tax avoidance

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Tax Avoidance

The process whereby an individual plans his or her finances so as to apply all exemptions and deductions provided by tax laws to reduce taxable income.

Through tax avoidance, an individual takes advantage of all legal opportunities to minimize his or her state or federal Income Tax, gift tax, or estate tax. An individual may, for example, avoid federal income tax by investing a large sum of money in municipal bonds, since the interest on such bonds is not considered taxable income on which federal tax is due. Interest on the same amount of money placed in a savings account must be included as taxable income.

Tax avoidance must be distinguished from Tax Evasion, which is the employment of unlawful methods to circumvent the payment of taxes. Tax evasion is a crime; tax avoidance is not.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

tax avoidance

legally reducing tax liability. Tax planning is the activity by which a taxpayer seeks to arrange his affairs so that his tax liability is minimized; avoidance of tax within the limits of tax law is perfectly legitimate. Some forms of avoidance are merely tax planning by using reliefs or exemptions, for example, by choosing tax-efficient investments. Others are convoluted and rather artificial. See TAX EVASION.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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