Tax offenses can be fundamental or technical; however, in both cases they are serious offenses that criminal law in Israel does not take lightly. On the contrary. Organizations, companies and businessmen convicted of tax crimes can face particularly high fines, which sometimes are disproportionately high in relation to the amounts for which they have been prosecuted and, in some cases, they may even face imprisonment. In addition, the conviction for tax offenses includes commercial and personal consequences; starting with being considered as unfit to meet the minimum terms required for a job or to be a bidder in tenders, up to a series of “sanctions” that can follow the convicted person throughout his commercial activities and, sometimes, even in his personal life.
The aforementioned is also relevant in cases where the suspects / defendants believe that there has been no fault in their conduct and that they have acted in good faith without committing a criminal offense. Often, and in many cases, tax offenses are committed by normative persons in the community who are suspected of criminal offenses for the first time in their life. These taxpayers never imagined that they could be exposed to a criminal conviction, not to say to the possibility of being imprisoned
Below, we briefly list the four options available to the authorities after concluding a criminal investigation into tax crimes:
If the accused is prosecuted, there are several possible routes of action. The defendant may fight for his innocence in judicial instances (but he also runs the risk of being convicted, in one way or another) or may agree to a lesser penalty, depending on the circumstances of the case. Often, even when the parties conduct the legal process in court, the court will either send the parties to mediation proceedings or will suggest that the parties try to reach agreements in the framework of a plea agreement.
Legal representation in tax offenses (technical and fundamental / material)
As mentioned above, tax offenses are not one piece. Each offense is evaluated according to a wide range of parameters, be it the nature of the crime, the sums of the money in question (one cent does not necessarily count as a hundred), or the identity of the person who committed the crime (e.g. criminal record in white collar crimes) and for how long the continued the execution of the crime.
Tax offenses are generally divided into two levels:
Technical offenses: tax offenses that are committed consciously or unconsciously and are not the product of a clear criminal planning or intention. For example, not filing the annual statement on time or not filing the periodic account statements in a timely manner to the Value Added Tax (VAT), not transferring the deductions to income tax, not making the withholding of taxes, etc. Conviction for technical tax offenses does not require proof of criminal intent and are generally considered to be “less serious” offenses. However, even when it comes to technical crimes, severe penalties are likely to be imposed on the taxpayer, and even effective imprisonment.
Fundamental Offenses: Fundamental tax offenses are more serious offenses, most of which are classified as “crime”. In prosecutions due for these crimes, the prosecutor often demands a severe penalty and effective imprisonment. Key tax offenses may include tax evasion, fraudulent accounting, concealment / omission of income, asset smuggling, false reporting to the tax authority, etc.
Importance of legal advice in cases of tax offenses:
If you have been summoned to a tax investigation, and even if you just “anticipate” that such an investigation could take place, it is advisable to contact ASAP for legal advice. A tax investigation is, for all purposes, an investigation and without adequate legal representation you could be incriminated and / or your situation may worsen.
The law Firm Gross Epelman accompanies many clients in the area of white collar offenses, including tax offenses. At our Firm, lawyers specialize in the tax area, including from the criminal point of view. The representation that the Firm offers to its clients is discreet, personal and close accompaniment, supporting small and medium-sized businesses, companies, corporations and other legal bodies.
The client’s case is treated by the Firm’s senior partners, with loyalty, credibility, creativity and coherence. The Firm has vast experience in the treatment of all types of fiscal, technical or fundamental crimes. Our office has a series of achievements and successes in the field of tax offenses, including beneficial agreements vis a vis the tax authorities, dismissals, and acquittals in judicial instances.