Most people find the IRS intimidating. No one wants to owe the agency and many people cringe at the word “audit.” For many Missouri residents, getting a notice in the mail of an IRS audit would be the worst thing that could happen to them.
However, those people may not be under investigation by the IRS for criminal activity. It may have come as a surprise to you to find out that the IRS conducts this type of investigation. It conducts investigations into alleged violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, the Internal Revenue Code and statutes relating to money laundering.
The “primary investigation”
After either discovering suspicious activity or receiving information from another source, special agents take on the task of reviewing all of the relevant information. Once a supervisor reviews the agents’ analysis, he or she either approves further investigation or discontinues the inquiry. Thereafter, agents must receive a final approval to conduct further inquiries from the special agent in charge.
Throughout this process, agents work with IRS Chief Counsel Criminal Tax Attorneys who monitor the investigation to ensure it complies with all legalities.
The prosecution recommendation
If the investigating agents, their supervisor and the special agent in charge all believe that enough evidence exists to substantiate a criminal prosecution, the investigator prepares a written report. That report is the reviewed by several people prior to forwarding it to the tax division of the U.S. Department of Justice for a tax matter or the U.S. Attorney’s Office for anything else. Those reviewers include the following people:
- The supervisory special agent
- The Centralized Case Review team
- A criminal investigation assistant special agent in charge
- A criminal investigation special agent in charge
From there, charges may be filed, and a prosecution may begin. By this point, numerous people have already reviewed the so-called evidence against you, including government attorneys. If you wait until this point to begin considering your defense, you could end up with serious legal problems.
The need to be proactive
From the moment you discover that the IRS suspects you of criminal activity, it may be to your benefit to discuss the matter with an attorney. Since the investigation against you originated with the nation’s taxing authority, you may want to gain a better understanding of the allegations, along with what they could mean for your future.
Having an advocate by your side who understands the tax code and the allegations you face may help you protect your rights.