Unfiled taxes, fraud or other misrepresentations on your tax return can be a criminal offense and may be investigated by the IRS. They are punishable by Federal law and can lead to prison sentences.
There are many different types of fraud, including:
The focus is on detecting and prosecuting tax evasion and fraud cases.
The first stage of this process is an audit, which is just a civil tax assessment process.
If you are being audited and are complying with the IRS, typically you will have nothing to worry about beyond taxes, civil penalties, and interest thereon. But when the IRS discovers what it believes to be criminal violation, they may make a referral to the IRS criminal investigation division (“CID”).
The CID investigation is the second state of the criminal tax process. The CID is staffed by IRS special agents. IRS special agents investigate cases referred to them by IRS personnel or tax returns that are flagged by the IRS computer systems as being suspicious.
If you receive a notice from or are contacted by the CID, this means that you are being investigated for a crime and should consult a criminal tax attorney for representation as soon as possible.
Suspicious information on tax returns or practices that tend to indicate that there is tax evasion or fraud often lead to criminal referrals or investigations.
If suspicious, the IRS will conduct a primary investigation and then decide, based on investigation, whether to continue pursuing the criminal case. This is often handled by revenue agents and revenue officers. These IRS employees must generally get management approval to refer the case to the CID and proceed with the case as a criminal investigation.
During the criminal investigation, IRS special agents will attempt to gather possible evidence from everyone around you, such as your family and people who can be found at or associated with your place of work. They may also investigate and collect computer documentation, check into your social media accounts, subpoena your bank records, and perform various surveillance activities. Special agents are also trained to use highly specialized security measures to investigate secure and encrypted electronic data.
When the CID is conducting a criminal investigation, the case will go through several administrative levels before being evaluated by the IRS’s national office in Washington, D.C. This can be a slow process–which is good to the extent that it means there are a lot of opportunities to stop the process and have the case switched back to a civil tax investigation.
Whether you are at the initial phases of being contacted by the IRS or if you are actively being investigated for a tax crime, you have the right to representation. You need to know your rights and have a criminal tax attorney on your side.
We are former IRS attorneys, appeals officers, and auditors who help taxpayers with criminal tax matters. We offer compassionate, individualized service at manageable rates.
If you suspect you are being investigated for a tax crime or will be, call today for a confidential consultation. Our number is 713-909-4906.