Persons who have no criminal history and who would seem to be unlikely candidates for criminal accusations sometimes unexpectedly find themselves sitting across the desk from a Special Agent, Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Internal Revenue Service. The Special Agent arrives with no warning.
In fact, according to CID statistics released recently, 5,314 cases were initiated in 2013 alone. CID recommended 4,364 cases for prosecution during the same year. IRS claims a conviction rate of 93 percent on criminal cases during 2013. Of course, guilty pleas are considered convictions for statistical purposes.
“Our cases involved individuals and corporations from all segments of society,” Richard Weber, Chief of Criminal Investigation, said in the report. “They led us into corporate board rooms, offices of public officials, tax preparation businesses, identity theft and narcotics trafficking organizations.”
So what does one do if a CID Special Agent shows up at your home or office, flashes a badge and states he wishes to ask you a few questions? You should politely, but firmly, decline to answer any questions. This is your right as guaranteed by the Constitution, and is assuredly in your best interest.
As one who has represented a number of CID “targets,” I can unequivocally tell you that many are the persons who thought they could talk their way out of this unpleasant situation, but instead created lengthy and expensive investigations. This is true even if prospective defendants are totally innocent. The initial interview of the taxpayer target is frequently the most important step in the investigation for CID. Accordingly, it is imperative that the target not answer any questions and proceed to engage an attorney who is experienced in criminal tax matters. The attorney will be in a much better position to evaluate defenses and determine what, if any, information should be shared with CID.