The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that the United States loses $1 trillion because of tax fraud and unpaid taxes. Such a staggering figure provides more than enough incentive for federal law enforcement agencies to aggressively investigate suspected tax fraud. Unfortunately, it also increases the likelihood that innocent taxpayers or taxpayers who had no intent to defraud the government can wind up being targeted in a tax fraud investigation. Knowing what to do if you are targeted for tax fraud in Florida is the key to protecting your rights and your future.
With virtually unlimited resources, the federal government makes for a powerful adversary when investigating or prosecuting alleged crimes. As the target of a federal investigation, you need an equally powerful ally on your side. You need a tax fraud defense attorney. As a former federal prosecutor, attorney David Haas has the experience, knowledge, and resources to zealously protect you if the federal government has targeted you in a tax fraud investigation.
What Is Tax Fraud?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines tax fraud as “an intentional wrongdoing, on the part of a taxpayer, with the specific purpose of evading a tax known or believed to be owing.” Tax fraud requires a tax to be due and owing and the taxpayer to intentionally defraud the government. In other words, making a genuine mistake on a tax return does not amount to tax fraud. Conversely, things such as failing to file a tax return, participating in a money laundering scheme, or intentionally filing a false tax return can be considered tax fraud.
What Should I Do If I Am the Target of a Tax Fraud Investigation in Florida?
Although the IRS has its own criminal investigation unit, a tax fraud investigation may stem from an investigation conducted by various other law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Regardless of how a tax fraud investigation begins, you can count on the federal government to conduct a thorough investigation given the resources available to federal law enforcement agencies. If you are a target of such an investigation, you may receive a “target letter.” Keep in mind that you can be targeted without receiving such a letter; however, if you do receive one you should take the letter seriously. Either way, if you have reason to believe you are the target of a tax fraud investigation you should take the following steps:
- Read the “target letter” carefully. If you receive a target letter, the letter will inform you of the nature of the investigation being conducted and your role in that investigation. Do not ignore a target letter.
- Make note of requests but do not act until you have spoken to an attorney. A target letter may include a request for the production of documents, a request to appear in front of a Grand Jury, and/or other requests related to the investigation. You may also be contacted directly by a law enforcement officer or government official involved in the investigation. Again, do not ignore these requests; however, do not comply with them without first speaking to an attorney.
- Consult with an experienced tax fraud defense attorney immediately. By the time you become aware that you are the target of a tax fraud investigation, it is likely that the government has already compiled a substantial amount of evidence. To protect your rights it is vital that you consult with an experienced tax fraud defense attorney immediately.
- Resist the urge to destroy or hide evidence. Your initial reaction to finding out that you are the target of a criminal investigation may be to hide or destroy evidence that could implicate you. Not only could this lead to additional charges being filed against you, but your attorney may ultimately be able to use some of that evidence to prevent a conviction.
- Do not discuss the investigation with anyone except your attorney. Knowing that the government is investigating you for potential tax fraud can be extremely stressful, causing you to want to unburden yourself to a spouse, business partner, or friend; however, it is crucial that you avoid discussing the matter with anyone except your attorney because only conversations with your attorney are confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Get Help from an Experienced Tax Fraud Defense Attorney
Whether because you received a target letter or because you were contacted by a law enforcement officer or government agent, the moment you realize you are the target of a federal tax fraud investigation you need to act quickly to protect yourself. Specifically, you need to consult with an experienced tax fraud defense attorney to discuss your legal options.
Attorney David Hass of Haas Law is committed to vigorously defending people just like you, and he has the experience and resources to fulfill that commitment. When you are up against the might of the U.S. government, you need a tax fraud defense attorney on your side to protect your rights and your future.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. Because we understand that time is of the essence when federal law enforcement authorities are investigating you, our calls are answered 24 hours a day, allowing you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.