Committing tax evasion, either intentionally or through negligence, can land you in serious trouble. The IRS accounts for every cent owed to the federal government, so, sooner or later, they will come after violators. If you find yourself facing tax evasion charges, or simply want to get ahead of the government and settle matters without waiting for prosecution, hiring an experienced tax attorney may be your best bet. Through years of education and experience, the right attorney can help you set things right and limit the penalties to which you may be subjected.
What can a Tax Attorney do for you?
The possibility of facing tax evasion charges is frightening, but no one has to endure this type of legal issue alone. While some may choose to enlist the help of a certified public accountant (CPA), that’s probably not the best idea in criminal cases instigated by the government. The CPA can be required to testify against clients in court, which may do more harm than good.
Instead, consider hiring a tax attorney. The attorney/client privilege protects you against such actions, because, just like in any legal matter, an attorney can’t be compelled to disclose confidential information. Anything you discuss with your tax attorney, including any information he may discover about your case, can only be used with your consent in the defense of your case.
Additionally, years of experience gives tax attorneys access to government programs that may allow for a more agreeable compromise. Certainly, an experienced CPA may know of some helpful settlement arrangements, but they won’t be well-versed in the full range of programs and allowances offered by the government. A tax attorney, on the other hand, stays current on new programs for which his clients may qualify. Some programs may reduce the individual’s liability and alleviate some of the stress and financial burden associated with straightening out their tax discrepancies.
When is it Time to Hire a Tax Attorney?
The issue of when to hire a tax attorney is usually pretty straightforward. In almost every circumstance, the individual knows there is a problem with his or tax returns and realizes it’s only a matter of time, before the IRS catches up with them. It’s wise to consult a tax attorney as early as possible, but this begs another question: which attorney?
All tax attorneys are not created equal and hiring the wrong tax lawyer can be worse than trying to represent yourself in a criminal tax evasion case. Just like in any profession, there are disreputable or unknowledgeable professionals in the legal field and you certainly don’t want one of these attorneys working for you, when your freedom and financial future is at stake.
During the initial consultation, the tax attorney will want to know the details about you and the matter for which you need representation. While this is the primary purpose of that first meeting, it’s also the time for you, as a potential client, to interview the lawyer. Ask about his or her education and experiences with tax law clients. Of special interest, ask about how many clients they have represented in tax evasion cases and how many of those cases resulted in wins for the client.
Once you have chosen a reputable tax attorney, he will likely take over, ensuring deadlines are met efficiently and correspondence with the IRS is both timely and productive. Additionally, an experienced attorney may discover errors committed by the IRS that will work in your favor. As a bureaucracy, the IRS does make its own share of mistakes and, in some cases, it may take an experienced professional to spot them.
Tax evasion is considered a white collar crime and, as such, is a felony in most cases, so it’s important to consult an attorney as soon as possible. By ensuring your defense will be handled by a tax lawyer committed to achieving your best possible outcome, you may be able to avoid a lengthy prison term or a hefty six-figure fine. Tax evasion isn’t something to be taken lightly and facing criminal charges of any kind isn’t something anyone should attempt to do alone.