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Daytona Beach Criminal Lawyers Explain How to Avoid Tax Crimes Conviction


Daytona Beach Criminal Lawyers Explain How to Avoid Tax Crimes Conviction

Paying taxes is never fun, but failing to pay the proper amount can lead to serious criminal charges. Tax crimes like tax evasion or filing a false return can result in huge fines and even jail time. If you’ve made some mistakes on your taxes, you may be worried about facing criminal prosecution. The tax crime attorneys at our law firm in Daytona Beach want you to know that in many cases, we can help you avoid conviction. Here’s some of our best advice on steering clear of tax crime charges.

Avoid “Willful” Violations of the Tax Code

Most tax crimes require prosecutors to prove you “willfully” violated the tax code. This means knowingly and intentionally breaking tax laws. If your tax mistakes were accidental errors or you had a good faith misunderstanding of confusing tax rules, we can often argue you did not act willfully. Minor footfaults like math errors are not willful violations. But purposefully failing to report income or drastically inflating deductions could show willful intent to evade taxes. Be careful taking overly aggressive tax positions without consulting a tax expert.

Respond to IRS Audits or Notices Quickly

If the IRS sends you a notice questioning items on your return, do not ignore it! Failing to respond often leads the IRS to assume the worst. Hire experienced tax audit representation right away to handle the IRS inquiry and put your best foot forward. Provide any supporting documents requested. Being non-responsive makes you appear guilty. If an error is found, work quickly to pay any additional tax owed, plus interest and penalties. This shows good faith. Taking these steps helps avoid a criminal referral to the Department of Justice.

Consider Voluntarily Disclosing Errors

If you realize you made a mistake on a past tax return, consider voluntarily disclosing it to the IRS through their Voluntary Disclosure Program. This involves filing amended returns and paying back taxes and penalties. The upside is you can often avoid criminal prosecution. To qualify, you cannot already be under IRS audit or investigation. Our tax attorneys can advise if you are a good candidate for voluntary disclosure. But don’t wait – there are strict deadlines to participate.

Never Make False Statements to the IRS

When dealing with IRS auditors or investigators, never lie or provide false documents. That itself can be considered a tax crime with up to 3 years in prison. Even stretching the truth or concealing facts during an audit can spell trouble. Be truthful about your tax situation and provide all relevant records requested. Making false statements will only increase scrutiny and raise your chance of facing criminal tax charges.

Retain Legal Counsel if Facing Criminal Tax Investigation

If auditors start asking about potential tax crimes or you get referred for criminal investigation, retain legal counsel immediately. The IRS may try to get you to self-incriminate in interviews or on sworn statements. Your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination applies. An experienced tax crime defense lawyer can handle interactions with the IRS and prosecutors to protect your rights. We may be able to negotiate a favorable resolution or win pretrial motions to get charges dismissed or reduced.

Explore Plea Bargains or Diversion Programs

If you do face tax crime charges, exploring alternatives to trial is usually wise. Many tax cases end in plea bargain agreements for a lesser charge with reduced penalties. In some cases, deferred prosecution through a diversion program may be an option to avoid conviction. This involves paying back taxes and following probation conditions. Our lawyers are experts at navigating the system to reach the best outcome possible.

Request Sentencing Leniency and Protection of Assets

If convicted of tax crimes, skilled tax defense lawyers can advocate for lenient sentencing and work to protect your assets from excessive fines, restitution, and forfeiture. We can present mitigating factors to the judge and prosecutor and negotiate favorable terms of probation. We can also argue against criminal forfeiture of property and advise on protecting assets pre-conviction through legal strategies.

Facing tax crime charges can be scary. But an experienced tax crime defense attorney can often help avoid conviction or minimize penalties. At our Daytona Beach firm, we have successfully defended accountants, business owners, executives and individuals against all types of civil and criminal IRS violations for over 25 years. If you believe you may be under investigation, contact our office for a free case evaluation and start building your defense today.


How Criminal Investigations Are Initiated

About the Tax Division

IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program

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