DC Federal Tax Evasion Lawyer
The nonpayment or underpayment of federal taxes is a serious matter, and those accused of tax evasion are aggressively investigated and pursued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). There are both significant civil and criminal penalties associated with violations of the tax code.
The penalties associated with federal tax evasion can be serious and can include prison sentences, significant fines, and repayment of the costs of prosecution. People who are accused and convicted of criminal tax evasion can also expect to be assessed fines for the full amount of unpaid taxes owed, as well as civil tax penalties of up to 75 percent of their unpaid taxes plus interest. With such severe potential penalties at stake, anyone with a significant tax issue or who is currently under investigation by the IRS should retain the help of an experienced DC federal tax evasion lawyer immediately.
What Constitutes Tax Evasion
Tax evasion is defined by 26 U.S.C. Section 7201 as a type of tax fraud by which a taxpayer attempts to avoid paying taxes which they know are lawfully due. A defendant is subject to an evasion count for each year that the defendant evaded payment of taxes.
To establish tax evasion beyond a reasonable doubt, the government must prove that the defendant (1) underpaid taxes; (2) engaged in an affirmative act of evasion or attempt to evade; and (3) acted willfully. In order to prove that the defendant acted “willfully,” the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew federal tax law imposed a duty on him or her, and the defendant intentionally and voluntarily violated that duty.
A defendant who acts on a good faith misunderstanding as to the requirements of the law does not act willfully even if their understanding of the law is wrong or unreasonable. Nevertheless, merely disagreeing with the law does not constitute a good-faith misunderstanding of the law because all persons have a duty to obey the law whether or not they agree with it.
IRS Criminal Investigations
An IRS auditor or revenue officer will determine whether there may be possible tax fraud or evasion occurring by a certain taxpayer. Information regarding potential fraud may also be obtained from the public as well as from investigations being conducted by other law enforcement agencies.
Special agents examine the information provided to them in a primary investigation to determine whether criminal fraud or some other financial crime has occurred. After this step is completed, the agent’s supervisor reviews the information and either agrees or declines to further develop the information they have.
If it is determined that sufficient evidence exists to pursue the case, a criminal investigation is opened, and the special agent to whom the case is assigned uses a variety of investigative techniques to obtain more information. When conducting an investigation, the IRS may interview witnesses, conduct surveillance of subjects, obtain search warrants, subpoena bank records, and review other financial information.
During this process, the agent on the case works closely with IRS attorneys to ensure that all legal issues are properly handled and that the recommendation as to whether the subject of the investigation will be prosecuted is made correctly. When the investigation is completed, the agent and their supervisor make a determination regarding the sufficiency of the evidence, and either discontinue the investigation or recommend prosecution to either the Department of Justice in the case of tax investigations or to the United States Attorney for other types of crimes.
Working with a Tax Fraud Lawyer
When the IRS chooses to investigate a taxpayer who is suspected of tax evasion, it has considerable financial and investigative resources at its disposal. These investigations have the potential to result in serious consequences, including significant fines and even incarceration. This is why it is crucial that anyone who is facing allegations of tax evasion or fraud, or who believes they may be under investigation, should consult with an attorney who has experience in defending clients against these charges in the District of Columbia.
This is why it is crucial that anyone who is facing allegations of tax evasion or fraud, or who believes they may be under investigation, should consult with an federal tax evasion attorney who has experience in defending clients against these charges in DC.