Taxpayers have a duty to make honest statements to the IRS both verbally and in writing and may be subject to false statement charges for willingly presenting untrue facts. Making a false statement is a serious crime with penalties of up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for individuals and as much as $500,000 in fines for corporations. In addition, taxpayers face civil penalties that can reach in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Brown, PC has 25 years of experience defending high-profile, high-stakes clients in serious tax crime cases. Before entering private practice, Fort Worth tax crime defense lawyer Lawrence Brown was a trial lawyer for the DOJ Tax Division. He knows the tactics and strategies of prosecutors and uses this information to help his clients refute false statement charges.
What is a False Statement?
Under §I00I, statements are false if knowingly and willfully:
- The statement is made to falsify, conceal, or cover a material fact by a trick, scheme, or device;
- The statement is materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent; or
- The statement is a false writing or document that the taxpayer knows contains a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.
The law imposes a different standard of proof on a charge of making a false statement than on concealment. The government does not have to prove that the taxpayer was required to make the statement to win on a false statement charge, but most prove that the statement was statutorily required to charge the taxpayer with concealment.
Elements of False Statement
To prevail on a false statement charge, the government must prove by a reasonable doubt that:
- The taxpayer made a statement or representation or presented a document,
- That statement, representation, document was fraudulent or false,
- The matter was a material fact,
- The statement was made knowingly and willfully, and
- The statement was about an activity that falls under the IRS’s jurisdiction.
This statute does not require the false statement to be made under oath. Furthermore, the government can prove its case based upon the uncorroborated evidence of a single witness’ testimony. Also, the false statement includes statements that are not made directly to or received by IRS agents, the court, or any other executive, legislative or judicial branch.
Materiality of the Fact
The most common test for determining the materiality of the fact about which the taxpayer made the statement is whether “the falsity or concealment had a natural tendency to influence, or was capable of influencing, the decision-making body to which it was addressed.” However, the IRS or its agents need not actually rely on or be influenced by the false statement.
Consult With Experienced Fort Worth Tax Crime Defense Counsel Today
With so much at stake, you cannot afford not to have experience and skill on your side. Brown, PC employs top Fort Worth tax crime defense counsel who aggressively fight for you. Contact our office to discuss your options under the law.