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The Ultimate Guide to IRS Criminal Investigations

If you believe that you are under criminal investigation by the IRS, you probably have a good sense as to why. Depending on how certain you are of this, you need to stop right now. You need to contact a criminal tax attorney to help you.

This is certainly not a situation to try to handle on your own or with your CPA or tax preparer. This is very serious business and the stakes are too high. 

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is exactly what it sounds like. It is the central investigative body charged with investigating and building cases against people who are charged with tax crimes.

Criminal investigation works with a variety of different agencies to help build up the tax side of a case. For example, they can work with the FBI, Homeland Security and other agencies to help build and prosecute those who cheat on their taxes.

The reality of the situation is the criminal investigation division is a very small but focused unit with a very high conviction rate.

Currently, when it comes to tax crimes, the U.S. Attorney's Office has a 90 percent conviction rate. That is pretty staggering and can be attributed to the work that the criminal investigation division does.

Too Much at Stake

The most obvious risk of an IRS criminal investigation is jail. The reason why the U.S. Attorney's Office has a 90 percent conviction rate when it comes to criminal tax cases is because they have your tax return as evidence that you did something wrong and they have got you dead to rights.

The CID also wants to send a message to other people who may be thinking about committing tax crimes or who are committing tax crimes, "Do not mess with the United States Government." That is why you often see media coverage of criminal tax cases that are high-profile, involving business moguls, politicians or celebrities. The government wants to make an example of these offenders. 

The other consequences and risks of a criminal investigation are ones that you may not think of. Number one, criminal investigations are very public matters. Once you get indicted, there is a certain amount of press coverage that comes with it. The U.S. Attorney's Office issues a press release. 

Oftentimes, it involves the liquidation of your assets. The feds may take your retirement accounts, they take your homes, they take all sorts of things in order to satisfy the restitution amounts that often get served in these cases.

The shock waves from these cases often extend to families. Many families do not survive criminal tax cases. Many marriages do not survive criminal tax cases. Many spouses go through a very, very hard time during these investigations. 

A lot of the time, our role is not just about dealing with the defendant in the case or who is being charged. It is also about providing support for their families, for their wives, their children, the husbands, and anybody else who is involved in these types of cases.

The fallout also ripples through business relationships. Even in cases where there is innocence or an acquittal, the lasting effects of an IRS criminal investigation can scar a taxpayer for life.

I am not saying this to be overly dramatic, I say this because I have watched my clients go through this and that is why I believe so passionately about defending their rights against the government.

It is really important when you are dealing with a criminal investigation, even if you know for sure that you have not done anything wrong, that you take the appropriate actions to protect yourself, your family and your livelihood going forward.

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You Need an Experienced Defense Team

My law firm, Brotman Law, is highly-experienced in addressing criminal tax situations. We will work with you to build a strong defense and lessen the likelihood of incarceration and exorbitant fines and penalties.

We specialize in small business tax matters and have years of experience in dealing with the IRS on all levels — from simple audits to high-profile criminal investigations.



Why Is The IRS Charging Me with a Tax Crime?

Reading this chapter will give you an overview of the criminal justice system and how it relates to violations of laws regarding the tax process. It will provide an initial layout of the roles of the agencies that are responsible for criminal tax enforcement in the United States and why criminal tax cases are charged.


How Do Tax Crimes Get Prosecuted?

This chapter will walk you through the process of a criminal tax case from the initial investigation through a plea or trial. Any questions you may have as to what a specific step in the process will look like to you, or what goes on behind the scenes will be answered in this chapter.


What Is a Criminal Tax Administrative Investigation?

In this chapter, we discuss what happens when a tax case has been deemed to have criminal potential by the IRS and they decide to conduct an administrative investigation. The administrative investigation is generally the first step into the criminal tax arena.


What Should I expect After Being Charged With A Tax Crime?

The events that occur at this initial appearance, including a determination of counsel, determination of bond, upcoming court dates, and any restrictions on the defendant’s release. In this chapter we will discuss all of these factors and why they can be subject to change throughout the process.


Criminal Tax Restitution, Fines and Forfeiture

We begin this chapter by defining the three different types of financial punishments that may be ordered by the court in a criminal tax case: (1) restitution (2) forfeiture and (3) fines.


How To Protect Yourself In A Criminal Tax Situation

If you’ve violated a tax law there’s still a number of things that can be done to help avoid or reduce the most serious penalties. It is important to discuss your options with an attorney at this stage because the best practice can be different for each individual case. Read more about what you need to know in this chapter.


6 Frequently Asked Questions about the Criminal Tax Process

There are always a lot of nervous questions in the criminal tax process. This chapter provides the answers to the eight most frequently asked questions clients have posed before hiring me as their legal defense.


Conferencing with Criminal Tax Authorities

In this chapter I discuss the conferences that should occur before the indictment: the IRS Conference, the Tax Division Conference and the USAO Conference. This is also the time where the Government can decide to offer immunity from prosecution.


Criminal Liability and Voluntary Tax Disclosure

The IRS rarely goes after people for small dollar amounts. They are looking to send a message to the big offenders. In this chapter, learn why most criminal tax charges can be mitigated.


How Are Tax Crimes Punished?

In this chapter, I will explain what you can expect after a guilty plea or a finding of guilt by a jury. I will also discuss how and why a sentence is chosen, and what some of the common punishments are for a tax crime.


How Can Brotman Law Help Me In My Criminal Case?

In a criminal case, strategies must be devised from both a legal and a resource perspective. In this chapter I will highlight the stakes and how we muster everything possible on our end to mitigate any consequence to our clients.


How Much Will It Cost for Brotman Law to Take My Criminal Tax Case?

Cost questions are complex in criminal tax cases and in this chapter I’ll explain why.


What Happens at a Tax Crime Pre-Trial?

In this chapter I will discuss the pre-trial phase of the criminal tax process from working out evidentiary issues, to setting a timeline, to discovering evidence and negotiating a plea.


What Happens When a Tax Crime Goes To Trial?

In the rare instance that a criminal case goes to trial, this chapter outlines the components of the federal criminal trial and what to expect when you walk into the courtroom on trial day.


What Is a Willful Failure to Collect or Pay Over Tax?

In this chapter we will discuss the significant impact employment taxes have, and why the enforcement of employment taxes is one of the Tax Division’s top priorities.


What Is Tax Evasion?

When an individual or business attempts to avoid the collection of a tax by preventing the IRS from becoming aware that an unpaid tax is due, or underreports the amount due, this is what is known as tax evasion. Find out all its ramifications in this chapter.


What Is the Criminal Tax Fraud and False Statement?

Understand more about the two most commonly charged tax crimes – including making and signing  false documents and belief and willfulness – in this chapter.


What Is the Omnibus Clause?

There are three elements for this criminal tax clause to take effect including obstructing or impeding the IRS from doing its administrative duty. Find out more about the Omnibus Clause in this chapter.


What Is the Tax Crime of Omission?

When a taxpayer fails to file a return, it can be considered a crime. In this chapter learn more about the Tax Crime of Omission and why someone who doesn’t file a tax form with sufficient information about income could still be charged with a failure to file.

It is my hope the articles help you fully understand what you may be up against, should you find yourself in the unhappy shoes of someone who is a target of the IRS Criminal Investigative Division.

Again, give my office a call if and when you do, and we’ll use our years of experience to get it worked out to the best possible conclusion.

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