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Federal court

Federal courts handle crimes under federal law and crimes committed on federal land, as well as issues like bankruptcy and lawsuits against federal agencies.

Jeffery L. Weeden | Jan 10, 2020

Tax Evasion Penalties

What is the Tax Fraud Punishment for Filing a Fraudulent Return? Filing a fraudulent tax return is a felony. It is much more common than tax evasion, and the penalties are less severe. But the consequences are still quite steep. It is punishable by up to a $100,000 fine, or $500,000 for corporations, and 3 years’ imprisonment. Keep in mind that the IRS is not out to get responsible taxpayers. You have to intentionally and knowingly lie on your tax documents for the IRS to become involved. This would include things like repeatedly leaving certain income off your tax statements or changing your income forms to reflect false information, for the most part. What if You’ve Been Wrongfully Accused of Tax Fraud? On rare occasions, the IRS gets it wrong, though. And, there’s not much more alarming that being accused of a crime you didn’t commit. Sure, you’re innocent until proven guilty, simply being charged with a tax fraud crime can come with a number of consequences, in itself. Regardless of your situation, whether you believe you did nothing wrong or if you realize you messed up, hire an attorney immediately. With every case, the prosecution has a trained professional to look at evidence. If you opt out of hiring a lawyer, it’s going to be an uphill battle, since you aren’t qualified to do the same to defend yourself. When Should I Hire an Attorney for Tax Fraud? Usually, if the amount in question is less than $100,000, the IRS will make a formal request that you fix the issue. If you do not comply, they will launch a formal investigation. If the amount is more than $100,000, two IRS agents will show up at your home or office to ask you some questions. If this happens, it’s definitely time to hire an attorney. Politely tell the IRS agents that you do not want to answer questions. This is for one simple reason: the IRS knows more than you think they do. Be sure to be honest with your attorney so they can defend you adequately. What is the Tax Fraud Punishment for Failing to File a Tax Return? This tax crime is usually a misdemeanor. Although it is unlikely, you could face up to a year in jail and $25,000 in fines for failing to file a tax return. You will pay this $25,000 in fines for each year you failed to file. You may face civil penalties for any tax return you fail to file, no matter how long ago it was due. You can only face criminal charges if the tax return was due fewer than six years ago. This means that once you fail to file a tax return, the IRS has six years to contact and punish you. Once this time passes, the IRS will usually not pursue charges. The IRS will contact non-filers in one of four ways: Phone Letter Formal notice A visit from an IRS agent If the IRS cannot contact you in any of these ways, it will set a deadline for you to file the return. An agent will visit you again. If your failure to file a tax return results in a special agent from the IRS, you can be certain that you are the subject of a criminal investigation. Additionally, as long as you do file the tax return before the IRS contacts you, you are in the clear. If you file a return but do not pay the taxes due, the IRS will not charge you with a crime. Rather, they will assess penalties and add interest to the amount due. What Are the IRS’s Tax Evasion Penalties? This is a type of criminal felony where a taxpayer uses illegal means to conceal or misrepresent their financial details. If a court convicts a taxpayer of tax evasion, penalties could include up to 5 years in jail. Fines could total up to $100,000. Tax evasion is different than simply filing a false tax return. Tax evasion is a white-collar crime that often goes hand in hand with other crimes. Individuals who engage in criminal enterprises will often commit tax evasion because to report all their sources of income would be an admission of guilt. Tax evasion is also different than tax avoidance. Tax avoidance is not technically illegal. Avoidance is using legitimate means to pay as few taxes as possible; this involves maximizing deductions and utilizing gray areas of the law. Tax evasion requires that you take illegal action to not pay taxes. Tax Fraud Punishment for Failing to Pay Taxes or Keep Records This is a misdemeanor. The penalties will usually be civil rather than criminal. But though it is unlikely, you could face up to 1 year in jail and $25K in fines in criminal penalties. Tax Fraud Punishment for Failing to Disclose Offshore Bank Accounts If the IRS can prove you failed to disclose offshore bank accounts, you can face fines of more than $120,000 per violation per year. The fine may also be 50% of the account balance at the time of the violation. Criminal penalties may also include up to a five-year prison sentence or fines of up to $250,000. If your failure to disclose an offshore account occurs in conjunction with another crime, criminal tax fraud punishment could total up to $500K, ten years in jail, or both.

Carl Michael Shusterman | Dec 30, 2019

Petition For A Writ Of Mandamus

When to File a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus When the government refuses to act for a long period of time, and we believe that our client’s application has merits, we prepare and submit a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in Federal Court. This forces the USCIS to make a decision on the application. Filing a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus Recently, we filed such a Petition for a client in Northern California whose application for naturalization had been denied and his appeal was pending for over one year. He had originally adjusted his status through marriage to a US citizen. Even though the USCIS had approved both his 2-year and his 10-year green cards, one government investigator was convinced that his marriage was fraudulent. The investigator called his ex-wife in for an interview. We prepared a 250-page folder documenting the legitimacy of their marriage. Yet, the investigator told me that the USCIS would deny the ex-husband’s application for naturalization because the government had airline records showing that he had traveled extensively with his wife-to-be (also a US citizen) while he was still married to his first wife. We obtained all of the relevant flight records, and showed the USCIS that they were mistaken. He had only traveled together with the future wife after they were married. Despite this, the USCIS denied his application for naturalization, but not because of any alleged marriage fraud. Instead, they switched strategies and denied his application because he failed to mention a few short trips on his N-400 application. We submitted an appeal, and I accompanied him to his interview. I told the examiner that if not mentioning a few short trips outside the US was grounds for denying an application for naturalization, then the USCIS would have to deny thousands of other N-400s. After all, I had served as an INS Citizenship Attorney in the 1970s. How many of us who travel frequently can remember every single trip we have taken outside the US? The examiner agreed with me. Yet, months went by, and each of our inquiries elicited the same response: his application remains pending. Finally, our client retained us to prepare and submit a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in Federal Court. We did so. We did not even have to wait for the US Attorney’s Office to respond to our petition. Instead, the USCIS scheduled our client for a naturalization ceremony. He is now a US citizen. If more immigrants would submit a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in Federal Court, they would not have to wait so long to become US citizens or permanent residents

Michael C. Ablan | Nov 27, 2019

Income Tax Appeal Procedure from Notice of Deficiency

Notice of Deficiency The notice of deficiency is jurisdictional and without it you cannot proceed to Tax Court. I have had clients that have received notices of deficiency that were inappropriate. In one case, with the courts prompting we settled for a part of my attorney's fees. Either way, this is one of the most important letters that you will receive in the mail. Save it. Option To Pay and Claim a Refund or petition to the United States Tax Court Of course you can pay the tax, penalties and interest. Then you can file for a refund, you will receive a preliminary letter which you can protest to the Appeals Office. There you can elect post appeal mediation and if the case is not settled you will receive a Statutory Notice of Claim Disallowance. After that your options are to file in the United States Ct. of Federal Claims or the US District Court and in either case an appeal goes to the United States Court of Appeals. If you petition directly to the United States Tax Court typically the matter will be set for trial and your tax attorney can choose the forum most convenient for you. Also as of October 2019 you can limit the scope of the engagement/appearance of the attorney. This is a money savings change in the law. After trial and a significant amount of paperwork such as drafting the Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and Judgment, you will get a decision. This decision is published nationally. The next level of appeal is United States Court of Appeals.

Steve C Vondran | Nov 14, 2019

Will Miami-Dade County Court become the official UNMASKING Court in the United States for Copyright?

2019 Copyright Litigation Updates - Strike 3 Holdings, LLC is filing "Bill of Discovery" documents against "Unknown Infringers" in a COUNTY COURT in Miami Dade-Florida - even though it knows with 99% accuracy that, for, example, the alleged downloader lives in New York or California. Two cases we have verified have no personal contact with Florida. The Florida "Bill of Discovery" is an old County Court procedure and a local Florida Attorney is filing these cases. As we have seen, once the unmasking is done (by judge granting the releif requested which allows your ISP to disclose your name and address - unless, as an out-of-jurisidction seeks to file a motion to quash). The California law firm I deal with is Bandlow Law Firm. They have told me they believe these filings in a Florida court are proper, and that a person can quash they subpoena, or at least attempt to, if not happy. We have been informed that once the Florida attorney gets the name and address, and if it turns out the Defendant is from California, let's say, the Bandlow Law Firm is Los Angeles is likely to then handle the case and seek a settlement. The phrase we have heard when the case reaches this level is "we may file a copyright infringement action" (I suppose in Federal Court where copyright actions should be filed as federal courts have exclusive federal court jurisdiction in the first place. This all makes me wonder: Is Strike 3 using Florida courts in order to avoid dealing with federal Courts in California, for example, where the "Cobbler Nevada" case may be presenting huge problems for them? Will Miami-Dade County Court in Floria become the new home for Copyright Plaintiffs who are seeking to unmask alleged infringers (of books, movies, software, anything that can be filed shared on Torrents)? Will this cause floodgate litigation? Is Strike 3 doing this simply so they can handle more and more cases (getting stuck in federal court litigation can bog a litigator down, potentially limiting how many cases a litigator can handle) Is this a form of "forum shopping" when you know, for example, that the alleged downloader in California or New York has n o minimum contacts with Florida? Can this practice be challenged as a matter of law, for example, in a countersuit for abuse of process? Why are two Court's potentially needed when they admit in the "Bill of Discovery" that the issue is copyright infringement of its adult pornography films (main lines are Blacked, Tushy, and Vixen). This video will provide some general information. The audio cuts off at the end. To me, this is a very suspect practice that will have to be brought to the attention of the court and challenged to see if it can pass legal muster.

Steve C Vondran | Aug 4, 2019

Is the Copyright Small Claims Court a good idea? Attorney Steve® discusses the CASE ACT

There is a new law being debated in Washington D.C. This time it is about creating a copyright small claims court where photo, video, music, and other infringement cases can be brought seeking up to 30k in monetary damages. Some of my criticisms and concerns of this bill are the following: We already have federal courts where copyright rights holders can assert their legal rights. As long as their content is registered, they can seek legal fees and enforcement their rights (much like movie companies Like Strike 3 Holdings and Malibu Media are already doing). So is there really a need for a new tribunal out in Washington D.C.? How will they handle a flood of small claims cases in Washington? There is likely one three-judge panel but how on earth could they handle thousands and thousands of cases? Is there a right to appeal bad decisions to federal court? This small claims court would allow UN-REGISTERED digital and other content to be protected (is this good policy)? A Defendant can "opt-out" but what about defaults (can these be set aside)? What will be the guidelines for awarding damages? If "willful infringement" need not be shown, how are they going to calculate penalties for infringement (5-15k per infringement up to 30k max)? If no attorney fees are allowed, what good are defenses such as "fair use" and 512(f) misrepresentation defenses and counterclaims. It seems bad faith cases can be brought with little risk of an attorney fee backlash by the Defendant. Federal court as it stands can award a Defendant attorney fees if they are the prevailing party in a litigation. Will this boost copyright trolling leading to floodgate litigation? I think it probably would and just not sure if this is a step in the right direction. How will serial filers be stopped? On what grounds? What are the criteria? If a rights holder has valid small claims rights, why would a copyright claims board be able to cut off the number of lawsuits a Plaintiff can file? These are some of my main concerns. My review of the bill did not clearly demonstrate how these issues would be addressed. What do you think? Watch the video overview and let me know your thoughts. This is general legal information only and not legal advice. Attorney Steve® -