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Criminal Tax Exposure for CPAs

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    With over 20 years of combined experience as a Tax Focused CPA, a Master’s Degree in Taxation and License to Practice Law, I have first hand knowledge of the pitfalls and potential traps tax preparers can fall into when dealing with client matters and can help resolve or prevent criminal tax exposure for CPAs. At the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing, we strive to be proactive when it comes to protecting tax preparers and the clients they service.

    CPA Rights and Duties when Faced with a Client’s Criminal Tax Issue

    CPAs have their own rights and duties they should be aware of in the face of a client’s potential criminal investigation. Often when a client learns of a criminal investigation, CPAs get the finger pointed their direction where the client is trying to save their own skin. It is important during client intake and even during the annual tax interview to be on the lookout for red flags that might indicate that a client is not being truthful or the client exhibits tax reporting behavior that has the potential to open the client and possibly the CPA up to investigation. Where presented with these red flags, before delving too deep into the facts, CPAs should recognize that they are subject to subpoena by the IRS, which may use the information or testimony of the CPA to prosecute the Client.

    CPAs need to resist the desire to be the sympathetic all-knowing ear their clients are looking for concerning potential criminal tax issues. A CPA should cutoff the interview immediately where red flags are encountered and advise the client to seek an experienced Criminal Tax Representation Attorney. Under the protection of a Kovel arrangement, a CPA can resume representation (under the proper circumstances) with the comfort of knowing that any subsequent communications with the client will fall under the attorney-client privilege. Because a CPA’s license is often his or her most valuable asset, consultation with a Criminal Tax Representation Attorney can mean the difference between helping a client resolve their potential or actual criminal tax problems and avoid jail time or the CPA possibly being charged as an accomplice to a substantive tax crime (a career ending event). On several occasions I have advised accounting professionals in the steps needed to protect themselves from criminal tax exposure for CPAs shouldering the responsibility for their client’s actions.

    What is at Stake for the CPA?

    Tax preparers can face a long list of misdemeanor and felony charges if he or she is not careful. The state of the law is such that he or she can be simultaneously charged with both the greater and any lesser-included offenses within the definition of the greater offense. Moreover, a single action may constitute a violation of several criminal tax statutes. The most common tax crimes a CPA or taxpayer can be convicted of are:

    • Aiding and abetting a tax crime
    • Filing a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim
    • Making a fraudulent or false statement
    • Conspiracy to commit an offense or defraud the United States
    • Aiding or assisting the filing of a false return

    In addition to hefty fines and penalties, sentences can also include confinement to federal prison, halfway house, home detention, or some combination thereof.

    It is vital to have an effective advocate arguing on your behalf. As a Criminal Tax Representation Attorney I am uniquely qualified to advise on such matters and achieve the best possible outcome. My training as an Attorney, a CPA and my Master’s Degree in Taxation coupled with years of real world tax controversy representation lends itself extremely well to limiting your or your client’s criminal tax exposure.

    Common Questions

    Obtaining a Favorable Resolution

    There are several ways an experience Criminal Tax Representation Attorney can resolve ongoing criminal tax issues of a CPA’s client. The Attorney can either defend against a known charge or attempt to avoid criminal investigation entirely by approaching the IRS with discrepancies before they become known to the government where a Voluntary Disclosure may be possible. In either event, intricate understanding of the IRS criminal investigation and Voluntary Disclosure Practice is essential.

    Taxpayers and preparers, under the correct circumstances, can get ahead of the inevitable criminal investigation by making a voluntary disclosure. The voluntary disclosure program imposes civil penalties in lieu of criminal prosecution. As a criminal tax attorney, I can conduct a pre-check to determine eligibility for the voluntary disclosure program as well as provide guidance once accepted to the program.

    Unique Experience as a Practicing Attorney and Accountant

    Only a specially trained Criminal Tax Representation Attorney can ensure that you have properly availed your clients of the powerful protections provided by the U.S. Constitution. The two most useful protections in a Criminal Tax Investigation are the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing can coach you on what to say and what not to say when talking with the IRS and make you aware of other mannerisms IRS agents are trained to key into so that you don’t inadvertently incriminate your client or yourself.

    legal help for Criminal Tax Exposure for CPAs

    In handling matters of this kind it is essential to act early and secure any possible advantage for your client under the circumstances. By getting a head start we can conduct independent evaluations, interview potential witnesses, and properly prepare a well-supported defense. A sufficient head start can be the difference between your client facing misdemeanor rather than felony charges, and better yet facing no charges at all.

    Contact Us

    My Orange County office is conveniently located in Irvine, next to John Wayne Airport. I also have offices in the Westwood area of West Los Angeles a short distance from the 405 freeway on Wilshire Boulevard.

    For a reduced rate initial consultation with a dedicated, experienced Orange County Criminal Tax Representation Lawyer, call 800.681.1295 or contact my offices online.


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    Irvine, CA 92614
    (949) 681-3502

    Our headquarters is located in Irvine, CA. Our beautiful 19,700 office space is staffed full-time and always available for our clients to meet with our highly qualified and experienced staff of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents. We also offer virtual consultations and can travel to meet with clients in one of our satellite offices.

    Outside of our 4 hour initial consultation option, we do not charge travel time or travel expenses when traveling to one of our Satellite offices, or surrounding business districts, where it is necessary to meet personally with taxing authority personnel, make court appearances, or any in person meeting deemed necessary for the effective representation of a client. To make this as flexible, efficient, and convenient as possible, David W. Klasing is an Instrument Rated Private Pilot and Utilizes the Firms Cirrus SR22 to service client’s in California and in the Southwest by air. Offices outside these areas are serviced via commercial jet airlines. None of these costs are charged to our clients.

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