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The IRS does not always enforce civil tax laws. It has the power to impose criminal charges leading to a conviction, fines, and imprisonment. While most taxpayers convicted of criminal tax violations have, historically, received probationary sentences, the advent of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”) in 1987 has increased the likelihood of incarceration or some form of community confinement upon conviction of a tax crime.
If an IRS Special Agent ever contacts you personally, this may mean that they are conducting a criminal investigation. Beware that lying to a federal agent (unlike to state police) carries a separate criminal charge and can substantially increase your sentence. It is never advisable to talk to the visiting IRS agent without your attorney present.
If you are notified that the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS or the U.S. Attorney’s Office is requesting copies of your bank records through a summons, there is a high probability that you and/or your company are under criminal investigation. Your accountant might also be subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury and bring your records. A Federal Grand Jury subpoena is a good indicator that a criminal investigation is conducted against you and/or your company.
Our criminal tax lawyers understand that criminal tax cases differ from other tax issues. Tax crimes can lead to large tax debts, including a 75% Civil Fraud Penalty. But more importantly, they could result in years of jail time. There are also collateral effects of a criminal conviction for tax, such as loss of licenses for law, medicine, or accounting. Additionally, you will lose your right to vote and carry firearms. There is also a high chance that you will lose your job. If you’re not a US citizen but are a legal resident, such as a green card holder, you may be deported after serving your jail time. Our criminal tax attorney strive to minimize these risks before it is too late.
Some criminal tax cases begin with a knock on the door at 7:00 am. IRS Criminal Investigation Division’s two Special Agents will walk up, displaying their golden badges, and ask if they could come in to speak. Under the Fifth Amendment, they can read your rights but they’re not required to. Our criminal tax defense attorney remain amazed that so many people agree to sit in front of an IRS agent in their home and share their stories as the latter attempts to send them to jail for tax fraud. The Internal Revenue Manual states that “the testimony of witnesses, and the admissions or confessions of alleged offenders are major factors” in resolving a tax investigation.
By the time an IRS special agent arrives, the IRS will have already conducted a thorough investigation. The IRS special agent may have information that has led to the IRS believing there has been a possible violation of tax, money laundering, or bank secrecy laws. There are several reasons why people speak to IRS special agents before retaining a criminal tax lawyer. The first is that people mistakenly believe that if they explain the situation, pay the tax debt, and leave, the IRS special agent will be satisfied. However, this is likely to be different. The majority of taxpayers are unable to accept that what they believed was a small amount of fudging in their tax return could be a tax offense punishable by jail time.
In general, these are not defenses against criminal tax charges. Another problem is that all statements made to IRS agents are carefully recorded, and inaccurate statements can be used to prove guilt.
When you receive a call from an IRS agent, the best response is to say you’re not prepared to talk with them. The next step is to immediately contact a criminal tax lawyer. You should take criminal tax violations as seriously as the IRS does.
If an IRS special agent has approached you regarding a criminal case and you still have concerns about your tax return, it would be wise to consult a tax attorney first before speaking directly with them or your tax preparer. Your preparer could potentially be on their list for interview by IRS agents without attorney-client privilege protecting him/her against testifying as evidence against you. Our Los Angeles criminal tax attorney aggressively represent tax crime cases.
Criminal charges relating to taxes can have a devastating effect on you, your business, and other financial endeavors. Los Angeles criminal tax attorney can help you if you suspect that you will soon be under criminal investigation. The tax experts at Tenina Law possess the knowledge and experience of a Board-Certified Tax Attorney in Los Angeles. You will receive the best possible representation and attention for your case. We analyze possible defenses and respond to the developments of an investigation.
Our criminal tax defense lawyers serve clients throughout Los Angeles, including those outside the city. We are familiar with the IRS policies and procedures, as well as the Department of Justice. We make every effort to settle cases in favor of our clients at an early stage by presenting legal and factual defenses that aim to avoid criminal charges.
The Criminal Investigations Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the highest success rate of any federal agency. 92 percent of the cases that it refers to the Justice Department’s Tax Division end in criminal convictions. The IRS’s most common charges include false tax returns, failures to fire, failures to report income, overstated deductions fraudulently, failures to collect and pay taxes for employment, conspiracy to impede the IRS, false statements, or false documentation submitted to the IRS. The California Franchise Tax Board’s criminal investigations program also investigates suspected cases of failure to file tax returns and filing false income tax returns.
The Criminal Investigation Division must first obtain IRS approval before it can begin pursuing a taxpayer. After that, the case is sent to federal prosecutors. The multi-step procedure gives you and your lawyer multiple chances to resolve your case. You have an opportunity to convince the government of the unfounded nature of the criminal case or to try to clarify any misunderstandings that may have contributed to their case. By doing this, you can reduce the likelihood of being prosecuted.
If the IRS agent suspects fraud, he or she may refer a taxpayer who is facing a civil matter, such as an audit, collection, or other tax issue, to the Criminal Investigation Division. The Criminal Investigation Division will review the information that the IRS agent collecting tax or conducting the audit has provided. If the Criminal Investigation Division finds sufficient evidence to support criminal activity, they may execute search warrants and subpoena records of banks, conduct surveillance, or interview third-party witnesses.
Tax-related penalties can be severe in both civil and criminal cases. Your criminal tax defense lawyer can assist you in developing a comprehensive defense strategy as soon as a criminal investigation is possible. Even if your company or you are under a criminal tax investigation, cooperating with the investigating authority can yield positive results in some cases. Cooperation can help you avoid indictment and other negative consequences. You can also minimize penalties by retaining a Los Angeles criminal tax attorney early.
You should also be aware that any statements you give to an IRS special agent can be used in your criminal case. An experienced and capable criminal tax defense lawyer can help you decide which steps to follow or avoid when dealing with the IRS.
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