The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employs over 3,000 special agents dedicated to uncovering and investigating tax fraud. These agents have at their disposal a number of computer, accounting, surveillance and investigative resources. They have the power to issue summons for financial information and can freeze bank accounts and seize assets if doing so is deemed necessary for the purposes of an investigation. As a former state and federal prosecutor who works with former IRS special agents, attorney Dan C. Guthrie, Jr., understands how the IRS investigates tax fraud cases, what it can and cannot do to suspects, and what must be done to protect your rights.
If you are the target of a tax fraud investigation, contact tax fraud defense lawyer Dan C. Guthrie, Jr., in Dallas, TX today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case.
How Tax Fraud Investigations Begin
First, if you have not received any prior letters from the IRS concerning one of your tax returns, the odds are very high that these are IRS special agents in Dallas, TX and nationwide. It is important to fully realize that these agents are not investigating a mere civil matter. Special agents only investigate criminal cases. When a special agent wants to ask you questions about your tax returns — personal or corporate — it is a loud and clear signal that you are under criminal investigation.
Since agents normally ask questions about matters that occurred years ago, it is easy to forget details and make honest mistakes in recounting what happened. Agents will, however, assume that you are lying. As Martha Stewart found out, any statements made to federal agents that the government believes are false can be an independent basis for criminal charges. You do not have to answer any questions, and it is wise that you don’t until you have retained an attorney to determine the focus of the criminal investigation. Politely tell them that you want an attorney present and completely stop the interview, then immediately retain an experienced white collar attorney to determine the best defensive strategy for you.
What You Say to Others — Statements Admissible in Court
It is also important to remember that any statements you make to your CPA or tax preparer are not confidential in any way. Likewise, any statements made by you to friends, business associates or relatives are not confidential. That person can be subpoenaed by the government to appear before a federal grand jury or a court. If you tell that person anything that the government could view as inculpatory, that person will be a witness against you. The only conversations that are privileged and confidential are the ones you have with your lawyer or someone working for him.
Finally, it is important to make certain that you get all of your personal records back from your tax preparer. If the government subpoenas those records from the tax preparer, there is normally no privilege that can be asserted. However, if the personal records are in your possession, privileges could likely be asserted.
A Lawyer Experienced in White Collar Crime ― Can Make a Difference
If you are under investigation for tax fraud or tax evasion, please contact Dan C. Guthrie, Jr. He can be reached by phone at 214-953-1000 or by filling out the intake form on the contact page.