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What to Do If You Are Charged With Tax Evasion

What is Tax Evasion?

“Tax evasion” as it is generally called, is prosecuted in federal court as a felony offense that is either actually evasion of the payment of federal taxes, or the failure to file a federal income tax return. Charges sought by the U.S. Attorney that are prosecuted in federal court are often: 1) Tax Evasion; 2) Filing a False Tax Return; 3) Failure to File a Tax Return; 4) Conspiracy to File False Tax Returns; and/or 5) Money Laundering.

Difference Between Tax Evasion and Owing Money

The government has to prove willful intent to evade taxes, and such a case is targeted and prosecuted not just because the Internal Revenue Service determines that a person owes more money in taxes than claimed. The evidence would have to prove that there is a large amount of income that the person did not report for tax purposes and/or there is a pattern of continued non-reporting a percentage of income that is more than small amounts.


These investigations are time consuming and take months or years to complete. Tax evasion and related investigations are conducted by federal agents of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division. These cases are investigated and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, that is, the federal prosecutor’s office. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division may also be involved in the prosecution of some criminal tax cases.

What to Do If You Are Investigated for Tax Crimes

An experienced federal defense attorney who has defended many of the U.S. Attorney’s / Department of Justice’s tax prosecutions will be able to determine the government’s theory of prosecution. The experienced federal defense attorney can learn of the government’s evidence before you are formally charged. This is the preferred strategy, that is, to digest the government’s evidence against you so you can provide favorable evidence of which the government may not be aware. Providing evidence in your favor will show good faith to continue to keep formal charges off of you, while you are working to try to convince the federal prosecutor and agents that you should not be prosecuted.

Pro-Active Defense

You want to try to present evidence in your favor to the U.S. Attorney or the U.S. Department of Justice attorneys in order to try to prevent prosecution, and to lessen any charges. If the prosecution lessens charges but wants to proceed, your attorney can continue to try to have the investigation and case closed without criminal action against you. Contact former federal prosecutor John Teakell, who can determine the best approach with the government for your case.

Forfeiture of Property or Money

Tax evasion or tax fraud charges sometime contain forfeiture provisions, as do Indictments for other cases in federal court. A forfeiture provision provides that an order of forfeiture is granted if the defendant(s) are found guilty of the charges, thereby giving the U.S. Attorney’s Office or the U.S. Department of Justice the ability to seize and forfeit property that was purchased, or partially purchased, with illegally obtained monies. An experienced federal attorney can use this issue to help negotiate a favorable outcome.

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