Tax laws are complex, and sometimes, as an individual, you may be violating the law without knowing.
This complex law becomes more complicated if you own a business. Now you have yourself to protect against the law and also your business.
What is Tax Fraud?
Tax fraud is an act whereby the accused employs specific methodologies, such as intentionally filling incorrect information on their tax returns to avoid payment.
This may include running a business with illegal revenue streams, hiding assets, tampering with invoices and other business records to prevent IRS from ascertaining correct tax returns and failing to file authentic tax returns for multiple years.
If you have received a visit from an IRS agent or found a letter announcing the violation in your mail but wondering what next to do, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) reported that more than half of tax fraud offenders were punished with a prison sentence.
Another intriguing thing is that most of these tax fraud offenders had no criminal history.
Hiring a competent defense lawyer for your tax fraud case is advisable.
Here are things to consider when hiring one;
Location & Availability
Location is essential when considering a lawyer’s service, even if not for a tax fraud case. According to the Law Office of Scott C. Thomas, a team with an experienced Criminal defense lawyer Near Orange County California, your attorney needs to be licensed in your area to represent you.
Also, schedule an appointment with the law firm of your choice. Examine their communication promptness and possible availability.
During the meeting, evaluate the lawyer(s) assigned to your case. You must be able to trust your attorney. If you feel uncomfortable discussing your issue with the lawyer, request another counsel or take your business elsewhere.
Whenever the IRS contacts you to inform you of your violations, only speak with a lawyer as your conversation is protected by the attorney-client privilege. You do not know who is for or against you.
Make sure your case is handled by a lawyer who specializes in criminal tax fraud defense. Not all attorneys possess the same skill set. An efficient defense strategy comes with experience.
When hiring a defense attorney for your case, request for the outcome of their past cases. This will help you predict the fate of your case.
Do not hesitate to discuss the outcome you expect from the case. An experienced attorney will be able to tell you if this is possible. Sometimes, you might be offered a suitable alternative.
Informing of your desired outcome will help the lawyer to know how to prepare.
Costs of hiring
Hiring a top criminal lawyer can be expensive. Requesting the billing practice of the firm you are considering and their payment options is crucial.
When deciding which defense lawyer to choose, have a shortlist of about five reputable ones so you can go for the next if the top on the list is unaffordable.
Meanwhile, they all may offer the same level of service but charge differently. Comparing prices could help you choose the best and most affordable among them.
Another critical thing to note is that, some firms might have hidden charges that is not disclosed at the start of your negotiation. Be sure to ask full breakdown of their costs and the best payment options for your budget.
Preparation for a tax fraud defense requires collective effort of more than a criminal defense lawyer. Hiring an attorney from a firm with numerous competent lawyers is like getting the price of many for one.
Assess the case records of the firm you are considering. You are not guilty of a tax fraud offence until a verdict by a judge.
A competent tax lawyer will explore all strategies to prove your innocence. The IRS must ascertain a tax fraud before prosecuting an alleged offender.
Their evidence is usually through an audit or information provided by a whistleblower, such as a disgruntled ex-employee or estranged spouse.
A law firm with a team of investigators can help uncover the whistleblower providing information to the IRS and therefore help you prepare a better defense.
It is very easy to know how past law firm clients feel after their case by checking the website of the law firm you are considering to read what their clients are saying about them.
A simple Google search of the firm’s name could also return information they might be hiding, such as a dissatisfied client experience published on a blog.
If none of this is available, ask the law firm to give you contacts of some of their previous clients to ask about their experience.
This should not be a problem if the firm is confident of its delivery.
You may be interested in: Why You Need To Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney