Return Preparer and Criminal Tax Defense/Representation
565 West Adams Street, Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60661
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The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law


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Chicago Criminal Tax Defense Lawyers

Chicago criminal tax defense lawyer

Representing Clients in Return Preparer Liability and Tax Fraud Cases

When a taxpayer files a false return with the Internal Revenue Service, it can turn into a very serious matter. Depending on what the IRS discovers during its investigation, the case can result in criminal charges. Criminal tax fraud cases can be brought when the IRS believes that the taxpayer and/or their return preparer willfully intended to provide misleading information on the return for the purpose of evading a tax. If convicted of this tax controversy, an individual can face fines of up to $100,000 and up to five years in prison along with being responsible for the costs of prosecuting the case.

If you are facing criminal charges related to alleged tax fraud, it is critical that you contact a qualified criminal tax defense attorney with in-depth knowledge of the Internal Revenue Code and IRS investigations. At the Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, we are headed by Professor Jonathan Decatorsmith, a Chicago tax lawyer with 11 years of experience working for the IRS. Professor Decatorsmith's years of government experience handling criminal tax cases makes him especially knowledgeable in the areas of white collar and financial crimes, and he is frequently sought out for his expertise in cases involving criminal fraud, return preparer liability, income reconstructions and international money transfers.

Return Preparer Liability

When a CPA or unlicensed tax preparer is suspected with knowingly falsifying a client's return, they may be subject to either civil or criminal charges from the IRS. Penalties start at $250 per occurrence and the return preparer is reported to the IRS Office of Personal Responsibility (OPR). Being reported to the OPR can result in the preparer being censured, suspended or even disbarred. The resulting effect of an OPR report can seriously jeopardize the preparer's career. For this reason, the moment a return preparer becomes aware of an IRS investigation, they should immediately seek qualified legal guidance.

Income Reconstructions

The Internal Revenue Code and the courts give the IRS authority to reconstruct income if it suspects that the taxpayer's return understated incoming was fraudulent, or when no return was filed at all. This can result in the filing of either civil or criminal charges, depending on if the IRS believes the underreporting of the tax was willful. If the IRS follows the proper procedures in performing the income reconstruction, the derived tax liability is presumed to be correct and the taxpayer must prove otherwise. One of the most effective defenses the taxpayer can use is to challenge the reconstruction method used by the IRS. There is no need to prove the correct tax owed, but only that the method used by the IRS in arriving at their figures was erroneous, arbitrary or capricious. This is often accomplished by showing that some of the sources used for the reconstructed income were non-taxable; such as asset sales without a capital gain, inheritance and gifts received.

Being charged with criminal tax fraud can turn your life upside down. But whatever the circumstance in your individual case, Attorney Decatorsmith can help develop the best strategy to reach a positive outcome so you can put this tax controversy behind you and move on with your life. Contact our office today at 312-906-5041 for your free consultation. Our practice provides affordable representation for clients facing IRS tax issues, commercial disputes, and probate/estate planning needs.

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