Criminal Tax

An Unprecedented and Challenging Environment

In the past few years, a “perfect storm” has gathered to fuel the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) increasingly aggressive pursuit of criminal tax issues. Most recently, this has been driven by the current economic downturn and an ever-intensifying public spotlight on offshore tax havens and tax-minimization devices. There has been a marked rise in U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) funding to prosecute financial crimes (and tax-related crimes in particular), mounting Congressional scrutiny of cases arising out of financial fraud, and an enhanced appetite on the part of the public and law enforcement for bringing high-profile criminal prosecutions. At the same time, new tax whistleblower provisions are gaining substantial traction, while report after report shows that the tax gap between what is owed and what is collected to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars and rising. The result is a challenging and risky environment for clients alleged to have run afoul of the myriad and confusing provisions that make up the Internal Revenue laws.

Optimal Blend of Criminal Defense and Tax Experience

Miller & Chevalier’s Criminal Tax group possesses the two crucial requirements for the effective defense of criminal tax matters; that is, deep technical capabilities across a broad spectrum of complex tax issues and a cutting-edge white collar defense practice with extraordinary jury trial experience.

Because criminal tax matters involve highly complex financial issues, clients benefit from the fact that our team includes Certified Public Accountants, as well as lawyers with in-depth substantive tax knowledge in areas such as financial products, partnerships, corporations, cross-border transactions, tax-exempt organizations, and gift, excise, and payroll taxes. The result of this unique combination of talent and experience is a practice that brings strategic, forward-looking, and creative problem solving to cases presenting challenging tax and criminal law issues.

Miller & Chevalier is widely recognized as a leader in tax matters, with one of the nation’s most impressive records for successfully resolving complex tax issues for clients around the globe. We have achieved extraordinary outcomes for clients in every phase of the IRS administrative process and have litigated hundreds of tax cases in the United States Tax Court, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the Federal District Courts, the Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. These have included several of the largest tax cases of record. Our lawyers include former government officials who served at the highest levels of the IRS.

This deep and diverse tax experience is coupled with proven White Collar criminal defense capabilities. Our White Collar lawyers have collectively tried more than 300 criminal cases in state and federal jurisdictions around the country. We have obtained high profile acquittals and favorable results in criminal tax cases and other complex financial fraud prosecutions. We have vast experience in the array of issues that confront clients under investigation for, or charged with, tax crimes, from allegations involving the use of improper tax minimization strategies, to false or fraudulent tax reporting, to the alleged illegal use of offshore banking (including Bank Secrecy Act issues). We have successfully advised and represented corporations and individuals at every stage of criminal litigation, from voluntary disclosure through investigations, indictment, trial, and appeals. We possess unparalleled experience representing clients that face the complexities arising from simultaneous criminal and civil audits, investigations, or litigation by government agencies or by Congressional committees.

Our goal is to resolve issues without litigation, at the earliest opportunity, and under the most favorable conditions for our clients, and we have a track record of helping clients avoid costly and sensitive litigation through the IRS voluntary disclosure program or through negotiations with the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the DOJ. When circumstances require litigation, however, we are forceful advocates with real trial experience who defend clients’ interests vigorously, persuasively, and successfully.

Voluntary Disclosures

A taxpayer’s use of the IRS’s voluntary disclosure program can minimize (and often eliminate) the risk of an IRS referral of the matter to the DOJ for criminal prosecution. In many situations, participation in the voluntary disclosure program may be a client’s best course of action, particularly when dealing with offshore foreign bank accounts. Our Criminal Tax lawyers are experienced in helping clients evaluate voluntary disclosure as a strategy, implementing it, and successfully handling sensitive negotiations with the IRS, including computations of any civil penalties that the IRS may be considering under the current program.

Tax-Exempt Organizations

Both the IRS and Congress recently have intensified their scrutiny of the operations of tax-exempt organizations. In particular, Congress has expressed keen interest in insider misconduct and misuse of tax-exempt assets for private benefit. A criminal investigation can quickly put an organization’s tax-exempt status in jeopardy, and a civil IRS audit can lead to a referral of a tax-exempt organization or one or more of its officers, directors, or employees to the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division.

Few, if any, other firms can match Miller & Chevalier’s unique depth of experience in both criminal defense matters and the tax issues specific to nonprofit organizations. Our lawyers boast a long and successful history of helping tax-exempt organizations and their employees defend against allegations of criminal liability. Our tax-exempt clients include the full spectrum of such organizations, from public charities (including educational institutions, churches and religious organizations, hospitals and medical facilities) to private foundations, charitable trusts, social welfare organizations, and domestic and international trade associations.

Representative Engagements|View All
  • Represented international financial institutions in multi-jurisdiction criminal and regulatory investigations.
  • Defended individual charged with conspiracy and tax charges relating to the promotion of alleged tax shelters.
  • Defended a high-profile individual on charges of tax evasion and conspiracy to evade taxes successfully resulting in a non-prosecution agreement.
  • Represented two related individuals in an investigation into tax evasion and obstruction of justice associated with foreign banking activity.
  • Represented a foreign law firm and lawyers involved in conduct alleged to constitute tax evasion.
  • Defended numerous individuals in voluntary disclosure matters involving potential tax fraud and Bank Secrecy Act violations. This includes individuals who have chosen to “opt-out” of the IRS voluntary disclosure program or otherwise challenge the IRS determinations made under that program.
Government Experience
  • Chief, Criminal Enforcement Section (Southern), Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Senior Litigation Counsel, Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Assistant United States Attorney, District of Columbia
  • Counsel to Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division (Criminal Tax), U.S. Department of Justice
  • Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner (Technical), Acting and Deputy Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service
  • Trial Chief, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
  • Assistant Federal Public Defender, Maryland
  • Chief, Special Litigation Division, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
  • Trial Attorney, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
  • Tax Assistant, Office of the Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Senior Investigative Counsel, Special Committee on Investigations, U.S. Senate
Corporate Experience
Rankings and Recognition
  • Chambers USA: Tax Team of the Year, 2016 
  • Chambers USA: Tax: Controversy (National), 2007 - 2016
  • Chambers USA: Tax (District of Columbia), 2003 - 2016
  • Legal 500: Tax: Non-Contentious (US), 2013 - 2016
  • Legal 500: Tax: International Tax (US), 2013 - 2016
  • Legal 500: Tax: Contentious (US), 2007 - 2016
  • U.S. News -- Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms": Tax Law (National), 2010 - 2016
  • U.S. News -- Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms": Tax Law (District of Columbia), 2010 - 2016
  • International Tax Review "Americas Tax Awards": Americas Tax Policy Firm of the Year, 2012 - 2013, 2015 - 2016 
  • International Tax Review "Americas Tax Awards": Washington, DC Tax Firm of the Year, 2013
  • International Tax Review "Americas Tax Awards": Washington, DC Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year, 2012
  • International Tax Review: World Tax (Washington, DC), 2012, 2014 - 2017
  • International Tax Review: World Transfer Pricing (National), 2014 - 2017