I hear that all the time. When April 15, 2016 rolls around this week, thousands of taxpayers will simply not file. Many do not have the money to send in and panic. They know that if they file and don’t send in enough money, the IRS will months from now be on their doorstep or at their bank seizing their account. Most of these people are self-employed and either did not send in estimated payments or simply ran out of money. In tough economic times it is easy to fall behind in tax payments. Not having money is not a crime.
Not filing a return when you are supposed to, is a crime.
Many people have not filed in years.
They are afraid that if they start filing again it will trigger an investigation.
Procrastination can turn into a criminal offense.
As a defense attorney handling criminal tax matters, I have helped people get back into the system and in compliance with the tax laws. If you have been contacted by the IRS, particularly a special agent with the Criminal Investigation division, say nothing until you have talked to a tax lawyer that handles criminal tax cases. The IRS makes an example of the few people they catch. They do this to intimidate the balance of the taxpayers into compliance. We have a voluntary tax system where the U. S. Treasury relies on people declaring what they owe and paying it. To keep the honest people honest, they persecute the few they catch as an example to others. Many years ago, I was a criminal investigator with the IRS. I also prosecuted Criminal tax cases in United States District Court. Now for thirty years I have been defending people charged with failure to file, tax evasion and making false statements. Most of these people are good law abiding citizens who got in a pinch and because they did not have the money slipped up and missed a filing deadline.
My goal as a criminal tax lawyer is to keep people out of prison, get their back taxes paid if possible and get them back into compliance with the tax code. I personally think that a flat tax is the answer. The corporations do not pay their fair share. We desperately need tax reform. The tax code is incredibly complex. The average citizen cannot file their own tax return without making a mistake. The forms are impossible to understand and unless you have a computer program, filing a correct return is impossible. Doing a simple tax return is more complex and harder that a college math test.
I have represented professionals like doctors, lawyers, public officials, financial advisors where their license to practice is at stake. Professionals have special needs.