Tax evasion begins with the notion of deep-seated wrongdoing. Flagrant violations of the rules and obligations of accounting, as well as intentionally creating obfuscation are taken very seriously by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) takes these cases very seriously. A conviction could result in steep fines and jail or prison time. It is important you speak with Theodore L. Craft immediately for consultation if you have been accused of, or may be subject to an accusation of tax evasion.
Massachusetts Tax Fraud Lawyer
Theodore L. Craft has more than 35 years of experience both prosecuting and defending criminal tax cases, including tax evasion. His clients include individuals, business owners, corporate officers and large corporations. Attorney Craft has represented a full range of client interests, including those of major exchange-listed corporations. To discuss your situation with a skilled Boston criminal tax/tax evasion defense lawyer, contact Theodore L. Craft Attorney at Law today for a consultation.
Willful Evasion of Income Tax
Unlike many other provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, the criminal provisions applicable to income tax are specifically designed to punish a willful evasion of tax. If applied to income tax, an attempt to evade those taxes can be accomplished by the filing of a fraudulent income tax return. It is equally clear that the willful failure to file an income tax return or returns for many years while acquiring assets in the names of spouses, trusts, corporations and other third parties, and especially while conducting a cash business, may constitute a willful attempt to evade income taxes. The adequacy of books and records is an important factor in evaluating the criminal potential of a tax case.
The IRS may prosecute a taxpayer for the willful failure to pay an income tax. Even this can be a case of alleged attempted evasion of collection of tax. In other words, either the filing or non-filing of returns may constitute the accomplishment of the attempted act of evasion.
Section 7201 of the Code charges an offense of willfully attempting to evade or defeat taxes. Section 7203 of the Code charges a violation of willfully failing to file or pay taxes at the time required by law. Section 7201 on its face is a felony. Section 7203 on its face is a misdemeanor.
One of the subtleties of criminal tax defense practice is that a willful failure to file can, on its face, appear to be a misdemeanor. It can, however, become a felony, depending on the ability of the government to prove that an intent to defeat or evade the payment of tax was the reason for the failure to file. Thus, a taxpayer can accomplish an attempted evasion by willfully failing to file an income tax return.
Fraudulent Income Tax Returns
One of the most "popular" charges in the government's arsenal under the Internal Revenue Code, willfully making and subscribing a tax return which contains a written declaration that it is made under the penalties of perjury and which the tax payer does not believe to be true and correct "as to every material matter," is a felony. Since every income tax return contains a written declaration that it is made under the penalties of perjury, if information presented in [or omitted from] the return is false or fraudulent to a "material" degree, and its presentation [or omission] is seen to be willful by the IRS, then, depending upon the evidence, the taxpayer can be charged with having knowingly presented a document known to be false or fraudulent as to any "material" matter.
This type of case may not be a triable case due to the low threshold of proof needed by the government to prove willfulness beyond a reasonable doubt. Often the only realistic option in such a case is to negotiate for terms in a plea agreement.
Amelioration of the hardship which may otherwise be probable is not the perfect answer the Client would wish for, but through cooperation in such a case relief in sentencing often follows conviction. The Client will be required to cooperate with the IRS in collection of the tax due and owing, together with penalties and interest running with the tax itself after sentencing in any case.
Sentencing guidelines, to which the government must adhere to determining its recommendations for sentencing under the terms of any plea agreement, often make it appear that the Client does not have an even chance for release as opposed to incarceration. However, the sentencing guidelines have been ruled unconstitutional and only as a reference for the trial judge to consider in determining whether the particular sentence to be imposed (1) reflects the seriousness of the offense, (2) promotes respect of the law, (3) provides just punishment for the offense, (4) affords adequate deterrence to criminal conduct, and (5) protects the public from further crimes by the defendant.
Accordingly, the seriousness of the tax crime continues to be relative, thus resulting in many instances of criminal tax defendants being sentenced to a term of confinement at home or to wearing an ankle or other "bracelet," for purposes of being monitored by the United States Department of Probation and subject to arrest by the United States Marshall's Service for violation of conditions of probation imposed along with the monitoring requirement.
Unreported Offshore Accounts
Another form of tax evasion that is heavily investigated and prosecuted by the IRS is withholding information and/or failing to report assets hidden for purposes of evading collection, especially in foreign bank accounts. This is often referred to broadly as hidden or offshore tax shelters.
Typically, the Internal Revenue Service has sent a letter stating that a client has been identified in such a scheme, and inviting the client's cooperation in an investigation into their activities. If you have received such a letter, do not talk to the IRS without first consulting this office or an experienced criminal defense attorney, especially one who, or whose firm, specializes in the defense of criminal tax prosecution.
These matters are extremely serious to the Government, and should be to you. There are ways to minimize the impact of such an allegation as described above, including voluntary disclosure. Mr. Craft can explain your situation and help you understand your options for moving forward. He has represented numerous U.S. citizens with unreported income from undisclosed, offshore bank accounts, with civil settlements agreed in all cases.
Contact a Boston Criminal Tax Defense Attorney
For a consultation about any allegation having the potential to involve ax fraud or evasion, contact attorney Theodore L. Craft.