In 2015, the Internal Revenue Service conducted 1729 tax investigations which resulted in 1666 indictments and 1664 sentencings. That means that there were only two cases that were not sentenced that year. One of the two cases not convicted was the US v. Matteson, a case tried by Minns & Arnett.
https://www.irs.gov/compliance/criminal-investigation/enforcement-statistics-criminal-investigation-ci-enforcement-strategy. The IRS has an extremely high conviction rate. Hiring the right criminal tax defense attorney at the onset of the investigation will make the difference between a Not Guilty and a Guilty. In fact, if done at the onset an indictment is often avoidable.
The US Department of Justice Tax Division oversees all federal criminal tax investigations and/or prosecutions of certain criminal tax cases. DOJ Tax has the authority to authorize or decline prosecution. The IRS Special Agent is the investigative officer for the IRS. As soon as you are aware that you are being investigated criminally or even suspect you are being examined is it essential to hire a competent, experienced tax fraud defense attorney. Some indications that the IRS is investigating you: contact by a Special Agent, or the Special Agent has contacted business associates and relatives.
The Special Agent generally initiates an investigation as a result of one of the following:
- Fraud referral from other IRS departments
- Fraud referral from other government departments
- Information provided by private parties (whistleblowers, participants in Offshore Voluntary Disclosure, or even unhappy soon to be ex-spouses)
- Matters or projects developed within Criminal Investigation
- Bank filing suspicious activity reports
Types of Criminal Tax Cases include all violations of the criminal statutes under Title 26, as well as other federal criminal violations whose underlying purpose was the circumvention of the Internal Revenue laws. Common charges include:
Willful attempt to evade or defeat a tax assessment or its payment (26 U.S.C. § 7201).
Failure to File Tax Returns/Failure to Pay
Failure to pay taxes, file a return, keep records, or supply information (26 U.S.C. § 7203).
Falsifying Tax Returns
This is often a misdemeanor version of the above-described felony for tax evasion (26 U.S.C. § 7207).
Felony for two or more people conspiring to commit a tax offense or to defraud the IRS (18 U.S.C. § 371).
Obstruction of Justice
Attempting to interfere with the administration of Internal Revenue Laws or federal agents acting under the Tax Code (26 U.S.C. § 7212 and 18 U.S.C. § 1503).
Making False or Fraudulent Statements
Applies to any person who willfully makes and subscribes any return, statement, or other document, which contains or is verified by a written declaration that it is made under the penalties of perjury, and which he or she does not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter (26 U.S. C. § 7206).
Financial transaction with sole or principal purpose of violating laws, including tax evasion or the making of false statements to the IRS (18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(ii)).
If you are a suspect in one of the above-named offenses you will either be:
- Represented by a law firm that has actually won a case in each category
- Represented by a law firm that has not won a case in all categories, but at least a few
- Represented by a law firm that has never won a trial in any of the categories
- Represented by a law firm that has never won a trial but has the courage to attempt to win
- Either not represented at all, or represented by a firm that is pretending to have trial experience (which is often the same)
- Represented by a law firm that has won cases only as a prosecutor but not as a defense attorney
It is foolish not to do a minimal due diligence and discover which category your firm fits in.
Minns & Arnett also represents clients with previously undisclosed offshore bank accounts and undisclosed interest in foreign corporations, who make voluntary disclosure as well as those facing sanctions for failing to file FinCEN Form 114 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) and failing to file IRS form 5471 Information Return of US Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations.
Any US person that has a financial interest in or signature authority over foreign financial accounts must file an FBAR if the aggregate value of the foreign financial account exceeds $10,000.00 at any time during the calendar year. Certain US person that have stock in foreign corporations are required to file Form 5471.
The IRS has increased its investigation into cryptocurrency. In 2016, the IRS issued a “John Doe” subpoena on Coinbase. The John Doe subpoena requested all identities of US customers from 2013-2015. Some Coinbase users filed a Motion to Quash the subpoena. In response to the Motion to Quash and to ensure that the Court did not grant the Motion the IRS narrowed the request to Coinbase users that bought, sold or exchanged cryptocurrencies over $20,000.00. The Court denied Coinbase users Motion to Quash. With the Court’s ruling IRS received the name, taxpayer ID number, transaction log and all invoice reports for US customers who bought, sold, or exchanged Bitcoin more than $20,000 for 2013, 2014 and 2015. The IRS is just getting started in their investigation of Cryptocurrency. The first subpoena only sought information on Bitcoin. The IRS can expand the investigation for other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and others. If you have not fully reported your income from cryptocurrencies, you need a competent tax fraud defense attorney.
To provide clients with the most solid defense strategy possible, Minns & Arnett limits itself to representing only ten criminal tax cases at any given time. Unlike other firms, Minns & Arnett will never pressure an innocent client into accepting a plea agreement.