Some of the most complicated criminal cases involve prosecutions for alleged violations of the tax laws. These cases can come in many forms, from evasion of taxes, failure to file, failing to identify the source of income, and structuring cash deposits to avoid the filing of currency transaction reports (CTR's). Tax charges are also sometimes added on when federal prosecutors are focusing on other potential crimes. For example, in the past few years we have seen tax charges added on when a business was caught hiring illegal aliens to work without proper documentation.
For the most part, criminal tax prosecutions are handled by special agents of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Such agents often start an investigation when they get a tip from a disgruntled former employee or business partner, or a former spouse or lover. Agents might show up unannounced at the taxpayer's home or business. From this point forward, the taxpayer needs the expert advice of an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer. The lawyer will often know the agents, or if not, will generally know the federal prosecutor who is overseeing the investigation.
Federal criminal tax investigations often last for several years. At some point, the lawyer will have important meetings with the prosecutor about whether the government will seek an indictment. Sometimes, the defense lawyer will have the right to attend meetings in Washington, D.C. where he or she can try and convince the Tax Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that DOJ should not authorize a prosecution. If there is an indictment, the matter gets far more complex and complicated.
Tax cases are often paper-intensive, with huge amounts of information that the attorney needs to comprehend. Furthermore, the lawyer often needs the assistance of additional experts, such as forensic accountants. Defending such a case is a large task, which requires a lawyer who can quickly assimilate the information involved.
Tax cases are also complicated because the sentencing rules are often difficult to comprehend. Additionally, if a defendant is found guilty, or decides to enter a plea of guilty, that is not the end of the story. There often will be issues related to paying back taxes, penalties and interest, along with potential criminal fines. Sometimes, an entire business is at risk when the government brings criminal tax charges against the owners of the business.
This brief overview shows that anyone who is facing the possibility of a federal criminal tax case needs to get an attorney who is experienced handling these type of highly specialized cases. Many fine lawyers simply are not equipped or refuse to work on such matters. However, we relish these type of cases, and have had very good results for many of our clients.
At Kish & Lietz, we handle these difficult cases with the same vigor we bring to the defense of all our clients. If you are facing such a situation, please feel free to call (404) 588-3991 or contact us online.