of crime in some special cases.
The only purpose of tax avoidance is to postpone or shift or eliminate the tax liability. This can be done investing in government schemes and offers like the tax credit, tax privileges, deductions, exemptions, etc., which will result in the reduction in the tax liability without making any offence or breach of law.
Definition of Tax Evasion
An illegal act, made to escape from paying taxes is known as Tax Evasion. Such illegal practices can be deliberate concealment of income, manipulation in accounts, disclosure of unreal expenses for deductions, showing personal expenditure as business expenses, overstatement of tax credit or exemptions suppression of profits and capital gains, etc. This will result in the disclosure of income which is not the actual income earned by the entity.
Tax Evasion is a criminal activity for which the assessee is subject to punishment under the law. It involves acts like:
- Deliberate misrepresentation of material facts.
- Hiding relevant documents.
- Not maintaining complete records of all the transactions.
- Making false statements.
Key Differences Between Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion
The following are the major differences between Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion:
- A planning made to reduce the tax burden without infringement of the legislature is known as Tax Avoidance. An unlawful act, done to avoid tax payment is known as Tax Evasion.
- Tax avoidance refers to hedging of tax, but tax evasion implies the suppression of tax.
- Tax avoidance is immoral that tends to bend the law without causing any damage to it. Unlike tax evasion, which is illegal and objectionable both according to law and morality.
- Tax avoidance aims at minimising the tax burden by applying the script of law. However, tax evasion minimises the tax liability by exercising unfair means.
- Tax Avoidance involves taking benefit of the loopholes in the law. Conversely, Tax Evasion includes the deliberate concealment of material facts.
- The arrangement for tax avoidance is made prior to the occurrence of tax liability. Unlike Tax Evasion, where the arrangements for it, are made after the occurrence of the tax liability.
- Tax avoidance is completely legal however Tax Evasion is a criminal activity.
- The result of tax avoidance is the postponement of the tax, whereas the consequence of tax evasion if the assessee is found guilty of doing so, is either imprisonment or penalty or both.
Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion both are meant to reduce the tax liability ultimately but what makes the difference is that the former is justified in the eyes of the law as it does not make any offence or breaks any law. However, it is biased as the honest taxpayers are not fools, but they can also make arrangements for postponing unnecessary tax. If we talk about the latter, it is completely unjustified because it is fraudulent activity, because it involves the acts which are forbidden by the law and hence it is punishable.