You need to know who the client is. If a husband and wife make the initial contact with the attorney, the attorney needs to determine if representation is for the husband and/or the wife. If for both, there should be an appropriate waiver of conflicts signed. Further, there should be consideration as to whether or not that same lawyer or law firm can represent both parties in the event the matter moves to criminal prosecution, which often occurs. The attorney should consider whether or not one party can be represented, or whether the attorney should not proceed to represent either depending on facts and circumstances, the status of the investigation and where matters may be headed.
Informants and wearing a wire.
If there are more than one persons involved with the client regarding initial contact, consideration should be given whether or not any of the other are or could be informants or wearing a wire. The attorney should approach each case with this possibility in mind as it may impact what is being said at any meeting with the attorney.
Truthfulness of the client at the initial meeting with the client.
Taxpayers involved in criminal tax investigations are not always completely truthful. Sometimes they cannot remember, sometimes they are confused, sometimes they do not keep their facts straight, sometimes there is selective memory loss, sometimes relevant information is intentionally or unintentionally held back and sometimes clients attempt to deceive or not tell the whole story or misrepresent facts and circumstances. This is important because if an attorney assumes the above does not occur, the attorney can do a disservice to the client and could make matters worse for the client. Therefore, in any criminal tax investigation, regardless of what the attorney asks, and what the client represents, the attorney should keep the above in mind in terms of the handling of the investigation and any contacts with the Internal Revenue Service or contacts with any state taxing agency.
Engagement letter and written contract.
There should be an (A) engagement letter and (B) separate written contract with each representation of each client in a criminal investigation case. The written contract should clearly identify the scope of the representation individually, what is or is not being included, and circumstances in regard to which an attorney can withdraw and terms and conditions of fee arrangements. The engagement letter should be comprehensive based on what the client told the attorney. Further, at some point the initial engagement letter should be approved and initialed by the client because that letter forms a basis for the attorney proceeding with rendering legal services and the engagement letter can identify facts, agreed to by the client, in regard to what the client told the attorney, and with respect to which the attorney relied in moving forward with the engagement.
The initial contact by the attorney with the Special Agent from the Internal Revenue Service should
The initial written contact with the Internal Revenue Service affords the Special Agent from the Internal Revenue Service an opportunity to be advised as to representation by counsel and can inform the Special Agent not to have any further client contacts with the taxpayer, since the taxpayer is being represented.
Contacts of the Internal Revenue Service with the taxpayer before engaging the attorney.
In many situations there will be an initial contact made by a Special Agent with the target, the taxpayer, prior to the taxpayer seeking representation of an attorney. In regard to those contacts, to the extent the attorney can, the attorney should attempt to find out from the client exactly what was said, what questions were asked and what answers were given, so the attorney is completely advised moving forward with the engagement.
Setting an initial meeting of the attorney and the Special Agent of the Internal Revenue Service.
After an initial correspondence to the Special Agent of the Internal Revenue Service, a meeting can be set. The attorney should not have the target, the taxpayer, at the meeting. The meeting should not be to divulge any relevant information by the attorney to the Internal Revenue Service but to attempt to find out from the Internal Revenue Service the status of matters, why is the taxpayer the target, the breadth or scope of the investigation, statutes that have been claimed to have been violated, the nature and extent of the investigation to date, witnesses that may be involved, potential other targets depending on how the investigation proceeds, and very importantly, in regard to any contacts that the Special Agent may have had with the taxpayer prior to engaging the attorney to attempt to determine, from the Internal Revenue Service’s perspective, as to what they asked the client and the responses of the client in regard to questions posed by the Special Agent.
An objective of the Internal Revenue Service in regard to initial stages of a criminal tax investiga
The objective of the Special Agent of the Internal Revenue Service is usually to follow its mandate in attempting to obtain relevant facts to determine whether or not there has been any criminal tax violations and whether or not to proceed with indictment and/or prosecution. In the course of the investigation, the Special Agent will be attempting to assemble a quality referral for prosecution. That does not mean the Internal Revenue Service wishes to criminally prosecute all targets. However, the Internal Revenue Service attempts to investigate relevant facts, obtain information through third party summonses, conduct interviews with third parties as the Special Agent deems appropriate and possibly coordinate with other agencies in regard to the investigation.
Goal of the attorney at the initial stages of a criminal tax investigation.
The attorney, in representing the taxpayer, legally and ethically, is attempting to provide representation in a manner consistent with the Internal Revenue Service not being able to move forward with an indictment and/or prosecution because it believes it may not be able to assemble a quality case for referral for prosecution. The attorney needs to be truthful in responding to any questions of the Special Agent. The attorney should not be reluctant to raise attorney-client privilege and does not have to respond to all questions posed by the Internal Revenue Service. However, if the attorney does respond, accuracy in regard to any response is crucial since the Special Agent will not forget the response and the attorney should anticipate that the Special Agent will make notes in regard to any response of the attorney.
Producing the client to give a statement.
The attorney should never produce the target of a criminal investigation to give a statement to the Internal Revenue Service at the early stages of a criminal tax investigation. In fact, a successful representation in regard to the early stages of a criminal tax investigation may evolve in the taxpayer never giving a statement to the Internal Revenue Service. Taxpayers sometimes think they can talk their way out of a criminal tax investigation. This is never the case. The Internal Revenue Service may never divulge everything it knows. It is not required to. With respect to any contacts, meetings or communications the Special Agent has with the attorney for the taxpayer, the attorney should consider what is being said by the Special Agent and the possibility that even though statements of the Special Agent may be true, that may not be the entire story and there may be more relevant information that is not being disclosed by the Special Agent at the early stages of a criminal tax investigation.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on
their profile in addition to the information we collect from state
bar associations and other organizations that license legal
professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo
with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do
What determines Avvo Rating?
Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, education
Legal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Legal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagements
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in .
Disciplinary information may not be comprehensive, or updated. We recommend that you always check a lawyer's disciplinary status with their respective state bar association before hiring them.