Civil Tax Matters

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Civil Tax Matters

Civil Tax Matters vs. Criminal Tax Matters

Civil tax matters and criminal tax matters are held to different standards of proof by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The principal difference is that criminal tax matters typically involve fraud or willfulness.

Civil Tax Issues

The lawyers at Dysart Willis are equipped to handle the following criminal tax matters:

  • Tax Litigation and Tax Controversy: Tax litigation and controversy describes the practice of resolving tax disputes with federal, state, and local tax authorities. Income tax problems, payroll tax problems, excise tax problems, innocent spouse claims, tax penalties, and estate tax problems all fall into this category of civil tax matters.
  • Tax Debt: Tax debt refers to any taxes you owe a taxing authority after the deadline for payment. If you forget to pay or file your taxes, make a mistake on your taxes, or the IRS filed a substitute for return and you owe money as a result, you have incurred a tax debt.

Civil Tax Matters: The Risk

If you have an unresolved tax controversy, the longer you wait to take action, the worse the matter is likely to become. For example, if you have incurred a tax debt, the taxing authority can:

  • File a tax lien, which can devastate your credit
  • Serve a tax levy on your bank account, wages, or brokerage account
  • Seize your state income tax to satisfy a federal tax debt
  • Impose penalties for failure to file, failure to pay, or failure to make timely tax deposit and charge you interest as long as the tax remains unpaid

Tax matters fall into two categories: civil and criminal. The difference between civil tax matters and criminal tax matters is that criminal tax matters typically involve fraud or willful violation of the Tax Code, which is enforced by the Department of Justice..

If you have received a notice from a local or federal tax collecting authority about your conduct related to taxes that is not a criminal matter, you still need to seek resolution promptly.

There are several types of civil tax matters:

  • Tax Litigation and Tax Controversy: Tax litigation and controversy describes the practice of resolving tax disputes with federal, state, and local tax authorities. Income tax problems, payroll tax problems, excise tax problems, innocent spouse claims, tax penalties, and estate tax problems all fall into this category of civil tax matters.
  • Tax Debt: Tax debt refers to any taxes you owe a taxing authority after the deadline for payment. If you forget to pay or file your taxes, make a mistake on your taxes, or the IRS filed a substitute for return and you owe money as a result, you have incurred a tax debt.

Should I Hire a Civil Tax Attorney?

The skills necessary to be an effective tax litigation attorney are not equivalent to those needed to be a successful tax planning attorney. Tax litigation lawyers must know the tax laws in addition to the administrative procedures governing the day-to-day workings of the taxing authority.

Further, tax litigators must have an understanding of the statutes of limitations that can prevent tax authorities from pursuing individuals even if they owe taxes. For example, a statute of limitations of the assessment of tax may be three years from the filing date, with exceptions in the case of tax fraud. Alternatively, failure to file appropriate forms can trigger an open-ended statute of limitations in some cases.

These scenarios display why it is crucial to have an experienced, knowledgeable tax attorney on your side.

Contact Dysart Willis Today

Dysart Willis has been serving clients on civil tax matters for more than seven years. Our attorneys have experience working with IRS agents and revenue officers, know the ins and outs of the process, and understand how the procedural nature of these cases can impact the outcome.

Taxes are a burden as it is, but having a tax issue looming over your head adds insult to injury. Receiving notice of an audit, investigation, or collection from the IRS can feel overwhelming.

If you have a civil tax controversy or tax litigation before a federal or state taxing authority, representation can increase the efficiency of the process and improve your chances of achieving the best results possible. Contact Dysart Willis today if you need help with a civil tax matter.