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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

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What to Do If You’re Under Investigation for Employee Retention Tax Credit Fraud

By Spodek Law Group | October 18, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 07:17 pm


What to Do If You’re Under Investigation for Employee Retention Tax Credit Fraud

Being under investigation for employee retention tax credit fraud can be an incredibly stressful and frightening situation. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your business, and your employees if you find yourself being looked into by the IRS or other government agencies.

First and foremost, don’t panic. An investigation does not necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong. There may have been an honest mistake or misunderstanding. The key is to stay calm and get experienced legal help right away.

Consult an Attorney

If you get any kind of notice from the IRS or other agency indicating your business is under investigation, your very first call should be to an attorney who specializes in tax issues. Do not try to handle this yourself. The laws regarding these retention credits are complex, and the stakes are high if your business is deemed ineligible. An experienced tax attorney can advise you on the best course of action.

Your attorney can communicate with the investigating agency on your behalf, help assemble any necessary documents, and make sure you understand your rights. Having a legal professional in your corner taking point can relieve a lot of the stress of being under investigation.

Gather and Preserve Documents

Your tax attorney will likely ask you to gather all documentation related to your employee retention tax credits. This includes payroll records, tax filings, communications with tax preparers or financial advisors regarding the credits, and any other evidence that can demonstrate your eligibility and compliance.

Be sure to preserve electronic records as well as paper files. Don’t delete emails, texts, or other communications that may be relevant. Your attorney can provide guidance on organizing records and help determine what is helpful for your case.

Review Tax Filings

Carefully review all of your tax filings related to the employee retention credits. Make sure you understand what was claimed and why. If there were any errors in calculations or eligibility, correct and amend the filings right away.

Being proactive to fix innocent mistakes up front can demonstrate good faith. But be sure to have your attorney review amended returns before submitting anything.

Cooperate Fully with the Investigation

While you have rights against self-incrimination, cooperating fully with investigators often helps resolve these cases faster. Being evasive, obstructing, or destroying records can actually hurt your case.

Work closely with your attorney to provide accurate information to investigators in a timely manner. Answer questions truthfully in any interviews. The goal is to demonstrate the credits were claimed properly and in good faith.

Consider Voluntary Disclosure

For situations where errors or ineligibility are identified, making a voluntary disclosure to the IRS can be beneficial. This involves coming forward proactively to report and correct any mistaken claims.

Voluntary disclosures can reduce penalties significantly compared to if the agency detects the errors itself through audit or investigation. An attorney can advise if this strategy makes sense in your case.

Negotiate a Settlement

In some cases, the best resolution is to negotiate a settlement with the IRS or Department of Justice. This can save a lengthy legal battle and provide more certainty as to penalties and liabilities.

With guidance from your tax attorney, you may be able to make an offer in compromise to settle eligible tax debts for less than the full amount owed. Or you may be able to come to other agreements to close the investigation.

If the investigation concludes you wrongly claimed credits, there may still be defenses to reduce penalties or even eliminate tax liabilities. For example, you may be able to show reasonable cause, demonstrate substantial authority for your tax position, or prove you relied on professional tax advice.

Your tax attorney can assess whether you have grounds for these or other penalty relief defenses. Having strong defenses can provide leverage in settlement negotiations as well.

Correct Future Filings

If your business is deemed ineligible for the retention credits, be sure to comply going forward. Do not continue claiming credits you’re not entitled to. Discuss with your tax professional proper reporting of any denied credits from prior tax years.

Following the rules meticulously moving ahead shows good faith and can help resolve any lingering investigation issues.

Consider Repercussions

Be aware that even if you avoid criminal tax charges, improperly claimed credits can have serious repercussions. You may face heavy tax penalties, interest, and payment obligations. Ineligible retention credits may need to be paid back with interest.

If the amounts are substantial, you may need to explore business loans, payment plans, or other options to meet your obligations without jeopardizing operations.

Communicate with Employees

If your business comes under public scrutiny for tax credit fraud, it can undermine employee morale and retention. Consider being proactive in communicating to employees about the investigation and your actions to resolve it.

Reassure them you take the situation seriously and are working diligently to demonstrate eligibility for the credits. Transparency and open communication can help maintain workplace stability.

Learn from the Experience

No business owner wants the headache and stress of being under investigation for tax fraud. But if it does happen, use it as a learning experience. Understand what led to the inquiry, and put processes in place to ensure full compliance in the future.

Consult tax professionals any time you have questions on appropriate tax strategies and credits. Doing so can help avoid misunderstandings down the road.

Being under investigation for tax fraud is daunting. But by acting swiftly, engaging experienced legal counsel, cooperating fully, and taking proactive steps to get into compliance, you can resolve the issue and move your business forward.

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