IRS and State of New Jersey Criminal and Civil Tax Investigations
Penalties for being convicted of a tax crime can include significant fines and penalties, incarceration, and massive civil tax and interest assessments. Therefore, any criminal tax investigation itself is quite serious and not to be taken lightly. Willfully failing to file income tax returns, income tax returns that are filed containing a false item or items, and willfully underreporting income and evasion of taxes are the most prevalent types of tax crimes being prosecuted today.
Investigations occur both at the federal level, with the IRS, and the state level, with the New Jersey Division of Taxation.
Even if an investigation does not rise to the criminal level, civil penalties and interest can be substanital, and confronting the tax authorities without proper and experienced representation can be costly.
Over the years we have represented numerous clients who were worried about, or who had become the subject of an Internal Revenue Service tax investigation. This has occurred at both the criminal level, as well as civil audits. Our representation has repeatedly yielded a beneficial resolution to our clients' problems. Our primary intention is to immediately show the authorities that it is not necessary to seek a criminal conviction, and that it is in everyone's favor to come to an arrangement that is acceptable and conducive to all parties involved. We also strive to reduce or eliminate the penalties and minimize any and all civil tax assessments that may be sought in conjunction with the case.
The Internal Revenue Service offers substantial rewards for information that will lead to the conviction of those found guilty of tax fraud, and the subsequent recovery of the tax revenues in question. Because of this, most often an investigation is initiated as a result of information provided to the authorities by an acquaintance, or by being referred for investigation/prosecution by their former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend and at times by vindictive employees or business associates. Sometimes your own accountant may be the one reporting you.
This being the case, you should immediately consult with an attorney who specializes in tax law, if you even suspect that you are or are about to be investigated or prosecuted. An attorney has a fiduciary responsibility to his clients, and must absolutely adhere to the rules of the attorney client privilege. CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers, and tax agents cannot assert this well established protection, and at times may be legally bound or compelled to report you and testify against you in a court of law.
There is, however, a program initiated by the Internal Revenue Service called the "Voluntary Disclosure Policy." It has offered amnesty to individuals in many cases. Within the parameters of this program, the Internal Revenue Service may not wish to criminally prosecute you, but you must have first come forward voluntarily, explained your tax errors fully and be willing to pay whatever is due, plus the penalties and interest, in order to qualify for this courtesy.
The IRS is not bound to grant you these courtesies, but only on rare occasions have they chosen or attempted to bring criminal charges against any individuals who have in good faith complied with all the aspects of the policy. The key to making all of this work is being properly represented by a firm that has experience in this area, and will help you to navigate the process from beginning to end.
If you feel that any of this applies to you or your situation, do not hesitate to call or email us for an appointment.