What Is a Tax Affidavit?

M. Lupica

A tax affidavit is a legal document that basically acts as a sworn statement pertaining to a tax filing. There are a number of reasons why these sorts of documents are executed, but almost always serve as a formal record that can be accessed by the courts, government officials, and law enforcement. Affidavits can be required of both individuals and corporations, and are usually pretty simple; most of the time they just ask for a sworn statement that taxes were paid and that the payment was both honest and complete. In most cases, the affidavit itself isn’t particularly complicated or even all that meaningful, at least on its own. It’s what’s done with it that matters — as a sworn statement, it can be used to prove assets and also to establish perjury and related crimes if the document is found to contain intentional misinformation or omissions.

A jurisdiction might require that a notary witness the signing of a tax affidavit.
A jurisdiction might require that a notary witness the signing of a tax affidavit.

Understanding Affidavits Generally

An affidavit is a legal document that has many different uses in the legal realm. The person signing the affidavit is usually known as an “affiant,” and the document usually contains a statement that the affiant swears is completely true to the best of his or her knowledge. The documents may be used for a variety of situations where the affiant’s attested statement of fact is required. Several of these situations involve occasions where the affiant must attest to the truth regarding the payment of certain taxes. Tax-related affidavits usually differ from most others only in the kinds of situations in which it arises.

A tax affidavit contains legally sworn statements relating to an individual or business entity's tax issues.
A tax affidavit contains legally sworn statements relating to an individual or business entity's tax issues.

Relationship to Taxation

In most places, people only have to sign tax affidavits in special situations. Most countries require individuals and businesses to pay various taxes on a regular basis, but unless there is reason to investigate, simply paying fully and on time is usually all that is required. Affidavits usually only come into play when there is an audit or other investigation, or when governments or courts are trying to make an accounting of a person’s assets for something like support calculations.

A tax-specific affidavit is a legally significant document that contains an affiant’s sworn statement regarding certain tax issues. This document must contain a statement that describes what it is that the affiant is swearing is true. Governments often require that the affiant sign the document in front of a notary public, though this is not always required. If the affiant signs the document knowing that the facts to which he or she is attesting are false, then he or she may be held criminally liable for perjury.

In Real Estate Transactions

Perhaps the most common instance in which a tax affidavit is used is in the sale of a majority interest in land. Depending on the jurisdiction, the person who sells the land may have to pay an excise tax on the sale. Generally, the jurisdiction in which the land sits will provide its citizens a form that details how to calculate the excise tax due on the sale of the land. Attached to the form is often an affidavit that confirms the amount listed as payment.

As Related to Support

Courts sometimes require tax accountings and affidavits in situations of child and spousal support. Tax returns are often a good way of verifying not only income from paid work, but also money made from any investments or capital expenses. When parties to a family law dispute submit sworn affidavits related to taxes paid or owed, they are giving the court a sense of their financial health as well as their prospects for providing monetary support into the future.

In Business

Another situation that may give rise to the use of a tax affidavit is when a business owner applies for a particular license necessary for conducting a specific type of business in a given location. For instance, an affiant applying for a license to sell liquor may, as a part of the application process, have to attest that he or she will keep current on all applicable taxes as long as he or she is operating under the conditions of the license. This affidavit is much more simple than the type previously described as it is simply a formality in assuring that the affiant will fulfill all of his or her duties under the law.

Perjury charges may result in incarceration.
Perjury charges may result in incarceration.

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