Before you read another paragraph here, I must first explain: This is an embarrassingly true story of how dealing with the IRS Criminal Investigations can affect—no, TRANSFORM—a person. There is always a cost, but you have to protect what matters most.

What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

Some time ago, I gave a legal consultation to a very troubled man with IRS problems. He was visited by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and was informed that he and other people involved in their business were under investigation for tax fraud.

They were suspected of preparing or filing false tax returns, either of which is a federal crime under 26 U.S.C. §7206. The crime is a felony, and anyone convicted is fined up to $100,000 (or $500,000 for a corporation). The person convicted may also be imprisoned for up to three years. Indeed, this is a harsh penalty.

But the penalty can be much worse.

The U.S. Department of Justice may allege several “counts” (or occurrences) of the act. Every single “count,” if proven, could result in another penalty: a set of years’ imprisonment, plus fines. These imprisonment sentences compound; they add up. For those who never dreamed of facing a criminal conviction, this potential punishment is one of the most fearsome things a person might imagine.

But the actual cost can still be much worse. Dealing with the fear of the IRS’s unknown can take everything that really matters.

Everything That Truly Matters

A person transforms when they hear about their options and how the legal process will affect them. No one (who I’ve ever met) wants to face potential imprisonment. Those under investigation want to fight, to defend themselves. There is always too much at stake, such as:

  • Protecting the business and family income;
  • Protecting the family relationships (especially with the children);
  • Protecting one’s reputation, honor, and dignity;
  • Protecting the obvious personal health concerns that accompany imprisonment.

These things are plenty enough reason to fight. I love to receive calls while the investigation is still very early. I enjoy preparing my clients to defend their innocence, or sometimes to minimize the damage. It takes an array of patience, bravery, realism, and honesty to survive this soul-sucking process. In every case, I’ve seen a transformation.

IRS: Fear of the Unknown

That transformation is not always so empowering. Everything about this process can move a person to an all-consuming depression. This is especially the case when you don’t know what will happen next.

I began this article mentioning that I gave a consultation for someone under suspicion of a tax crime. The gentleman was very afraid of what was to happen next. This is what we all call “fear of the unknown.”

Where I cannot detail for you our privileged discussion, I can share this: I spoke in detail about the IRS’s procedures for conducting an investigation, determining whether a case gets referred for prosecution by the Department of Justice, etc. We always prefer to make consultations informative in order to clear up and explain some of those things unknown to the consultee. This gentleman also consulted with other lawyers.

Surprisingly, in learning about the process, his options, even his strong likelihood for success, this person transformed differently. He withdrew from protecting himself in the legal process. He withdrew from his loved ones. He withdrew from everything that truly mattered.

Sadly, I learned from his loved ones that he has left us. Amid his fear of the IRS, he said goodbye and took his own life. Yes, IRS-related depression can be deadly. This time, it was. We must all say goodbye to this very decent, caring human.

Final Note to You

People, protect yourselves. If you are facing an investigation or suspicion of crimes against the government, do not abandon the process. Please do not let fear of punishment keep you from living your life to the fullest. Protect your family, your reputation, your freedom, and your life. Protect everything that matters, and seek immediate IRS representation.

If you or a loved one are suffering from depression due to IRS problems, please seek assistance immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline today for help: 1-800-273-8255. You can make it through these hard times with the help of family, friends, and a Wheaton IRS tax attorney who understands what you’re going through. Seek the IRS representation you deserve at Jones & Collins LLC. No amount of financial loss is worth losing your life over, and we want to help you get your life and finances back on track. Call us today for a consultation.