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Important considerations in tax fraud cases

As Labor Day approaches, people throughout Pennsylvania are anticipating the return of football season. Whether your preference is pro football or college football, there will plenty of money made between now and end of the year. When tax time returns in 2014, the IRS will undoubtedly be looking for those who have misrepresented their income on tax returns. 

Tax fraud can lead to serious (and expensive fines) and even jail time. It can cripple otherwise profitable businesses and even lead to bankruptcy. However, those who are accused of tax crimes are entitled to defenses just like other people accused of white collar crimes.  This post provides a few important pointers for those who may find themselves being investigated for fraud.

Hire competent counsel as soon as possible - It is critical to have a criminal defense attorney well versed in tax matters if you are being investigated for a crime. It may be a natural inclination to hire a criminal generalist or an accountant, but there is trouble with both hires. A generalist may not know the intracacies and nuances of federal court, and an accountant does not qualify for attorney-client privilege.

Don't talk to federal agents - Most people think they can talk themselves out of trouble and do not want to bring about suspicion, so they volunteer information that turns out hurt their legal position. Indeed, you don't want to ignore federal agents, but conversations with them are better left to experienced counsel.

Don't panic -  Ultimately, tax fraud is a specific intent crime, which means that the government has to prove that a taxpayer intentionally misrepresented their income on tax returns.

Source: Forbes, Fraudulent tax returns?, August 17, 2013

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