What Are Reasonable Goals in an IRS Criminal Investigation?

So with the disclaimer that when cases are turned over to the US attorney, the US attorney has a 90 percent conviction rate in criminal tax cases, it's important to understand what goals are at the outset. So number one at the very least, most criminal tax charges can be mitigated because a lot of the times, what you're dealing with is when you have a pattern of criminal conduct, it's exactly that. It's a pattern. It occurs over multiple years, it occurs over multiple tax returns and the tax loss has to be enough in order to whet the appetite of the US attorney. They don't go after people for five or ten thousand dollars, they're looking for bigger cases because they're dealing with limited resources and they're looking to send a message. So at the very least Tax Counsel can come in and try and mitigate the tax loss, mitigate the charges and reduce things down. That happens at the US attorney level. By the time you're talking about charges and plea agreements and all this, that's usually what happens in a lot of cases, though if you have the facts to support it you can completely derail a criminal investigation. Criminal investigations have a very high bar. You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone did something so there's a lot of things that you can do to throw roadblocks into the system. There's a lot of things that you can do to work with the criminal agents and work with the US Attorneys to achieve a global resolution, a resolution to the civil and criminal side of things. So for example, if you run a business and you are accused of committing tax fraud in that business, we can plead the business to criminal charges and reduce the criminal charges or eliminate them for the individual coupled with payment of the tax or something like that. So there's a lot of reasonable goals. It depends on number one the facts of the case, number two the tax loss and how much culpability you really have. So anything really is possible but it's important that you're honest with yourself at the beginning. That you're honest about the conduct, that you're candid with your attorney. Your candid conversations with tax counsel are protected under attorney-client privilege. Then let's just sit down and lay the cards on the table and call it what it is and then from there you can build a strategy that works around reasonable expectations for the case at the very least though a reduction in criminal charges or elimination of them. That's a pretty good goal and I think it's one that's fairly achievable depending on the facts of your circumstance.


Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law