Washington DC Federal Tax Fraud Attorney
Criminal tax fraud charges are a very serious matter and are accompanied by heavy penalties upon conviction. However, an experienced DC federal tax fraud lawyer is often aware of the investigation methods and tools used by the prosecution, and he or she can review the specific facts of your case and develop an appropriate and rigorous defense strategy to effectively protect your rights.
Anyone in the District of Columbia who believes they are being investigated for or has been charged with federal tax fraud should contact one of the experienced federal criminal defense attorneys at our firm.
White Collar Tax Fraud Charges in DC
Tax fraud involves the intentional and willful actions by a U.S. taxpayer through deceit to either avoid or attempt to avoid the payment of lawfully assessed taxes owed to the federal government. A tax return found to be in error may be audited up to 3 years past the filing date or April 15th, whichever is later. This window extends up to 6 years in a case where substantial error is discovered. If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) suspects a fraudulent tax claim or unlawful tax evasion, however, there is no statute of limitations to prevent the government from investigating potential tax fraud and pursuing legal action against the claimant, including criminal prosecution.
When criminal tax fraud is in question, the IRS has no statute of limitations to pursue duly owed taxes, but over time, the ability to prove a claimant’s guilt often becomes more challenging. In the criminal context, in order to obtain a tax fraud conviction, the government has the burden of proof and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intentionally and willfully defrauded the government of dully owed taxes. A DC federal tax fraud lawyer with experience defending against federal fraud charges can fight these charges in federal court.
Federal Tax Error Civil Penalties
There are a number of tax reporting errors and circumstances that are subject to civil financial penalties and yet fall below the threshold of criminal tax fraud. Such actions that are subject to civil tax penalties and financial restitution include, but are not limited to:
- Filing late
- Paying taxes late
- Substantial understatement
- Negligence/disregard of rules and regulations
- Filing a frivolous tax return
- Bounced check
Each of these errors or actions are subject to civil or administrative financial penalties. These IRS penalties can be as simple as a $25 fee for a bounced check amounting to less than $1,250, or as heavy as a fine of up to 20% percent of the understated tax value in the case of substantial understatements and negligent disregard. These civil penalties must be paid in addition to the actual taxes owed and any other applicable penalties assessed by the government.
However, if certain other criteria are met, then the charges can escalate into criminal charges, at which point you should consult with a DC federal tax fraud attorney with experience helping clients accused of this crime.
Federal Tax Fraud Penalties
Federal tax fraud involves intentionally and willfully defrauding the U.S. government or purposefully evading the payment of lawfully owed federal taxes. Tax fraud offenses can be prosecuted as misdemeanor and felony offenses under the U.S. Code and are prosecuted in federal court by the United States Attorney’s Office or Department of Justice Tax Division’s federal prosecutors. In Washington, DC, these cases are brought in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, located at 333 Constitution Avenue NW.
It’s important to keep in mind that the following penalties can vary greatly and that only a seasoned DC white collar tax fraud lawyer can help you to assess what sorts of consequences may accompany your charges.
Under 26 U.S. Code Section 7201 et seq., federal tax fraud crimes include, but are not limited to, the following:
- An attempt to evade or defeat owed taxes
- A willful failure to collect or pay over tax
- A willful failure to file a tax return
- A willful failure to pay taxes
- A willful failure to supply tax-related information
- Issuing false tax-related statements to purchasers or lessees
- Interference with the administration of internal revenue laws
The penalty for each of these tax fraud crimes may vary, based on the specific details of the case and characteristics of the alleged offender. Previous convictions, large-scale fraud, a pattern of evasion for multiple years and other factors can increase fines and lengthen the possible term of incarceration, if convicted.
If the prosecution proves a knowing and willful attempt to evade or defeat a tax, and if there are outstanding taxes due and owed, a conviction under these circumstances can carry a maximum penalty of up to a $100,000 fine and/or imprisonment for a maximum of 5 years. In the case of a corporation convicted of corporate tax fraud, the fine reaches a maximum of $500,000.
Upon conviction for a willful failure to file a tax return, supply necessary information or pay lawfully owed taxes, the accused is subject to a maximum fine of $25,000 and up to one year in prison. A corporation found guilty of such action is subject to a fine of up to $100,000. If the offense is charged as a felony rather than a misdemeanor, the maximum term of imprisonment may increase to 5 years’ incarceration.
With such vastly different consequences on the table, it’s important to get in touch with a DC federal tax fraud lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options for defense and to begin collecting information for your case.
Federal Tax Evasion in Conjunction with other White Collar Crimes
White-collar crimes can often involve some type of theft, larceny, embezzlement bribery or fraud by which the offender obtains another party’s rightful property or funds without authorization and uses them for personal gain, among other criminal acts. Under U.S. tax laws, all income must be reported when filing an income tax return, and this includes any money that is obtained from illegal sources.
Clearly, those involved in related white collar criminal acts, would not want to report their illegal income to the IRS, which would alert the government to their underlying criminal activity. Thus, the government often brings tax fraud charges together with charges for unrelated criminal activity, alleging a failure to report income from illegal sources.
Speak with a DC Federal Tax Fraud Attorney Today
The prosecution has the burden of proof in criminal cases and must prove the alleged charges beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced DC white collar tax fraud attorney may be able to use the facts of your particular case to plant a seed of doubt arguing that the accused made an honest mistake and did not willfully intent to defraud the government. A federal criminal conviction for tax fraud carries with it a certain stigma and could severely damage one’s reputation in addition to imprisonment and costly fines.
A DC federal tax fraud lawyer may be able to protect your rights and provide the best defense possible against the charges you face. Call our firm today to set up a free consultation.