Maintaining an attorney-client privilege can often be vital in protecting clients and their interests in difficult tax situations. Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents have a limited privilege with clients under U.S. law, but this only extends to civil tax proceedings – meaning communications with an accountant would not be protected in a potential criminal tax matter.
At the law offices of Daniel Rosefelt & Associates, our professional dual licensed tax attorney and CPA has experience you can trust and the legal authority to maintain confidentiality in both civil and criminal tax matters. Your communications with our team of legal professionals falls within attorney-client privilege, which protects clients and gives them peace of mind.
Attorney-Client Privilege in Civil and Criminal Tax Proceedings
In cases involving unfiled taxes, missing years of tax returns, under-reported income, over stated deductions, unreported offshore accounts or fraudulent returns, you may be facing serious penalties and interest charges, along with civil or criminal charges of tax fraud or evasion. Under Section 22.214.171.124.2 of the IRS Fraud Handbook, the difference between the types of charges depends on the following:
- In civil tax matters, the IRS is required to prove fraud through clear and convincing evidence;
- In criminal tax matters, the IRS is required to show enough evidence to indicate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In defending against civil and criminal charges, the communications between attorneys and their clients are privileged and remain confidential. IRS guidelines outlined in Section 7525 of the United States Code grant tax advisors and accountants this same privilege, but it extends only to civil tax matters. As civil tax investigations often run parallel to criminal cases, any information provided to the CPA, Enrolled Agent , accountant or tax advisor could end up being used against them.
IRS Criminal Tax Charges
Under IRS guidelines, civil charges of tax fraud or evasion result in penalties designed to rectify the situation. These generally include interest and penalties on the total amount owed which, if not dealt with promptly, could result in tax liens and levies of your bank accounts or other assets.
Criminal tax charges are taken as a punitive step, meant to punish tax payers and deter others. In addition to interest and penalties on past due amounts owed, you may also end up facing heavy fines, probation or a potential jail sentence. Under the IRS Tax Crimes Handbook, criminal charges may include:
- Tax evasion;
- Failure to file a return;
- Fraud and false statements;
- Withholding violations;
- Willful failure to collect or pay taxes;
- Misleading an IRS Revenue Officer or Revenue Agent;
- Fraudulent returns, statements, and other documents.
How Our Professional Tax Attorney Can Help
If you are facing civil or potential criminal charges from the IRS, contact Daniel Rosefelt & Associates right away. Our team of experienced tax professionals, including our principal attorney, dual licensed as a tax attorney and a CPA, can assist you in strategizing a strong course of defense, while ensuring all of your communications are kept confidential. Our office serves Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Florida and clients throughout the nation. Call or contact our office online today to request a confidential case consultation.