In some criminal tax cases, hiring a tax attorney when you have a problem with the IRS will relieve you of ever having direct contact with the government. Your tax attorney can file a petition with the Tax Court, argue the case, get it resolved and reduce your liability substantially. How much would that be worth to you? Keep this in mind as you read the following:
In Defence of Cost Questions
Cost questions are complex in criminal tax cases and I’ll explain why by getting straight to the point. Criminal investigations usually take a long time to resolve. The government takes their time in building an investigation and there usually is a lot of complicated circumstances around the facts. There may be multiple witnesses involved as well as multiple years when the conduct is alleged.
We may have unfiled tax returns, we may have fraudulently filed tax returns, or at the very least, tax returns that are not correct. When looking at defense cost, you have to consider that the behavior in question has generally occurred over an extended period of time.
With that being said, there is a lot of work that goes into these cases. Some of the work happens at the beginning in order to mitigate the damages. Some of it involves preparing for a special agent interview, preparing for a proffer session with the U.S. Attorney, or preparing for a number of different things that get submitted during the course of these investigations.
Generally speaking, we do not use a lot of paralegal time on criminal matters. The staff that has lower billing rates largely goes away. However, we can leverage our lower-billing-rate staff, to help offset the cost in terms of organizing documents and preparing them for submissions and things like that. But, when it comes to a criminal matter, you want the best and the brightest in the firm handling the matter.
That is usually me in some combination with my senior team. Our billing rates for senior attorneys are anywhere between $350-$525 an hour. I want you to take that into perspective. A lot of it is driven by documents, by the conduct of the agent and by the facts, and so it is very hard to give an estimate.
When we take a criminal matter on, $25,000 is the usual retainer, although it can vary. If it is a witness investigation, we are not going to need anywhere near that much of a retainer to get the work done in the case. If it is a larger and more complex criminal matter, we have taken retainers that are $100,000 or more.
When we quote a retainer, we look at the volume of work that is involved and try to distribute that as efficiently as possible. As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving parts that go into this kind of case work.
With a criminal investigation particularly on the tax side, we will bring in a bookkeeper and a CPA under what we call a Covell agreement. This protects them under the envelope of our attorney-client privilege and we use that to offset costs.
There is a lot of care that is taken at my level and among our senior attorneys to really mitigate resources. We carefully protect things because we want to make sure our client has the best representation possible. We take our job as counsel very seriously.
We do not want to be a financial burden on anybody, but we want to make sure that the work gets done to the nth degree. It is in our client's best interest that we take every step firmly and carefully when defending a criminal tax case.
For most criminal tax cases, finding a lawyer to defend you will take a significant investment in time and money. In fact, it can take many, many months to resolve certain types of cases. That is the best definitive I can give you for how much a criminal tax matter generally costs.
When I know more facts about your case, I can definitely give you a better guideline of where you stand, and how much your case is going to cost. I can also help you create a plan to make sure that you are utilizing resources most effectively. This is ultimately best for any criminal tax matter and it is best for you, the client.