Tax Evasion Attorney (Our Lawyers Defend Clients Against IRS Evasion) - Golding & Golding

Tax Evasion Attorney (Our Lawyers Defend Clients Against IRS Evasion) – Golding & Golding

Tax Evasion Attorney (Our Lawyers Defend Clients Against IRS Evasion)

Tax Evasion is a serious IRS violation, because unlikes Fraud and other related tax investigations, Tax Evasion is criminal.

And, because Tax Evasion is  criminal, you absolutely need an Attorney to defend your rights and protect your interests — with the goal of avoiding and/or reducing  penalties and avoiding an IRS Special Agent Investigation from the criminal faction of the IRS (CI).

Tax Evasion Attorney

Our Tax Evasion Attorneys defend clients worldwide in International Tax Evasion matters, including:

  • Tax Evasion Penalties
  • Offshore/Foreign Tax Fraud
  • International Cryptocurrency Fraud
  • IRS Structuring
  • IRS Tax Fraud
  • IRS Fraud Penalties

Important Concerns for Clients Facing a Tax Evasion Investigation

If you are being criminally investigated for Tax Evasion, you should not speak directly with the investigators, since anything you say can be used against you.

You should immediately contact an experienced Criminal Tax Defense Lawyer to evaluate your case.

Common questions we receive about Tax Evasion:

  • Is tax evasion criminal?
  • Will I be arrested?
  • Will I go to jail?
  • Can I fight the charges?
  • What if I am innocent?

 I.R.C. § 7201 – ATTEMPT TO EVADE OR DEFEAT TAX

As provided the by the IRS: 

“Any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined* not more than $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution. * As to offenses committed after December 31, 1984, the Criminal Fine Enforcement Act of 1984 (P.L. 92-596) enacted as 18 U.S.C. § 3571, increased the maximum permissible fines for felony offenses set forth in section 7201.

The maximum permissible fine is $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations. 1-1.02 Generally [1] Two kinds of tax evasion. Section 7201 creates two offenses: (a) the willful attempt to evade or defeat the assessment of a tax, and (b) the willful attempt to evade or defeat the payment of a tax. Sansone v. United States, 380 U.S. 343, 354 (1965). See also, United States v. Shoppert, 362 F.3d 451, 454 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 911 (2004); United States v. Mal, 942 F. 2d 682, 687-88 (9th Cir. 1991) (if a defendant transfers assets to prevent the I.R.S. from determining his true tax liability, he has attempted to evade assessment; if he does so after a tax liability has become due and owing, he has attempted to evade payment). [a] Evasion of assessment.

The most common attempt to evade or defeat a tax is the affirmative act of filing a false return that omits income and/or claims deductions to which the taxpayer is not entitled. The tax reported on the return is falsely understated and creates a deficiency. Consequently, such willful under reporting constitutes an attempt to evade or defeat tax by evading the correct assessment of the tax. [b] Evasion of payment.

This offense generally occurs after the existence of a tax due and owing has been established (either by the taxpayer reporting the amount of tax or by the I.R.S. assessing the amount of tax deemed to be due and owing) and almost always involves an affirmative act of concealment of money or assets from which the tax could be paid. As discussed in Section 1-1.04 below, it is not essential that the I.R.S. have made a formal assessment of taxes owed and a demand for payment in order for tax evasion charges to be brought. Tax deficiency can arise by operation of law when there is a failure to file and the government later determines the tax liability. United States v. Daniel, 956 F.2d 540, 542 (6th Cir. 1992).

Common Questions involving Tax Evasion:

  • Is tax evasion criminal?
  • Will the IRS prosecute me?
  • Will I  go to jail or prison?
  • Will I lose my house?
  • How long is the jail sentence?

Tax Evasion is Criminal

Tax Evasion is a criminal offense. This is unlike other types of tax violations, such as Civil Tax Fraud or Civil FBAR violations. When a person is charged with Tax Evasion, they are being charged with a crime in a criminal court of law.

As a result, the government most prove the case against the person Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

The average sentence for Tax Evasion is typically 20-36 months,

International Tax Evasion

At Golding & Golding, we focus our practice almost exclusively in international tax.  We have spoken with thousands of clients over our career, and more often than people want to believe, there are lingering issues of intent and willfulness.  That does not mean the person will be subject to criminal prosecution, but it is a concern. 

Over the past 5 to 10 years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Justice (DOJ) and US government as a whole has made the enforcement of offshore, foreign, and international tax related matters a key priority.

In addition, if a person commits offshore evasion involving more complex international tax issues such as Cryptocurrency fraud, utilizing offshore tax havens, and/or FBAR and FATCA violations – the U.S. government may pursue criminal sanctions.

International Criminal Tax Investigations

If you have been contacted by the IRS Special Agents, Department of Justice or District Attorney’s office involving a criminal tax matter, it is important that you do not speak with the investigators and retain an attorney, since anything you say will be used against you!

Criminal Tax Investigations can have very serious repercussions, and you should always be represented by an experienced Criminal Tax Defense Lawyer. 

Unlike a civil tax audit in which the only issue a taxpayer has to worry about is whether he or she will be assessed any taxes, penalties, and/or interest…a criminal tax investigation can result in money, fines, and imprisonment.

Some of the most common types of tax crimes are as follows:

  • Administrative Criminal Hearings
  • IRS Special Agent Investigations
  • Tax Evasion
  • Tax Fraud
  • International Tax Crime
  • White Collar Crime Defense

Criminal Tax – Fraud & Evasion

When a person has offshore or foreign accounts, the chances of getting into tax and criminal trouble increase exponentially. Why? Because under new foreign account reporting laws and regulations (FATCA), it is much easier to get caught in the US government’s web, which is designed to catch, investigate and prosecute U.S. Taxpayers (U.S. Citizens, Legal Permanent Residents, Foreign Nationals Subject to U.S. Tax)

Under FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) more than 100 countries and hundreds of thousands of Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) have agreed to reciprocate financial information of US taxpayers to the United States Government and vice versa by the IRS to foreign countries.

To give you an idea of how your chances of being caught have significantly increased, all you have to do is refer to the list of banks and foreign financial institutions that have agreed to report taxpayer information to the United States. The list can be found here.

In addition, the United States has already identified upwards of 140+ foreign financial institutions that have been known to assist taxpayers with committing tax fraud. If you happen to bank or maintain accounts with any of these institutions (aka “Bad Banks”) and have unreported accounts, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced offshore tax attorney to assist you with getting into compliance before it is too late. This list is updated often but the current list as of July 2016 can be found by clicking here.

Criminal Tax Investigations 

The United States takes tax enforcement very seriously – and the stakes are raised when it involves overseas and foreign income. Each year, the IRS publishes the dirty dozen tax scams that ranks high as in force in priority, and offshore tax is a mainstay.

Further, the Department of Justice has initiated an Offshore Compliance initiative, designed to hunt down and prosecute tax invaders using offshore and overseas institutions to facilitate fraud. A link to information regarding this initiative can be found by clicking here.

Does the IRS Prosecute U.S. Taxpayers?

Yes. The reason why the US government has placed such a priority on international tax enforcement is due to the billions of dollars of lost taxes the US government misses out on due to international tax fraud and tax evasion.

In fact, the U.S. Government has developed specific programs that are specifically designed to combat offshore tax evasion and tax fraud.

Swiss Bank Program

For example, in 2013 the government created the Swiss bank program, which as provided by the DOJ “The Swiss Bank Program, which was announced on August 29, 2013, provides a path for Swiss banks to resolve potential criminal liabilities in the United States.  Swiss banks eligible to enter the program were required to advise the department by Dec. 31, 2013, that they had reason to believe that they had committed tax-related criminal offenses in connection with undeclared U.S.-related accounts.  Banks already under criminal investigation related to their Swiss-banking activities and all individuals were expressly excluded from the program.

Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes

As the policy development and outreach office for TFI, the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes (TFFC) works across all elements of the national security community – including the law enforcement, regulatory, policy, diplomatic and intelligence communities – and with the private sector and foreign governments to identify and address the threats presented by all forms of illicit finance to the international financial system.

TFFC advances this mission by developing initiatives and strategies to deploy the full range of financial authorities to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, WMD proliferation, and other criminal and illicit activities both at home and abroad. These include not only systemic initiatives to enhance the transparency of the international financial system, but also threat-specific strategies and initiatives to apply and implement targeted financial measures to the full range of national security threats. Primary examples of these roles in advancing this mission is TFFC’s leadership of the U.S. Government delegation to the Financial Action Task Force, which has developed leading global standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing and its role in specific efforts to counter threats like proliferation, terrorism and the deceptive financial practices of Iran.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States. OFAC acts under Presidential national emergency powers, as well as authority granted by specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze assets under US jurisdiction. Many of the sanctions are based on United Nations and other international mandates, are multilateral in scope, and involve close cooperation with allied governments. 

FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network)

This statute establishes FinCEN as a bureau within the Treasury Department and describes FinCEN’s duties and powers to include:-

– Maintaining a government-wide data access service with a range of financial transactions information

– Analysis and dissemination of information in support of law enforcement investigatory professionals at the Federal, State, Local, and International levels

– Determine emerging trends and methods in money laundering and other financial crimes

– Serve as the Financial Intelligence Unit of the United States

– Carry out other delegated regulatory responsibilities

Are you Already under Investigation?

If you are already under investigation by the IRS you should be sure to contact experienced counsel so they can defend your rights. You should NEVER made any representations or statements to the IRS without counsel.

The following is a brief summary of the common key tactics the IRS may use in trying to build a case against you, and/or moving your civil audit to a criminal investigation.

Contacting Your Bank Manager

It is safe to say the IRS would have no legitimate reason for speaking with the manager at the bank that you currently use, unless the IRS is trying to build a case against you.

Otherwise, why would the Internal Revenue Service take the time to go visit your bank manager? Oftentimes, when the IRS agent visits your bank manager, it is to begin comprehensive research on issues such as transfers, moving money offshore, and other matters related to your bank account.

They may want to know how often you come to the bank, and how often you request cash as opposed to other transfers. They may also want to know if there any other non-primary individuals on the account, accessing your information and if there are other accounts that the IRS may not know about yet.

Showing up at Your Home, Unannounced

When a person is not cooperating with the IRS, or consistently avoids appearing before the IRS, the IRS can get frustrated. One way the IRS relieves its frustration is by visiting by a person’s residence to try to put pressure on them.

This can be done for two main reasons: The first reason is to put some pressure on the individual to let them know that the IRS is aware of where person lives and that the situation is not going away so quickly. Second, is so the IRS can monitor how the person reacts after the IRS appears at their home. For example, as a result of the IRS visiting their home unannounced, in a person begins making significant transitions or transfers of money from one location or account to another – it may help the IRS pursue a criminal investigation.

Showing up at your Employment or Place of Business

This is a little more intense, and is usually not protocol unless a person owns their own business. We have had many clients tell us, in the pre-criminal investigation phase that the IRS showed up at their place of business to ask themselves – and other employees – various questions.

Of course, other individuals at the place of employment not required to speak to the IRS if they are not under subpoena or summons. Nevertheless, oftentimes people are so scared that when the IRS approaches, that they feel like they have to answer the question — and do. The employees mistakenly believe that by simply answering the questions it will make it go away – usually, the reverse happens and it just gives the IRS more ammunition to go after you.

Sudden Stopping of Communication From the IRS

If you are ever in an audit and the audit ends, but you are unable to obtain a closing letter or any other documentation from the IRS it may be cause for concern. That is because when a civil audit is stopped either abruptly (or with a little more tact), before it seems like the audit is complete, it is because the IRS agent believes there is a criminal issues

In a civil situation, the IRS is absolutely prohibited from asking further questions. That is because in a criminal setting, a person has a right against self-incrimination. A civil audit is not a criminal investigation, and therefore the agent does not have the right to ask criminal type questions.

Interviewing your CPA

If the IRS believes the CPA has information regarding a potential criminal tax matter, the IRS will send them a summons and bring their own “court reporter” with them to a question-and-answer session.

While the CPA has the right to counsel, it is important to understand that if the IRS is taking these types of actions against people on your behalf, then chances are the IRS is at least trying to put together all the evidence he can to determine whether there may be a criminal issue at play.

Danger of Non-Compliance

When a person receives an audit notice, they are not required to appear at the audit. In other words, Counsel may represent them at the audit. Oftentimes, this may be a good idea but it is important to be using counsel who fully understands the complexities of not bringing the client to the audit, but still providing sufficient information to the auditor to appease the auditor.

Oftentimes, the IRS agent wants to see the individual in-person. This does not mean the person should appear, but counsel should at least have the following in preparation for the hearing:

  • A Full understanding of the case
  • A Knowledge of the underlying facts
  • All the necessary documentation
  • A multi-step plan to facilitate compliance without the client getting in harms way

We Specialize in Safely Disclosing Foreign Money

We have successfully handled a diverse range of IRS Voluntary Disclosure and International Tax Investigation/Examination cases involving FBAR, FATCA, and high-stakes matters for clients around the globe (In over 65 countries!)

Whether it is a simple or complex case, safely getting clients into compliance is our passion, and we take it very seriously.

Examples of areas of tax we handle

Who Decides to Disclose Unreported Money?

What Types of Clients Do we Represent?

We represent Attorneys, CPAs, Doctors, Investors, Engineers, Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Professors, Athletes, Actors, Entry-Level staff, Students, Former/Current IRS Agents and more.

You are not alone, and you are not the only one to find himself or herself in this situation.

Sean M. Golding, JD, LL.M., EA (Board Certified Tax Law Specialist)

Our Managing Partner, Sean M. Golding, JD, LLM, EA  earned an LL.M. (Master’s in Tax Law) from the University of Denver and is also an Enrolled Agent (the highest credential awarded by the IRS, and authorizes him to represent clients nationwide.)

Mr. Golding and his team have successfully handled several hundred IRS Offshore/Voluntary Disclosure Procedure cases. Whether it is a simple or complex case, safely getting clients into compliance is our passion, and we take it very seriously.

He is frequently called upon to lecture and write on issues involving IRS Voluntary Disclosure.

Less than 1% of Tax Attorneys Nationwide are Board Certified Tax Law Specialists 

The Board Certified Tax Law Specialist exam is offered in many states, and is widely regarded as one of (if not) the hardest tax exam given in the United States for practicing Attorneys. Certification also requires the completion of significant ethics and experience requirements.

In California alone, out of more than 200,000 practicing attorneys (with thousands of attorneys practicing in some area of tax law), less than 350 attorneys are Board Certified Tax Law Specialists.

Beware of Copycat Law Firms

Unlike other attorneys who call themselves specialists or experts in Voluntary Disclosure but are not “Board Certified,” handle 5-10 different areas of tax law, purchase multiple keyword specific domain names, and even practice outside of tax, we are absolutely dedicated to Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.

*Click here to learn the benefits of retaining a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist with advanced tax credentials.

IRS Penalty List

The following is a list of potential IRS penalties for unreported and undisclosed foreign accounts and assets:

Failure to File

If you do not file by the deadline, you might face a failure-to-file penalty. If you do not pay by the due date, you could face a failure-to-pay penalty. The failure-to-file penalty is generally more than the failure-to-pay penalty.

The penalty for filing late is usually 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a return is late. This penalty will not exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes. If you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax.

Failure to Pay

f you do not pay your taxes by the due date, you will generally have to pay a failure-to-pay penalty of ½ of 1 percent of your unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month after the due date that the taxes are not paid. This penalty can be as much as 25 percent of your unpaid taxes. If both the failure-to-file penalty and the failure-to-pay penalty apply in any month, the 5 percent failure-to-file penalty is reduced by the failure-to-pay penalty.

However, if you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax. You will not have to pay a failure-to-file or failure-to-pay penalty if you can show that you failed to file or pay on time because of reasonable cause and not because of willful neglect.

Civil Tax Fraud

If any part of any underpayment of tax required to be shown on a return is due to fraud, there shall be added to the tax an amount equal to 75 percent of the portion of the underpayment which is attributable to fraud.

A Penalty for failing to file FBARs

The civil penalty for willfully failing to file an FBAR can be as high as the greater of $100,000 or 50 percent of the total balance of the foreign financial account per violation. See 31 U.S.C. § 5321(a)(5). Non-willful violations that the IRS determines were not due to reasonable cause are subject to a $10,000 penalty per violation.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 8938

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns is $10,000, with an additional $10,000 added for each month the failure continues beginning 90 days after the taxpayer is notified of the delinquency, up to a maximum of $50,000 per return.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 3520

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns, or for filing an incomplete return, is the greater of $10,000 or 35 percent of the gross reportable amount, except for returns reporting gifts, where the penalty is five percent of the gift per month, up to a maximum penalty of 25 percent of the gift.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 3520-A

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns or for filing an incomplete return, is the greater of $10,000 or 5 percent of the gross value of trust assets determined to be owned by the United States person.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 5471

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns is $10,000, with an additional $10,000 added for each month the failure continues beginning 90 days after the taxpayer is notified of the delinquency, up to a maximum of $50,000 per return.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 5472

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns, or to keep certain records regarding reportable transactions, is $10,000, with an additional $10,000 added for each month the failure continues beginning 90 days after the taxpayer is notified of the delinquency.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 926

The penalty for failing to file each one of these information returns is ten percent of the value of the property transferred, up to a maximum of $100,000 per return, with no limit if the failure to report the transfer was intentional.

A Penalty for failing to file Form 8865

Penalties include $10,000 for failure to file each return, with an additional $10,000 added for each month the failure continues beginning 90 days after the taxpayer is notified of the delinquency, up to a maximum of $50,000 per return, and ten percent of the value of any transferred property that is not reported, subject to a $100,000 limit.

Fraud penalties imposed under IRC §§ 6651(f) or 6663

Where an underpayment of tax, or a failure to file a tax return, is due to fraud, the taxpayer is liable for penalties that, although calculated differently, essentially amount to 75 percent of the unpaid tax.

A Penalty for failing to file a tax return imposed under IRC § 6651(a)(1)

Generally, taxpayers are required to file income tax returns. If a taxpayer fails to do so, a penalty of 5 percent of the balance due, plus an additional 5 percent for each month or fraction thereof during which the failure continues may be imposed. The penalty shall not exceed 25 percent.

A Penalty for failing to pay the amount of tax shown on the return under IRC § 6651(a)(2)

If a taxpayer fails to pay the amount of tax shown on the return, he or she may be liable for a penalty of .5 percent of the amount of tax shown on the return, plus an additional .5 percent for each additional month or fraction thereof that the amount remains unpaid, not exceeding 25 percent.

An Accuracy-Related Penalty on underpayments imposed under IRC § 6662

Depending upon which component of the accuracy-related penalty is applicable, a taxpayer may be liable for a 20 percent or 40 percent penalty

Possible Criminal Charges related to tax matters include tax evasion (IRC § 7201)

Filing a false return (IRC § 7206(1)) and failure to file an income tax return (IRC § 7203). Willfully failing to file an FBAR and willfully filing a false FBAR are both violations that are subject to criminal penalties under 31 U.S.C. § 5322.  Additional possible criminal charges include conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims (18 U.S.C. § 286) and conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States (18 U.S.C. § 371).

A person convicted of tax evasion

Filing a false return subjects a person to a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to $250,000. A person who fails to file a tax return is subject to a prison term of up to one year and a fine of up to $100,000. Failing to file an FBAR subjects a person to a prison term of up to ten years and criminal penalties of up to $500,000.  A person convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims is subject to a prison term of up to not more than 10 years or a fine of up to $250,000.  A person convicted of conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States is subject to a prison term of not more than five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

What Should You Do?

Everyone makes mistakes. If at some point that you should have been reporting your foreign income, accounts, assets or investments the prudent and least costly (but most effective) method for getting compliance is through one of the approved IRS offshore voluntary disclosure program.

Be Careful of the IRS

With the introduction and enforcement of FATCA for both Civil and Criminal Penalties, renewed interest in the IRS issuing FBAR Penalties, crackdown on Cryptocurrency (and IRS joining J5), the termination of OVDP, and recent foreign bank settlements with the IRS…there are not many places left to hide.

4 Types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure Programs

There are typically four types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure programs, and they include:

Contact Us Today; Let us Help You.