The IRS employs a team of agents dedicated to investigating incidences of tax fraud. Once they discover these offenses, they make sure that the IRS recovers every dollar that is owed to it.
Even if you accidentally committed fraud while filing your taxes, you still may need legal counsel to resolve your case in your favor. You can get back in compliance with the IRS by knowing how and when to hire a criminal tax lawyer.
Tax Cases that Qualify as Criminal MattersWhen should you hire a tax lawyer to represent you before the IRS? You should retain criminal tax counsel if you:
- purposely omitted income sources on your tax return
- received bank deposits from unexplained sources
- concealed bank or brokerage accounts
- concealed unexplained currency
- failed to deposit receipts
- substantial overstatement of deductions
- false statements or information related to a tax examination
- failure to file required forms and returns
- failure to maintain accurate records
- maintaining more than one set of books
- failure to disclose fully relevant facts to an accountant, attorney, or tax preparer
How to Hire a Criminal Tax Lawyer
What criteria should you look for when you vet criminal tax attorneys to take your case? You first want to look for one who is highly trained and experienced in tax law.
A skilled criminal tax attorney should devote most or all of his or her practice to tax law. This individual should also have prior experience with filing tax returns or handling tax matters. Some attorneys work as CPAs, accountants, or other tax pros before they are admitted to the bar as criminal tax lawyers.
You also want a lawyer who encourages open communication with you. You should be able to call and speak directly with your attorney. You also should expect a prompt response from your criminal tax counsel if you email or leave a message for him or her.
Finally, you want a criminal tax lawyer who encourages and expects your full participation in your case. This individual should not discourage you from taking responsibility for your involvement in the matter. If anything, you should be encouraged and guided toward admitting your own involvement and responsibility in why your tax case took on a criminal nature.
You also need a lawyer who will capitalize on your relationship with witnesses that might be called when your case goes to court. You alone know who these people are involved in your case and to what level they are culpable in the matter as well. The information you provide about those people can be vital as your counsel builds a defense case that could exonerate you or help get the charges reduced.
Finally, you should look for a criminal tax lawyer who wants and can help you move forward after your tax case is settled. It is important that you learn from your mistakes and avoid making the same ones in the future. Your lawyer should be ready to guide you toward making better tax paying decisions in the future and discourage you from falling into old habits that got you into trouble with the IRS in the first place.
Tax matters can quickly turn into criminal matters if you purposely or mistakenly omit or conceal information from the IRS. You can determine if your tax case is criminal in nature and if you need a criminal tax lawyer by knowing how and when to retain this unique kind of counsel.