Thursday, May 16, 2013

US Tax Attorney Answers: What are the most common reasons the IRS comes after people?

Tax Evasion – willful attempt to evade or defeat a tax assessment or its payment (26 USC § 7201).

Tax Fraud - Falsification of tax documents and false statements, and aiding or assisting in the same (26 U.S.C. § 7206).

Obstruction - Attempting to interfere with the administration of Internal Revenue Laws or federal agents acting under the Tax Code (26 U.S.C. § 7212).

Conspiracy - Felony for two or more people conspiring to commit a tax offense or to defraud the IRS (18 U.S.C. § 371).

Failure to File / Failure to Pay - Failure to pay taxes, file a return, keep records, supply information, or pay taxes (26 U.S.C. § 7203).

Fraudulent Returns, Statements or Other Documents - This is often a misdemeanor version of the above-described felony for tax evasion (26 U.S.C. § 7207).

Questions to the US Tax Lawyer: If the IRS CI is investigating me, can I just pay what they demand and make it go away?

No. If the Criminal Investigation Division is investigating you your case is about jail and not money. The criminal case and civil case are two separate issues.

Questions to the US Tax Lawyer: What's Your Court Win Ratio?

While it is unethical to guarantee a win. We have won criminal tax cases. In 2013 we received a not guilty on one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS and the Government dismissed with prejudice 2 counts of failure to file TD F 90-22.1 (“FBAR”) relating to accounts at UBS and Pictet. While these are wins – we also lost on 2 counts of filing a false return for the same client – the client is facing jail time so we do not consider this a win. In 2012 we received Not Guilty for all 8 counts of an indictment (4 counts tax evasion and 4 counts false statement on IRS forms). In 2011 we received two not guilty verdicts on 1 count failure to file and 1 count tax evasion. In 2007 we received a total of 64 not guilty verdicts for husband and wife (we represented the wife) defendants in an alleged offshore tax evasion scheme.

Questions for the Tax Lawyer: What is an FBAR and How do they find me?

FBAR is an acronym for Federal Bank Account Report i.e. TD F 90-22.1. This form is to be filed every year by June 30. There are no extensions. This is an information form. In 2008/2009 the IRS started prosecuting people for not filing FBARs. Criminal Tax has put a lot of effort and resources into “catching” people who are required to file FBARs and don’t. The IRS has a program they are calling Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), this will allow taxpayers to self-report their Foreign Bank Account to the IRS. The IRS gets individual’s names from foreign banks by sending out a Jane Doe summons. The bank then sends the IRS information they have requested.

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