I have an interesting story below. It’s a short 2-3 minute read, but it’s worth the time. I am a tax lawyer that provides various types of IRS Representation. I receive phone calls every week, for all types of IRS problems: collections, audits (examinations), and criminal matters. And sometimes other matters too.
Actual Phone Call Today
My very first call this morning, from someone in a complete panic, began like this:
“I need an IRS criminal tax attorney because they just called me, and they’re coming to my house in less than an hour with a search warrant, because they said I cheated on my taxes, and I didn’t cheat on my taxes, ever, and I don’t know why this is happening!”
I could tell the caller was very emotional at that moment, very afraid, maybe even in tears. (Sudden visits by IRS Special Agents usually have that effect on people!) I wanted to calm this person’s fears. But before I could offer any legal advice, we both exchanged a few more questions.
The Conversation: Me and My Caller
Caller: “Is this right? Can they do that? I mean, am I going to be arrested? Do people go to prison for taxes?”
Me: “I don’t know if your earlier call was from any IRS official. Yes, people can become incarcerated because of things like intentional tax fraud. But let’s see if that’s your situation. Tell me more about the call you received.”
Caller: “Look, I don’t want to get arrested! I’m a single parent! Did I really do anything? You’re an IRS attorney, right? What do I need to do?”
Me: “First, tell me more about this call. Did they leave a name or contact phone?”
Caller: “No. No name that I can remember. No phone. He said they had a search warrant for my arrest, and they were coming to get me. They’ll be here in a few minutes! I have to go to work today! What should I do if I get arrested?”
Me: “In a situation with IRS, best thing is to contact an attorney, preferably a Criminal Tax Attorney to get control of the situation. But not all criminal lawyers deal with IRS. And not all tax lawyers handle criminal tax cases. So you did well contacting me.
Now look. If you were actually going to be arrested (as bad as that sounds), it is not the end of the world. We can usually get you released pretty quickly. But I don’t really think that’s your situation today. Tell me, did this earlier call make sense to you? Why would someone call to announce that you’re being arrested?Really, who would do that? Plus earlier, you said that they had a search warrant, but you also mentioned a warrant for your arrest.”
Caller: “Yes, a search warrant for my arrest. That’s what he said. A search warrant for my arrest!”
Me: “You know, those are two very different things. I think you’ve been scammed.”
Caller: “I don’t know. I filed all my taxes. I don’t understand why this is happening! They just called me today, this morning, and I don’t have $4200 dollars! I barely make enough money to live on. Do I have to …?”
Me: “Ok, stop.”
Me: “Did someone, this person that called you, ask you for money today? Like, did this guy demand that you make a payment?”
Caller: “Yeah, $4200 dollars. I don’t have that much money! Can they do that – just make me pay or put me in prison? Can they do that?”
Me: “Ok, calm down. Listen, IRS doesn’t work that way. Actually, no tax authority in the U.S. will do that without due process. But that’s another conversation. But look, IRS arrests are for people under formal suspicion, formal charge for criminal tax offenses. In such a case, an arrest might be for something like 26 USC Section 7201, Tax Evasion. Or maybe Section 7206, Fraud and False Statements.
But I’m not hearing that from you right now. What I’m hearing are things completely inconsistent with IRS criminal tax procedure. Plus, IRS never makes calls demanding money – mainly because there are just too many tax scams out there …
Scams just like this call you took this morning. Someone was just trying to hustle you, okay?”
Caller: “I hope so. Are you sure? Because … “
Yes, this was an actual call today. It took some convincing that there was nothing to fear. The IRS scam artist was also very convincing. But the bottom line was: IRS and state tax agencies just don’t those type of calls. And there is a very clear process that IRS must follow in handling criminal tax matters. Everyone, please, be careful out there. Beware of these IRS tax scams — people demanding payments, credit cards numbers, or other identification information. More recently now, large city suburbs like Bolingbrook and Lisle have also become target areas. Anyone could have received this scammer’s call today.