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.