Tax Fraud Investigations and Prosecutions
No one likes to pay taxes, but just about all of us and our companies are obligated to do so. We all know how complex the tax laws are, even for our personal tax returns. The complexity of the tax laws result in some of the most complicated criminal cases any lawyer will ever handle. Furthermore, there are many different types of prosecutions for alleged violation of the tax laws. Sometimes, prosecutors claim that a person tried to “evade” taxes. Other cases involve allegations that the person simply failed to file a tax return. We also have seen cases where the government alleges that the Defendant failed to identify the source of income, or that he supposedly structured 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, special agents of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) handle criminal tax prosecutions. 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.
Just as doing a person’s personal tax return can be a complicated effort, defending a criminal tax cases is even more complex. Quite often, there is a staggering amount of information in a criminal tax prosecution. The lawyer needs to assess, comprehend, and then be prepared to defend against all of this information. Most of these cases require the help 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 types of highly specialized cases. Many fine lawyers simply are not equipped or refuse to work on such matters. However, we relish these types 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.