Pre-Indictment Planning – Role of Counsel
Taxpayers who believe they are the subject of a criminal tax investigation should immediately consult with an experienced criminal tax attorney. It is critical that they do this as soon as possible and before they discuss the matter with an IRS special agent or a federal prosecutor.
In many instances the early involvement of a tax attorney will prevent the filing of criminal charges.
An experienced criminal tax lawyer will evaluate your case and, after discussing the matter with you and reviewing your tax returns and/or books and records, be able to tell you what your chances of being indicted are, what the charges are likely to be and what defenses you might have against those charges. This preliminary evaluation of your criminal exposure is important because it will dictate what steps you will need to take in order to prevent an indictment or, if an indictment can’t be prevented, lessen the severity of the charges brought against you.
Immediate Contact with Special Agent or United States Attorney
Once retained, your attorney will contact either the special agent on the case or the U.S. attorney if one has already been assigned to find out what the government suspects and what evidence it has that you have committed a crime. This initial discussion will set the tone for the entire criminal tax case, therefore, it is critically important that you have an attorney who knows what he is doing from the outset.
There are many lawyers who know criminal law. There are many lawyers who know tax law. There are very, very few who know both.
While you don’t want your attorney to be a door mat, you also don’t want an attorney who is overly aggressive. The idea is to strike a balance between assertive representation and cooperative spirit in correcting any mistakes you may have made in the past.