Question:

About 3 years ago I received a tax credit that I shouldn’t have. I was claiming kids that I was legally allowed to claim but received a childcare credit for them also. Their mom paid the childcare fees and the daycare owner admitted to me that she altered the amount paid to be higher. I never had dependents to claim and didn’t know I could just totally forfeit this credit without having to not claim the kids period. I started to not claim the kids period due to this dilemma. I ended up still claiming them and this credit and feel guilty for two reasons.

  1. I didn’t pay child care fees, their mother did and I received the credit.
  2. The amount the daycare owner gave me was false.

I want to file an amended return but wonder will God forgive me by simply amending instead of outright admitting to fraud? I knew when I filed my taxes that the number the owner gave me was incorrect and was too scared to tell her I thought that what she was doing was wrong. She has since been unavailable. This was three years ago and I’m conflicted about how to proceed.

Answer:

Self-incrimination is not required in the Scriptures. You will need to be honest if you are asked if you did something wrong if you are ever asked, but that would be for a judge to decide whether you need to be asked.

Thus, you need to file an amended return with the correct numbers. If the results show that you owe the government additional money (some changes don't always result in additional taxes owed), then you pay the amount owed, which typically includes a hefty interest penalty. You can consider the penalty your punishment for lying on your tax forms.

Then go to God in prayer, apologize for lying, and resolve to live honestly in the future.

Response:

Thank you.

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