Known as special agents, IRS criminal tax investigators may be very cordial if they contact you. However, if you have received a federal grand jury subpoena, an initial visit or a phone call (but be alert to the possibility of scams from those falsely stating they are from the IRS or the Department of Justice and/or that you face imminent arrest), it is highly recommended you respond just as cordially and say that you'd like to talk with a lawyer before stating anything of substance. Under the circumstances, there are no "routine questions". You should be given a reasonable period of time to get back to the agents while you seek legal assistance.
In most instances, this request will be professionally honored and a business card will be presented with the agent's contact information on it. In the very rare instances where such a request is met with resistance or hostility, it is your constitutional right, it should serve as even greater incentive to insist on a chance to consult with an experienced tax controversy defense attorney before discussing the matter in any way with the agents.
Contacted By The IRS? Protect Yourself Immediately.
If you find yourself in this situation, turn to experienced attorney Michael S. Adelman. Having handled cases on both sides of IRS matters, he provides exceptional insight into these matters. Mr. Adelman was an IRS senior trial attorney in Philadelphia, concentrating in joint (civil and criminal) tax investigations for 16 years. He also has over 30 subsequent years as a tax controversy defense attorney serving the Philadelphia/New Jersey region. In many IRS criminal investigations, a person's efforts to cooperate (if made before speaking to an attorney) have the concurrent, unintended (and uninformed) effect of handing these skilled investigators information that would never have been obtained through other means.
No Advance Notice?
Occasionally, multiple federal agents may appear at your place of business or home without notice, serving and executing a search warrant. In most instances, while several agents are seizing computers, documents and related information covered by the warrant — be certain to obtain a copy of it — others may try to interview those present. Again, it is strongly suggested nothing of substance be discussed with the agents until a detailed confidential meeting is held with an experienced criminal tax/federal grand jury defense attorney of your choosing, even with the "shock and awe" of agents taking out files and records while other agents try to ask you questions, possibly leading to unwitting self-incrimination, even if you are just trying to explain (or rightly or wrongly deny anything).
- Almost always, IRS agents will make their initial contact without notice and in pairs. It is understandable you would not want to appear uncooperative or guilty —whether or not you may in fact have criminal tax or related exposure—but realize that in your efforts to explain, you may inadvertently be incriminating yourself as to one or more elements of the possible criminal offenses.
Have A Witness Present
Make certain that at all future times you have your own witness present, ideally an experienced criminal tax defense attorney. Not only will your options, exposure (if any) and presentation be carefully evaluated and discussed with you, but any future statements made to the special agents will be monitored for precision and accuracy, not only by government investigators taking notes, but by someone fully experienced to protect and advance your interests. There is a lot at stake regarding the outcome and direction of these criminal tax inquiries, quite possibly your very freedom.
- It is not a "fair fight." The scales are further tipped if you are inclined to speak immediately to criminal investigators. No matter how objective and professional (as they are in virtually every IRS criminal tax case) they may be, the agents have a clear agenda, which is very unlikely to coincide with yours.
- Most professional special agents understand fully, no matter how suspicious they may be at the time of first contact, that you have rights in criminal tax investigations. They have a sworn obligation to work within the law in any way to obtain crucial information helpful to their case, including information willingly supplied by target(s) or subject(s) of their inquiries.
- But you, too, have rights. Far more than the agents do initially, you know if there is or might be criminal tax exposure (including omitted income, overstated expenses, failure to file one or more tax returns, false verbal or written statements and documents, being paid or paying other(s) "off the books" or under the table, being part of a conspiracy with others to evade taxes, being a tax return preparer who has in fact prepared false, materially inaccurate tax returns for others, etc.)
- At some point — in fact, in many cases — after consulting with a criminal tax defense attorney, it may be decided it is in your best interests to make full, candid disclosure to the government agents and/or federal prosecutors (Assistant U.S. Attorneys).
- But that point is rarely, if ever, when first approached by IRS agents
Whether or not you have already been contacted by IRS special agents or served with a federal grand jury subpoena or search warrant, immediately contact Mr. Adelman via email or by phone at 856-330-4035 to arrange a crucial initial background consultation (by phone or in person) so the appropriate strategy can be explained and implemented. Rates and all legal fee requirements that may become necessary are highly competitive given his decades-long background and experience.
In some, but not all, cases flat fees may become appropriate, and at some point too (the rarely initially) a good faith estimate of total legal fees can be provided.