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    If the IRS places you under criminal investigation for tax fraud, you risk being federally prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice – whose attorneys have a 90% conviction rate and routinely mandate prison sentences for tax offenders. If you are concerned that you may have committed tax fraud in the past, or if you are worried about an upcoming tax audit, it is critical to get ahead of the situation now by contacting an experienced Orange County tax attorney from the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing. We can fight to minimize your exposure to criminal liability, protecting your constitutional rights and guiding you through the justice system while seeking the greatest possible reduction of penalties and other unwanted consequences including the potential loss of professional licensure.

    See our Audit Representation Q and A Library

    What is the Definition of Tax Fraud?

    The basic definition of tax fraud is an action committed or attempted, in violation of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), for the purpose of enabling the taxpayer to avoid his or her full tax liabilities. Fraud occurs when the taxpayer acts intentionally, or “willfully,” to deceive government agents or disregard tax laws. This stands in contrast to tax errors that arise from carelessness, or negligence. However, even if no fraud has occurred, negligent conduct can still lead to serious penalties, making strict tax compliance essential.

    The phrase “tax fraud” is often used to indicate tax evasion, which is a specific crime defined by federal law at 26 U.S. Code § 7201. Under the definition provided, a person commits tax evasion when he or she “willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof,” such as income taxes.

    How Does the IRS Discover Fraud?

    If the IRS (or one of its corresponding state agencies, such as the California Franchise Tax Board) detects suspicious information on a tax return, or determines that one or more tax returns have not been timely filed by the taxpayer, the result may be an audit – which is almost certain to turn up signs of any tax fraud that has occurred. The IRS trains agents to be on the lookout for numerous “badges” (indicators) of tax fraud – which, if detected, may result in referral of the case to the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI).

    There are dozens of different badges of fraud, the full list of which is available in Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 25.1.2 (Recognizing and Developing Fraud), specifically (Indicators of Fraud). To provide just a few examples from this extensive list, some of the “red flags” that will warn the IRS of potential tax fraud include:

    • “Claiming substantial business expense deductions for personal expenditures.”
    • “Concealing bank accounts… and other property,” regardless of whether physically located offshore or within the United States.
    • Failing to file a tax return, especially for a period of several years, despite evidence of… substantial amounts of taxable income.”
    • “Failure to make full disclosure of relevant facts to the accountant, attorney or return preparer” (such as failing to acknowledge the existence of a foreign bank account).
    • “Omitting entire sources of income.”

    What is the Penalty for Tax Evasion?

    Tax evasion is a felony offense. Under federal law, the maximum prison sentence for tax evasion is five years per count, which may be accompanied by a fine of up to $100,000 (or, if the defendant is a corporation, $500,000).

    To reiterate, tax evasion is merely one example of a crime within the broader “tax fraud” category. For instance, it is also a felony to willfully fail to collect or pay over tax (26 U.S. Code § 7202), commonly known as “payroll tax fraud.” The maximum sentence for this crime is five years in prison, with a maximum fine of $10,000.

    The willful failure to file a return, supply information, or pay taxes is yet another example of tax fraud, in violation of 26 U.S. Code § 7203. This statute generally makes this offense a misdemeanor, subject to a maximum fine of $25,000 (or $100,000 for corporations) and/or jail sentence of one year.

    Another statute widely violated is 26 U.S. Code § 7206, pertaining to fraud and false statements. Under 26 U.S. Code § 7206(1), it is a crime to willfully make and subscribe a false return, while 26 U.S. Code § 7206(2) makes it illegal to assist a taxpayer in doing so. Both of these offenses are felonies, subject to maximum fines of $100,000 (or $500,000 for corporations) and/or maximum prison sentences of three years per count. These are all different forms of tax fraud: intentional efforts to avoid properly filing and paying taxes.

    See our Criminal Tax Law Q and A Library

    See our Civil and Criminal Divorce Tax Law Q and A Library

    See our Innocent Spouse Relief Q and A Library

    See our Employment Tax Law Q and A Library

    Orange County, CA Federal Tax Fraud Defense Lawyers and CPAs

    The IRS works with other government agencies to detect, investigate, and prosecute tax fraud – and in most cases, offenders are punished harshly. The civil fraud penalty is 75% of the underpayment in question, while criminal penalties for tax fraud can include substantial additional fines and restitution. Prison time, supervised release, and in some cases, professional sanctions are also potential outcomes of an IRS fraud case.

    If you are dealing with criminal tax allegations, you need to discuss the situation confidentially with an experienced, proven Orange County tax evasion attorney as soon as possible. The tax defense lawyers and CPAs at the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing are available to help 24 hours a day. Contact us online to arrange a consultation, call our main office at (800) 681-1295, or call our Orange County tax office in Irvine at (949) 681-3502.

    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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    Representing Clients from U.S. and International Locations Regarding Federal and California Tax Issues

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    Main Office

    Orange County
    2601 Main St. Penthouse Suite
    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.

    Satellite Offices

    (310) 492-5583
    (760) 338-7035
    (916) 290-6625
    (415) 287-6568
    (909) 991-7557
    (619) 780-2538
    (661) 432-1480
    (818) 935-6098
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    (510) 764-1020
    (408) 643-0573
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    New Mexico
    (505) 206-5308
    New York
    (332) 224-8515
    (512) 828-6646
    Washington, DC
    (202) 918-9329
    (702) 997-6465
    (786) 999-8406
    (385) 501-5934