Tax CrimesOur lawyers have over 35 years of experience in representing clients under investigation by the IRS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has an extensive job in the federal government in ensuring business owners pay the taxes required under the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS cannot analyze every tax return filed in a given tax year. To combat this problem, the IRS has learned to focus their inquiries on members of certain groups or certain tax behavior which often accompanies fraudulent filings. Once a return is flagged, the IRS will conduct an audit to determine if the correct amount of taxes were paid, and whether the action was a mistake or a willful evasion. It is at this point where the IRS will decide whether the case belongs in the Civil Division or the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the IRS.
The offense of filing a fraudulent return requires a person to willfully file a false statement with the IRS. This means a filer must know what is required under the Internal Revenue Code and still choose to file the falsity. There is a fine line between making an honest mistake and committing a federal crime. Which side of the line the tax payer falls on will decide which division of the IRS handles the investigation going forward. This reality makes it crucial that anyone under investigation hires an experienced tax fraud attorney early on in the process.
Most criminal tax investigations begin with a civil audit, or a referral from a bank or an unfriendly peer of the filer. Early on in the process, the IRS will be calculating whether the matter should be handled by the Criminal Investigations Division. If an agent with the CID obtains the case, then a real risk exists that criminal charges will follow. Luckily, the filer has multiple opportunities to steer the investigation back to the civil division. These opportunities are created by the slight variations between criminal and innocent activity, and make criminal tax cases truly unique in our system of justice.
A criminal tax case will always start with an investigation from an agent with the CID. When the agent’s investigation is complete, they will make a decision on whether the case should be referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in D.C. If they choose to make the referral, an attorney with DOJ will review the file and make a recommendation. If that recommendation is criminal charges, the case is returned to local counsel where the case will be prosecuted. Local counsel will make the decision on whether to indict. At each juncture in this road map, a tax filer has the opportunity to challenge the willfulness of their conduct, the accuracy of the government’s numbers, and the proposed tax loss under the IRC. For this reason, it is important to contact a competent tax fraud attorney to advocate a defense at each step of the process.
Anyone under investigation by the CID needs a competent criminal tax lawyer as soon as an agent makes contact. The attorneys at Odom & Davis have been handling criminal tax cases for over 35 years. We have walked numerous clients through the process outlined above with good results. We deal with criminal tax cases on a daily basis, and understand the laws and procedures in this area. If we are unsuccessful in resolving the case civilly, our tax fraud lawyers are experienced litigators who are ready to take these cases to trial.
We have two important goals in any criminal tax case. First, to convince the CID or DOJ the case should be handled by the civil department. Second, if the case does end in a criminal indictment, to build a defense against the allegations and take the facts before a jury.
Leave your criminal tax case in the hands of qualified tax fraud lawyers. Contact us today for a consultation.
The following is a list of articles written by attorneys at Odom & Davis covering various topics related to criminal tax defense:
- Criminal Tax Sentencing in Federal Court
- Overview of Federal Sentencing – Part One
- Overview of Federal Sentencing – Part Two
- Supreme Court Narrows Obstruction in Criminal Tax Cases
- IRS Investigations into the Crypto Market
- Criminal Tax and the Crypto Market
- Criminal Tax Defense – Ignorance of the Law and Cheek v. United States
- Anatomy of a Criminal Tax Case – Part One
- Anatomy of a Criminal Tax Case – Part Two
- Criminal Tax Defense – When Failure to File Becomes Tax Evasion