Being accused of a tax-related offense is daunting. New York criminal defense attorneys with Joseph Potashnik & Associates PC have built a solid track record of successfully defending individual and corporate clients in state and federal criminal tax investigations and prosecutions. Working close with the nation’s leading forensic accounting specialists, we are well positioned to mount successful defense for your case. We have vast experience defending tax preparers, accountants, tax attorneys, businesses as well as common tax payers.

Types of Tax Offenses

Tax crimes are prosecuted both on the state and federal levels. Title 18 and 26 of the U.S.C. provide definitions of these offenses and set related criminal procedures. Conspiracy, making false statements and document falsification are usually prosecuted under Title 18. Title 26, also known as the Internal Revenue Code, includes description of taxes and provides that anyone who attempts to evade paying these liabilities, fails to file returns or files a fraudulent return, perpetrates a felony and thus is subject to criminal penalties. For individuals it is a fine of up to 100,000 US dollars and up to 5 years in prison, for businesses – up to 500,000 US dollars, as well as full restitution of the unpaid liability. Another offense that is also prosecuted under this statute is aiding in the preparation of fraudulent returns.

Apart from these federal statutes, New York State also has its own legislation regarding taxes and related offenses, which provides a classification of tax offenses (from misdemeanors to felonies) and defines penalties for them.

IRS Investigations

Criminal investigations into alleged tax offenses are conducted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division. State-level investigations in New York are conducted by the NYS Dept. of Taxation and Finance. Sometimes both agencies can work together on a single case.

IRS agents frequently review tax return information and conduct civil audits. If in the course of such audits some discrepancies are found, the case is referred to the Criminal Investigation Division, which starts a criminal investigation. The target of the investigators may be unaware of it for a long time, while the agents are sifting through the person’s taxes information and collecting data about their income from a number of sources. Then the person will receive a letter from the IRS or an IRS Administrative Summons or approached directly by its special agents. The agents will ask the person various questions and ask to provide some documents, which is intended to serve as prove to whatever evidence they already have. Soon after that the investigation is likely to end – either concluded for good or recommended for prosecution and passed to the Dept. of Justice, which will later pass it to the local U.S. Attorney’s office for indictment.

What to Do if Investigated by the IRS

No matter on which stage you find out that you are targeted, it is crucial not to engage in conversations with the investigators, not to destroy or alter any files, and start searching legal counsel from a competent tax evasion lawyer as soon as possible. We have gained wide expertise in communicating with such government bodies as the IRS, the DOJ and others. Engaging experienced forensic accountants, our tax fraud defense lawyers may be able to dismiss the case early in the investigative process, or if we intervene later, to communicate with the U.S. Attorney and and convince to pass the case back to the Dept. of Justice for a non-criminal resolution. And even if the case reaches trial and appeal, we may still be able to negotiate a favorable plea and minimize criminal penalties.

READ MORE: The Best Defenses in the IRS Investigations

How to Choose the Best Tax Fraud Defense Attorney

If you turn out in a situation similar to the described above, you need the help of a competent IRS tax attorney. When looking for a tax fraud lawyer to entrust your case to, mind that there is no substitute for experience. are under a tax fraud investigation, there is absolutely no substitute to experience. We encourage you to investigate the prospective attorney’s background and experience and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about handling similar cases in the past. You may be sure that at Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC you’ll find the right attorney to handle your situation. Our New York tax fraud and evasion defense lawyers are available to meet with you to discuss your matter and offer solutions.