The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (“CID”) is made up of Special Agents who are duly sworn law enforcement officers who are trained to “follow the money”. CID may open up an investigation in higher profile cases as a result of coordination with the FBI, DEA, INS and other agencies. However, average citizens should not assume that they are immune from investigation by the CID. They may be targets of special programs, such as those involving tax protester groups, bankruptcy fraud, or bank deposits or currency exchange transactions involving cash of $10,000.00 or more. In addition, they may be referred to CID by Revenue Agents of the Examination Division or Revenue Officers of the Collection Division who have reason to believe that there may be fraud or tax evasion involved in the cases they are working. Finally, CID may open an investigation simply as a result of a telephone call to their “squeal” line if it feels that the call warrants further investigation.
A criminal case is the most serious kind of case that IRS can have against a taxpayer. Nothing even comes close to the impact of an investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division. If it results in a referral to the U.S. Justice Department and subsequent prosecution, the consequences may be devastating, including damage to the taxpayer’s personal and business reputation, financial ruin, break up of his or her family unit, and, worst of all, incarceration.
If you are contacted by Special Agents and asked to be interviewed, decline the interview and contact a criminal attorney immediately. Do not say anything to them. Anything you say may be held against you – even statements you may consider to be innocuous. For example, many criminal statutes require an element that is known as “willfulness.” Willfulness is a state of mind that cannot be demonstrated through direct evidence. The government must resort to circumstantial evidence to prove a state of mind, such as statements by the taxpayer. Therefore, even statements about the weather, depending on the context in which they are made, may be relevant to prove “willfulness.” An unwary taxpayer, encouraged by seemingly friendly and low-key Special Agents, may disclose information that is damaging to his or her case.
How do you know you have been contacted by Special Agents? They almost always travel in pairs, show their gold badges, and, as a matter of policy, usually read your “Miranda” rights on initial contact.
The need to retain counsel cannot be overemphasized. The criminal “game” is played by special rules and you need a representative who knows them.
If CID recommends prosecution, it will give its evidence to the Justice Department to decide the special charges. Individuals are typically charged with one or more of three crimes: tax evasion, filing a false return, or not filing a tax return. All of which are tax fraud.
The sooner you hire tax counsel experienced in criminal tax matters, the higher the chance that further escalation of your case in the criminal arena could be avoided or limited.
Protect yourself from excessive fines and possible jail time. Let the tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and elsewhere in California defend you from the IRS.
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