A new client once came to me saying she had made an error in preparing her tax return and inadvertently took a deduction to which she was not entitled. “Will I go to jail if I’m audited?” The answer of course, is no. If that were the case, you might as well surround the country in barbed wire and imprison all of us. After all, I’m sure almost everyone in this country has made an error or misunderstood a tax law and claimed a deduction they shouldn’t have or failed to report some income because the reporting document got lost in the mail or misplaced.
But some taxpayers go too far. Their tax returns read like a fiction novel. Therefore, IRS auditors have been trained to spot the hot issues which usually are present with dishonest taxpayers. These hot issues are called by the IRS as the “Badges Of Fraud” which could result in your case being referred to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CID).
The Badges Of Fraud include:
- understatements of income;
- inadequate records;
- failure to file tax returns;
- implausible or inconsistent explanations of behavior;
- concealment of assets;
- failure to cooperate with tax authorities;
- engaging in illegal activities;
- attempting to conceal illegal activities;
- dealing in cash; and
- failure to make estimated tax payments.
If you have any of these tax problems and you are audited by the IRS you may need to engage a tax fraud attorney. Actions you take during the course of a tax audit can turn a run of the mill tax controversy into a tax fraud case. For example, lying or giving evasive answers to IRS investigators, delaying tactics, and other actions designed to mislead IRS agents are all indicia of tax fraud.
The penalties for criminal tax fraud are very serious. They range up to 5 years in jail, plus fines of up to $500,000, plus the costs of prosecution for each separate tax crime. Once the criminal tax case is completed CID will refer the case back to the IRS Examination Division where the taxes will be assessed, and the IRS can be expected to add on the civil tax fraud penalty, on top of any criminal tax fraud fines.
Whether and when to answer questions from the IRS, or whether to stand on your 5th Amendment rights, are questions that only a tax fraud lawyer can help you answer. Your financial well being, as well as your personal freedom may depend on the right answers. If you or your accountant even suspects that you might be subject to a criminal or civil tax fraud penalty, the experienced tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego and elsewhere in California can determine how to respond to these inquiries and formulate an effective strategy.
Description: Working with a tax attorney lawyer is the best way to assure that your freedom is protected and to minimize any additional amount you may owe to the IRS.