Criminal Tax Defense
The IRS is the principal investigator of tax crimes. When CI conducts an investigation internally, without the involvement with any other agency, such an investigation is called an “administrative investigation.” The statute of limitations for most tax crimes is six years beginning from the date that the offense was completed. Tax crimes require a specific mens rea meaning that the taxpayer must have acted willfully, not merely mistakenly or negligently, in order to have committed a tax crime. The IRS often proves willfulness with circumstantial evidence. If you are the subject of a criminal investigation or a potential fraud charges, the most important thing to do is to talk to an attorney before talking to the government. IRS agents make detailed reports of all communications they have with taxpayers. Everything you say to an auditor or special agent can be used against you. In tax prosecutions, the government will often call one of the special agents who was involved in the investigation or another IRS agent to testify as a witness.
The IRS has the authority to issue a summons to gather information and documentation to build their case. The IRS summons power extends to questioning taxpayers in person and requesting documents from the taxpayer. In addition, the prosecution can issue a grand jury subpoena to fill any gaps in the IRS investigation. It is important to know whether you are a “target” or a “subject” of the grand jury investigation, but a “subject” can easily become a “target.” A subpoena is self-enforcing, and the witness must appear before the grand jury alone without his or her attorney. However, the witness can leave the grand jury room to ask advice from his or her attorney. Once the grand jury has sufficient evidence of that a crime has been committed, the prosecution may seek an indictment. An indictment is a formal charge against a taxpayer in which the prosecutor will outline the alleged violations.
Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Tax Attorney
If you have been contacted by an IRS special agent or have received a subpoena to testify before a grand jury, the most important step to take is to contact an attorney right away to discuss your rights. Contact a Los Angeles tax attorney at Disparte Tax Law today for a free consultation.