OC Federal Tax Evasion Attorney
If you have been arrested or questioned for federal tax evasion, you need to stop talking with authorities and invoke your right to have an attorney by your side by contacting Law Office of Michael L. Guisti right away. Understand, if your alleged tax evasion involves California state taxes then it is a state and local crime; however, if the IRS and U.S. Department of Justice is investigating you, it is a federal crime.
First off, it does not matter how much you owe the federal government - only that you are being charged. You must understand that the government has already spent time, money, and resources investigating you; they would not bring it to trial unless they were confident they're going to get a conviction.
We at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti have decade's worth of experience dealing with the federal government when it comes to tax issues, which has resulted in our clients paying much less than they own and staying out of prison. Most importantly, we can protect your reputation and credit - especially if it is your business that the feds have accused of committed tax evasion.
You should not even think of taking on the IRS yourself, because, as you will read below, they have resources and dozens of employees dedicated to seeking out alleged tax evaders. The IRS purposely makes it difficult for people to solve their tax problems, which is why we are here for you.
Under 26 U.S.C. § 7201, tax evasion is when any person willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by the government. Typically, this is considered a white collar crime. In most cases, the government goes after businesses and individuals with high incomes who they believe are willfully not paying owed taxes. Most of the time, the IRS and Department of Justice won't file federal criminal charges if you honestly forgot to file taxes or made a mistake, but there have been plenty of cases where criminal charges have been filed even though the IRS said it is "all right."
If you are an individual with a record of high-income who has a sudden drop in earnings, the IRS often becomes interested. If you are a business with reported earnings that do not match what it appears your business is doing - or what the IRS thinks it should be doing - then it could be a problem.
What often leads government officials to thinking you are engaging in tax evasion is:
- Inadequate records
- Apparent understatements of income
- Apparent concealment of assets
- Implausible or inconsistent explanations of behavior
- Failure to make estimated tax payments
- Failure to file tax returns
- Failure to cooperate with tax authorities
However, even if you did any of the above, that doesn't make you automatically guilty. You could have very legitimate reasons for doing such things. For example, the IRS may claim that an understatement of your income means you are hiding something when you may just be struggling in this economy.
Another "red flag" for the IRS is if your business deals in cash. With point-of-service (POS) machines and computers widely available, the IRS assumes businesses who deal in cash must be hiding the cash and not reporting it. However, with a struggling economy, many businesses look to scale back costs by just accepting cash. By retaining a professional attorney, these things could be formally explained to the government; having a skilled OC white collar criminal defense attorney shows the IRS you are serious about wanting to fix the problem.
First, you will have an IRS tax audit. If you received notice of a tax audit, you should contact our firm right away. If the IRS tax auditor suspects that something suspicious is happening, they will ask their tax fraud referral specialist to look at your case. This is the starting point of two very important decisions.
- IRS Tax Referral Specialists (First Decision): Specialists will investigate your case and decide whether it should be sent to the IRS Criminal Investigation unit for criminal tax prosecution, which is where the second and most important decision will be made. If the specialists do not think there were any criminal acts or don't have enough evidence, the IRS will make a non-criminal decision on your case; that decision could range from "no taxes owed" to paying back taxes with penalties.
- IRS Criminal Investigation Unit (Second Decision): The IRS Criminal Investigation Unit will decide whether or not to file tax evasion charges. If they do not believe that there is enough evidence, they will throw it back down to the IRS Tax Referral Specialists for further investigation. However, if the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit believes that you committed tax evasion, they will move your case to the Department of Justice, which is where they will begin criminal proceedings against you.
Some - but not all - federal judges have required that the alleged amount owed must be substantial for there to be criminal proceedings. Understand that is the rule only of the judge as there is no formal minimal requirement by the government to bring on federal tax evasion charges against you.
Federal government prosecutors must prove three things:
- You had a tax deficiency;
- You committed an affirmative act of evasion or attempted evasion; and
- You willfully committed these acts.
If the federal government cannot prove all three things, then you are not guilty of this crime.
If convicted of federal tax evasion, you face up to 5 years in federal prison and fines up to $100,000. In addition to fines, you will be ordered to pay the tax that is owed.
If the defendant is a business rather than a person, the maximum fine can be up to $500,000; those who were in charge of taxes and/or ordered "cooking the books" face up to 5 years in a federal prison.
As you have read, this is an extraordinarily serious, complicated charge that could cost you a lot of money, send you to federal prison, and ruin you and your business' reputation. Do not even think about fighting the federal government yourself! Just let our professional OC defense lawyers do it for you.
Again, you must understand that the government has already spent money, time, and resources investigating you - they would never bring it to trial unless they were confident they're going to get a conviction. This is why you must call us at (714) 530-9690 right away. We will see that your side of the story is heard and will work hard fighting the government for you and protecting your reputation so you can go on with your life.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.