Has the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another government agency accused you of committing the federal crime of tax evasion? A full tax audit will be the next thing on the agenda, if you haven’t been notified about the commencement of one already. It might feel like your position is indefensible due to the sheer size and strength of the forces against you, but there are steps you can take to help build your defense and hopefully clear your name.
Here’s five steps to remember when you are being audited by the IRS due to suspicion of a tax crime:
- Check the fine print: Most people who are audited by the IRS find out through a mailed notification, not necessarily a direct accusation from the agency or a law enforcement official. If you received such a notification, review it carefully to ensure it is linked to a pending criminal investigation for tax fraud or evasion. You might just be one of the people who get randomly audited by the IRS for literally no reason other than bad luck.
- Get a lawyer: Did you confirm that you are suspected of committing tax evasion? An audit is not the same as criminal charges being filed against you, but it might as well be since it represents the beginning of the government’s potential case against you. Prepare yourself early by hiring a tax crimes attorney upfront. At the very least, your legal professional can provide counsel, at most, they can act on your behalf in court.
- Collect tax records: The IRS claims that it will only look back three tax years during a random audit. However, in unique circumstances, such as a criminal investigation, the IRS will dig back as far as six years. This is how far you should go through your own tax records, collecting copies for study and usage. The goal is to be just as thorough as the IRS.
- Be transparent: The worst mistake you can make is trying to hide information from the IRS or lying to an investigator. Even if the audit concludes that your taxes are in order, you’ll be charged with tax evasion all the same for trying to obstruct the audit through deceit.
- Don’t say too much: On the other hand, you don’t need to tell IRS auditors everything if you’re uncomfortable or uncertain. Always check with your tax crime attorney to see what should be said and how. Since the audit could turn into a criminal investigation, it is possible that you could inadvertently incriminate yourself.
If you need an aggressive defense and a keen eye on your case as you are preparing for tax evasion charges to be placed against you, contact Pissetzky & Berliner, LLC and our Chicago federal crimes attorneys. With years of criminal defense experience under our belts and a teamwork approach to the cases we handle, you can be confident that we will protect your rights using the full extent of our abilities.