When a person is suspected of committing a tax crime of any sort, not only will he or she be staring down the strength of law enforcement agencies, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will also put a hand into the investigation. IRS audits are notoriously thorough and intimidating, a process that no one wants to imagine. With so much force backing a potential prosecution, it can be easy to get nervous, make a mistake, and lose track of the time. But if you have found yourself in such a precarious situation, it is crucial that you keep a level head and know what to do to protect yourself, your finances, your reputation, and your freedom.
If you are being audited by the IRS for a suspected tax crime:
- Double-check the notification: The IRS sends out completely random audits all the time to ensure the average citizen is completing their taxes correctly, and that the agency is efficient. Before you jump to conclusions, take a moment to review any notifications you got from the IRS. Is it a random audit, or have they specifically noted that you are suspected of committing tax evasion? If you are not sure, you may want to contact the IRS for clarity.
- Call a lawyer: As soon as you know for certain you are seen as a tax fraud suspect, you need to view the situation as you would any other criminal defense case and get in touch with a tax crime attorney. The federal government is going to be on the other side of the courtroom. Make certain you have done everything you can to gain an advantage, which means working with a legal professional on your defense from the beginning.
- Collect years of paperwork: The IRS will typically not go back further than three years when conducting any sort of audit. However, for a serious tax crime investigation, the IRS can delve back a full six years. To be safe, get your own copies of your tax filings and information for the last six years. This might require some hefty binders or data digging but, once again, your top priority should be doing whatever it takes to clear your name.
- Cooperate: Do not try to make it intentionally difficult for the IRS to complete its audit, and never intentionally hide information or lie. Have a discussion with your attorney about what you should and should not be doing to cooperate with the auditors or investigators. Being friendly can help win their favor, but being too useful can sabotage your own case.
- Stay quiet: Keep in mind that your IRS tax audit could easily transition to – or already be a part of – a criminal investigation. Do not talk to anyone representing a government agency while your audit is being conducted, as they might be fishing for evidence to use against you. Direct any questions to your criminal defense attorney.
Blumenthal & Moore is well-versed in federal- and state-level tax laws. If you are targeted by an IRS audit linked to a criminal investigation, contact our Riverside criminal defense attorney at your first opportunity. There is no time to lose.