Can You Be Reported to the IRS for Suspected Tax Fraud?

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Can You Be Reported to the IRS for Suspected Tax Fraud?

Can You Be Reported to the IRS for Suspected Tax Fraud?

Can You Be Reported to the IRS for Suspected Tax Fraud?

When our tax defense attorneys discuss tax evasion, we often focus on scenarios in which IRS audits and subsequent (or simultaneous) criminal investigations were triggered by “badges” or indicators of fraud, such as unfiled returns or unreported sources of income. But while most taxpayers are already wary of auditors, there is also another danger that many taxpayers are unaware of: IRS whistleblowers. Not only does the Internal Revenue Service allow taxpayers to report suspected tax cheats; federal tax laws incentivize taxpayers to do so. Under 26 U.S. Code § 7623(b)(1), the Internal Revenue Code establishes substantial rewards for IRS informants who provide the government with fruitful information, with payments ranging anywhere from 15% to 30% of any proceeds collected by the government. Even “less substantial contributions” may be rewarded, under 26 U.S. Code § 7623(b)(2), with payments as large as 10% of the proceeds collected. These rules actively encourage taxpayers to report suspected fraud, creating a risk for individuals and businesses that have been willfully noncompliant. If you have concerns about a potential state or federal tax compliance issue, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced tax attorney for immediate guidance.

How is Suspected Tax Fraud Reported to the IRS?

Many taxpayers are afraid of being “caught” by the IRS. However, due to IRS whistleblower laws, other taxpayers may pose an even greater danger. Taxpayers can reap generous financial rewards in exchange for providing the IRS with useful information about criminal tax activity, such as legitimate tips about tax evasion (26 U.S. Code § 7201), failure to file returns (26 U.S. Code § 7203), or filing false returns (26 U.S. Code § 7206(1)). In fact, the IRS has gone out of its way to make reporting suspicious activity simple for taxpayers, who need only file the appropriate form, as follows:

  • Form 3949-A (Information Referral) – This form is used to report suspected failure to pay taxes, failure to report income, failure to withhold federal employment and/or income taxes, and scenarios where the noncompliant taxpayer has improperly claimed false tax deductions or exemptions.
  • Form 14157 (Return Preparer Complaint) – As its title suggests, this IRS form is specifically used to report tax professionals who are suspected of engaging in fraud, such as tax attorneys, CPAs, EAs, or other professional tax preparers and service providers. As our tax preparer fraud attorneys have discussed in previous articles, return preparer fraud can lead to prison time, along with huge fines, possible probation, and the likely loss or suspension of various professional licenses and certifications.
  • Form 14242 (Report Suspected Abusive Tax Promotions or Preparers) – This form is used to report suspected abusive tax shelters. The term “abusive tax shelter” broadly refers to any sort of scam or system that has been structured to artificially reduce a taxpayer’s liabilities – even though his or her income and assets have not actually changed. In other words, an abusive tax shelter enables a taxpayer to unlawfully pay less than the full amount he or she owes the IRS. Micro-captive insurance tax shelters, which have become a growing problem in recent years, are common examples of abusive tax shelters.

One stipulation of the tax whistleblower program is of particular cause for concern: the IRS states that only “specific and credible information” will be rewarded, and that furthermore, an award may be given only if the data provided actually leads to “the collection of taxes, penalties, interest or other amounts from the noncompliant taxpayer.” Therefore, if a whistleblower has already stepped forward to the IRS, it suggests that he or she possesses (or believes that he or she possesses) valuable, detailed information – otherwise, there would be no possibility of an award.

As a warning to whistleblowers that have dirty hands themselves, the IRS would rather prosecute you for your own crimes than reward you for turning others, especially where you participated in the crimes you are attempting to blow the whistle on.   I.E. an employee that “cooks the books” of his or her employer and then turns in the employer.

Federal Income Tax Evasion Defense Attorneys in California

In order for a tax whistleblower to receive financial rewards, he or she must provide the IRS with comprehensive and useful information about your activities. It is therefore absolutely critical to shield yourself and limit your criminal tax exposure as early and aggressively as possible.

When the stakes are this high, there is no margin for error. Give yourself the strongest defense by selecting an award-winning, nationally recognized tax evasion defense attorney with three decades of experience dealing with the IRS. Contact the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing online to schedule an appointment or call our main tax office at (800) 681-1295 for a reduced-rate consultation.

Also, we’ve expanded our offices! In addition to our offices in Irvine and Los Angeles, the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing now have offices San BernardinoSanta BarbaraPanorama CityOxnardSan DiegoBakersfieldSan Jose, San FranciscoOakland and Sacramento.

Note: If you have concerns about the privacy of our initial or subsequent communication and are unable to easily travel to our Irvine / Orange County Main Office, consider scheduling a GoToMeeting to safely and securely establish an initial or maintain an existing attorney client relationship.  With end-to-end encryption, strong passwords and top-rated reliability, no one is messing with your meeting. To schedule a reduced rate initial consultation via GoToMeeting follow this link.   Call our office and request a GoToMeeting if you are an existing client. We are generally happy to travel to any of our appointment only satellite offices for a subsequent meeting in appropriate circumstances once a relationship is established via a signed engagement letter and the payment of an initial retainer or where enough retainer is available where a current client to cover the reasonable travel time and time required for the meeting.

Will it cost me more to hire the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing, who’s main office and the vast majority of the firm’s staff is located in Irvine California, but an appointment only Satellite office is close to my location, as opposed to a local company?  Absolutely not!  See our policies that address this issue here:

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