According to multiple news outlets, a New Orleans city council member was indicted by a federal grand jury on various tax charges relating to the defendant’s lying on his tax returns over a span of multiple years. This story should serve as a reminder that lying on your tax returns comes with severe consequences. If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years or have taken an unsupportable position on a filed tax return, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax attorney to help you come into compliance.
A 13-page indictment reveals that New Orleans city council member Jason Williams was recently indicted on 11 counts of tax fraud and tax-related crimes. The government alleges that Williams caused his tax return to include expenses that were not incurred, artificially lowering his federal income tax liability. The IRS believes that Williams’ allegedly illegal behavior began in 2014 and continued through 2018.
Department of Justice attorneys allege that Williams’ actions cost taxpayers over $200,000. Representatives for Williams have initiated a public relations campaign focused on shifting the blame to Williams’ tax preparer, who told authorities that Williams pressured him to take erroneous and knowingly-false deductions. If convicted, Williams could face over a decade in federal prison, be ordered to serve a period of supervised release, and pay restitution to the IRS. Not to mention that his prepare also has exposure for being criminally charged with aiding and abetting tax fraud and conspiracy to defraud the U.S.
The story above is a reminder that the IRS can target anyone for tax-related crimes. Whether you are in the public eye or not, you are not too big or too little of a fish to fall into the crosshairs of an IRS and Department of Justice investigation. As the defendant in the above story has found out, the prison time associated with being convicted of tax fraud can be lengthy.
Generally, the best course of action for a taxpayer who has failed to file a tax return for one or more years or who has taken a position on a tax return that is unsupportable is to consult with an experienced tax defense attorney. After meeting with legal counsel and establishing your particular facts and circumstances, you will be able to make an informed decision as to the best method to move forward and come into tax compliance.
Note: As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed returns coupled with affirmative evasion of payment) self-reports the tax fraud (including a pattern of non-filed returns) through a domestic or offshore voluntary disclosure before the IRS has started an audit or criminal tax investigation / prosecution, the taxpayer can ordinarily be successfully brought back into tax compliance and receive a nearly guaranteed pass on criminal tax prosecution and simultaneously often receive a break on the civil penalties that would otherwise apply.
It is imperative that you hire an experienced and reputable criminal tax defense attorney to take you through the voluntary disclosure process. Only an Attorney has the Attorney Client Privilege and Work Product Privileges that will prevent the very professional that you hire from being potentially being forced to become a witness against you, especially where they prepared the returns that need to be amended, in a subsequent criminal tax audit, investigation or prosecution.
Moreover, only an Attorney can enter you into a voluntary disclosure without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (a crime in itself). Only an Attorney trained in Criminal Tax Defense fully understands the risks and rewards involved in voluntary disclosures and how to protect you if you do not qualify for a voluntary disclosure.
As uniquely qualified and extensively experienced Criminal Tax Defense Tax Attorneys, Kovel CPAs and EAs, our firm provides a one stop shop to efficiently achieve the optimal and predictable results that simultaneously protect your liberty and your net worth. See our Testimonials to see what our clients have to say about us!
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