An individual can be charged with tax fraud even if an accountant or someone else did their taxes. It is less likely to happen when the tax preparer or accountant prepares the tax return because they do not make mistakes by claiming deductions that should not have been claimed, requesting more refunds than should have been requested, or declaring income. However, the tax preparer or accountant is only as good as the information they are given. When the taxpayer withholds information about their income and the tax preparer does not include it on the tax return because they did not know about it, that does not shield the taxpayer for possible prosecution.
Also, filing taxes jointly could affect how a DC federal tax fraud case proceeds. With a married couple, one partner may handle the finances and taxes. Although both partners sign the tax return, one is more culpable than the other.
Read below to learn more about the unique aspects of DC federal tax fraud cases. And if you are facing charges, get in touch with an accomplished tax fraud lawyer today.
The first thing an attorney should do in a tax fraud case is to obtain the documents related to the taxes at issue. That includes all federal and state income taxes the individual paid. They should get the documents that support any deductions claimed as well as bank statements for other types of statements about the finances to show where the money might have gone that provides an explanation as to why the defendant did not commit tax fraud.
One of the unique aspects of DC federal tax fraud cases is the intent requirement. In criminal law, the government does not want to prosecute someone for committing a crime that was accidental. There is an intent requirement that shows someone intended to do something forbidden by law or had knowledge of wrongdoing and that is why they are being held accountable for it in a criminal court.
In a tax fraud cause, the intent requirement is when a taxpayer willfully commits an illegal act. For example, they withheld information about the income they received or took deductions they were not eligible to take.
Tax fraud cases are different in what the government needs to prove, but there are similarities and frequently tax fraud cases are connected to other financial crimes against the same individual.
Frequently, criminal tax charges are connected to other types of financial crimes such as embezzlement or bank fraud. Any type of financial crime that leads to income not reported on tax returns can be connected to tax fraud charges. Sometimes the charges are separate, but the criminal tax charges may be connected to other types of financial crimes in a single indictment.
The average time for a tax fraud case to be completed may vary. It could take a year or two depending on how much time is spent at the beginning when negotiating with the government to figure out a way to address deficiencies in tax payments without being charged criminally. Sometimes, the investigation phase takes a long time. There is no requirement that the government investigates for a specific period of time other than the statute of limitations. Occasionally, someone is charged with financial fraud and the government goes through their past tax returns and finds something questionable from three years earlier that could be charged criminally even though it may not be directly connected to the original criminal charge. The government can go back several years, as long as it is within the statute of limitations.
Hiring an attorney with experience handling tax fraud cases is important because of the possibility of prison time for a conviction of tax fraud. Tax fraud cases are complicated, so it is crucial to start putting together a defense in a sophisticated way as early as possible. Defense lawyers with expertise and experience in these kinds of cases know the most appropriate defense to prepare for a specific case. It is most helpful when the attorney has a team including accountants and tax specialists who could help build a strong defense and win an acquittal at trial.
Call a seasoned lawyer to learn more about the unique aspects of DC federal tax fraud cases and how an attorney could help you.