Criminal Tax Defense

The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the IRS pursues cases where serious criminal behavior is suspected. These matters are serious and should never be handled without professional representation. Our lawyers know how to handle the IRS and can help with your criminal tax defense cases. Learn more about our criminal tax defense services below.


Become too daring and the IRS will be over before you know it

The IRS will gladly use scare-mongering to submit regular taxpayers into compliance. And while a majority of tax infractions are described as crime, criminal investigations are reserved only for the worst offenders.

Tax fraud is a broad term, describing any willful forgery of official records and documents in an effort to defraud the IRS and avoid paying your taxes.

This includes:

  • Keeping two sets of books
  • Altering checks to increase deductions
  • False receipts
  • Claiming exemptions for dependents which do not exist or have passed away
  • Underreporting of income

Small infractions often get the benefit of the doubt, meaning the tax auditor will adjust the examination report to discount them and perhaps add a small fine – around 20% over owed taxes.

Obvious fraud cases get slapped with a civil penalty up to 75% over the tax originally owed with interest being added to the whole sum.

Usually, tax auditors are trained to look for and spot these issues and refer you up to the CID. In reality, only the most unscrupulous cases, where tens of thousands of dollars are involved, reach the Criminal Investigation Division. If a tax auditor suspects an outrageous criminal operation, they will refer you up to the CID.


The Criminal Investigation Division is a unit of 4,500 IRS employees. Consider them as the police department of the IRS. CID special agents are highly trained by the IRS and FBI. They are real-world detectives with badges and guns.

If a tax auditor or an informant refers your case to the CID with a fine sample of dirt attached, you can bet a pair of special agents will find their way to your doorstep.

Special agents are skilled interrogators. A few innocent background questions will quickly grow into a whole barrage forcing you to either tell them everything or lie blatantly. Neither will help your case and, in fact, every word you say will be digging your grave a little deeper.

So, if it comes to this point, the best thing to do is avoid the encounter. You should not try to defend yourself or reason with the agents. Just tell them you will get back to them and call your lawyer immediately. The special agents will go about their business either way. They have access to unprecedented resources and will dig up more details than you can imagine.


Upon conclusion of their investigation, CID will likely refer you back to a tax auditor, who will impose a 75% tax penalty.

If the special agents have uncovered enough evidence, they can contact the Department of Justice and recommend prosecution. If the case goes through, defendants face up to $25,000 and 1 year of jail time for every year they failed to submit a tax return.

Other possible penalties and prison sentences include:

  • Filing late tax returns – civil penalty up to 25% of owed taxes.
  • Errors and discrepancies in tax returns – civil penalty up to 20% of owed taxes.
  • Intentional tax evasion and fraud – civil penalty of 75% of owed taxes.
  • Failure to file your tax returns AT ALL – 1 year in prison and a fine of $25,000 for each year you didn’t file a tax return.
  • Filing a false tax return – felony conviction with up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Lying to an IRS employee – up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Criminal conviction of tax evasion and fraud – up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

The reality is the IRS rarely sends people to prison. Less than 2% of fraud cases are prosecuted in court. The prison system is already overcrowded and the IRS is much more interested in recovering lost revenue.

Whichever way it goes, the consequences will be devastating. To prevent that from happening, you need to keep your mouth closed and contact the best tax crime attorney you can find.

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