IRS Criminal Investigation Process: How Do I Protect Myself?

How You Can Protect Yourself during the IRS Criminal Investigation Process and Avoid Jail, Fines, and Penalties.

The knock on the door. The two men with bad suits and badges. You open the door. They give you a card and say “you are under IRS criminal investigation.” Maybe they read you your rights; maybe they don’t. During an IRS criminal investigation process, the IRS does not consider itself required to give you a warning of the existence of criminal tax investigation, and when they do so, they do so to rattle you, to try to get you to talk, to try to induce you into a mistake.

The IRS does have to give a special warning before seeking information from you because the federal courts have required it. As one federal court declared, “a taxpayer ought not be confronted with a civilian Trojan horse bearing criminal investigators,” so some warning must be given to protect your rights in the criminal investigation process. This stems from your right to due process in the process of any criminal investigation. As Justice Frankfurter explained for the United States Supreme Court: “A democratic society, in which respect for the dignity of all men is central, naturally guards against the misuse of the law enforcement process.”

The IRS criminal investigation agents then usually give you a warning of your rights in this manner: “As a Special Agent, one of my functions is to investigate the possibility of criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Laws and related offenses. You don’t have to say anything, or submit anything that might tend to incriminate you, and anything you say, or any information that you submit may be used against you in any proceedings undertaken by the U.S. Government. Also, you may have an attorney present during any questioning. Do you understand that?”

Well, do you really understand that?

You’re not a lawyer; you’ve just been shocked by two strangers with guns and badges telling you they may try to put you in prison for many years, and, oh yeah, might bankrupt you and destroy your reputation in the process. You’re not a career criminal; you’re not used to IRS criminal investigation agents showing up at your door with such scary news of such drastic life-changing consequences. Remember, your enemy is not just wrong-headed IRS criminal investigation agents who put at least 1 innocent person under investigation every day, but the fear the IRS criminal investigation process can induce. A few guideposts:

1Say nothing. Anything you say bad will be used against you; anything you say good won’t be considered “evidence” at a trial and will be ignored by the IRS criminal investigation agent who assumes you are guilty no matter what you say. Avoiding taxes is not a crime, regardless of what the IRS thinks. Only fraud and bad faith conduct is treated as a possible federal crime, like tax evasion, a false tax return, or tax fraud.

2Find a good IRS criminal investigation lawyer to help you. Remember there are many kinds of criminal defense and defense lawyers who deal with others kinds of federal charges. Look for someone who has helped other people like you under IRS criminal investigation, someone whom the IRS will have to respect from beating the IRS before, and someone who is honest with you without scaring you too much or sugarcoating anything either.

3Learn the IRS criminal investigation process. Understand how the IRS criminal investigation process works; learn about IRS special agents, their backgrounds, their histories, their internal rules, their prior cases, and their mentality. Learn about IRS supervisory special agents, IRS special agents in charge, IRS CT counsel, IRS district counsel, the grand jury, how, who and when they choose or try to indict and what stops them, as well as learn about the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, the local United States Attorney, and summonses, and subpoenas, and search warrants, and seizures, as much of the rules and rights as you can understand, so the process can be easier and more understood.

4Don’t let the delay in time bother you. An IRS criminal investigation, according to Freedom of Information data, lasts at least 18 months in most cases, and up to five years in others. The longer it goes on, the more likely it is the IRS criminal investigation units will have to recognize your innocence. (It is the IRS criminal investigations of people who are guilty and where the case was easy to prove  that go faster, so faster is not often your friend.)

5Forfeit the fear. Whatever your spiritual guidance or psychological orientation, don’t let the fear of the process or the fear of what an IRS criminal investigation can feel like or threaten to hurt you take away from your freedom right now, including your freedom from fear. Fear will lead to mistakes; fear will hurt you right now. Forfeit the fear and you can seize the power to protect yourself and protect what you care about from the greedy and leery lurches of the IRS criminal investigation process.

You can protect yourself during the IRS Criminal Investigation process. How do I know?

No result can be guaranteed. What I know is this — most of my clients under an IRS criminal investigation never saw the inside of a prison and all of my clients founds ways to protect what mattered most without the IRS criminal investigation being able to inflict life-crushing consequences on them.  You can protect yourself from an IRS criminal investigation and make that knock on the door go away forever.

Call (213) 330-3341 to speak with Robert Barnes or request a FREE copy of  

The IRS Criminal Investigation Process from A to Z: How to Overcome the IRS By Asserting Your Civil Rights.

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