Someone filling out a visa application.

Developing a Plan B After Your H-1B Application Is Denied

The window for filing a successful H-1B visa is small. If you do not submit your application for this popular visa on April 1, it is unlikely you are getting an H-1B visa this time around. 

For the fiscal year 2021, the government is capping the number of H-1B visas it issues at 85,000. This includes 65,000 “regular” H-1B visas and 20,000 more for individuals with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. college or university. Even if you submit on time, so many employers apply that you may not be successful. 

Fortunately, there are several alternatives to the H-1B visa that may still meet your needs, even though they are not quite as popular. Our New York City immigration law firm regularly assists clients in applying for other employment-based visas. The most popular options are the O and L visas, and EB Green Cards.

The O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” Visa

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

Successful applicants include cutting-edge scientists and inventors, expert medical clinicians, distinguished research scholars, top international chefs, award-winning entertainers, and world-class athletes and coaches.

The various subtypes of this visa include: 

  • O-1A: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
  • O-1B: individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry
  • O-2: individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance.  For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1
  • O-3: individuals who are the spouse or children of O-1’s and O-2’s

L Visa for Intracompany Transferees

Companies that have branches in other countries may be able to transfer a worker to the United States on an L-1 visa

  • The L-1A visa is for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions in a company that is located outside the United States.
  • The L-1B visa is for intracompany transferees who work in positions that require specialized knowledge.

L-1 visas work well for employers who need the skill or expertise of an employee in another country at one of the company’s offices in the United States. 

Employment-Based EB Green Cards 

While non-immigrant visas allow immigrants to stay in the United States for a limited period of time, a Green Card recipient is classified as a lawful permanent resident and may stay as long as their status remains in good standing. 

U.S. immigration law provides immigrants with a variety of ways to become lawful permanent residents through employment. These employment-based (EB) “preference immigrant” categories include:

  • First preference (EB-1) – priority workers
    • Aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
    • Outstanding professors and researchers; or
    • Certain multinational managers and executives. 
  • Second preference (EB-2) – aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability (including requests for national interest waivers). 
  • Third preference (EB-3) – skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.
  • Fourth preference (EB-4) – special immigrants, including religious workers and juveniles
  • Fifth preference (EB-5) – immigrant investors

Our firm has helped many individuals successfully apply for EB Green Cards, including a prominent film director. Because we are located in New York City, the financial capital of the world, and the attorneys at our firm have significant experience in the financial world, we are well equipped to assist with EB-5 visas. 

Time Is On Your Side 

Unlike with the H-1B visa, there is no specific time period applications for O or L visas, or EB Green Cards must be filed. This flexibility makes them excellent alternatives when an H-1B visa application is denied. 

If you or your business needs assistance getting a visa or Green Card for yourself or a valued employee, the experienced immigration team at Heiferman & Associates is ready to help. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.

Paystubs that show wage theft.

Wage Theft Could Put Business Owners Behind Bars

Although wage theft is a crime under both state and federal law, violators rarely face imprisonment. That is why the Heiferman & Associates team, and other employment lawyers in the New York City area, still talk about a case from a few years ago that saw a local restaurant owner thrown in jail for short-changing his employees. 

Paying Straight Time Lead Straight To Jail 

Abdul Jamil Khokhar was sentenced to 60 days behind bars after he got caught paying the workers in his Papa John’s franchises “straight time” wages even when they worked more than 40 hours a week. He had attempted to hide this practice by doctoring his books. He created fictitious names for employees to use in their computerized timekeeping system so it looked like nobody was working overtime. 

When he got caught, Khokhar was required to pay his workers the money he owed them, and fined for his misdeeds, which is what typically happens in these cases. What was surprising was the government’s insistence that he also be locked up. 

Oftentimes, wage theft is treated more like a civil offense even though it is a serious crime. However, as Khokhar’s case reminded everyone, jail time is a possibility. At Heiferman & Associates, our employment lawyers are well-positioned to represent both employees and employers in wage theft cases. Our experience as criminal defense attorneys, combined with our financial and accounting backgrounds means we are ready to take action as soon as our client becomes aware wage theft has occurred or is alleged. 

What Is Wage Theft? 

There are many different things that can be classified as “wage theft.” 

Mr. Khokhar was charged with wage theft because he failed to pay his employees overtime, and went to great lengths to hide his crimes. Failure to pay overtime is a common form of wage theft. Under New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), most employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.

Wage theft can also include a failure to pay the minimum wage, tip skimming, bounced checks, or late checks. The FLSA and New York Labor Law want employees to get paid all the money they are owed at the time they are owed it. Anything else can be considered wage theft. 

Disputes over vacation days, bonuses, breaks, and scheduling may also be considered wage theft because benefits are a non-cash form of payment. 

Our firm represents employees and employers in New York and New Jersey in cases where all forms of wage theft may have occurred. Because we have work for both employers and employees, we know what it takes to get these cases resolved quickly and fairly so everyone can move on with their lives. We represent clients in state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies including but not limited to the EEOC, NY DHR, NJ DCR, NY/NJ Departments of Labor and more. We also can provide employers with audits of their business practices to avoid unnecessary litigation.

Experience You Can Trust

If you are considering filing or fighting a wage theft claim, let’s talk. The Heiferman & Associates team of employment attorneys has over 20 years of experience litigating cases, so you can trust us to quickly and efficiently resolve your case. You can contact us today to get the wheels of justice turning.

Man opening pay check with new minimum wage rates in place.

New Minimum Wage Rates Now In Effect

On December 31, 2019, the ball dropped in Times Square, we closed out the decade, and the minimum wage increased. Employers need to make adjustments so their employees get paid what they are owed, and employees need to double-check their pay stubs to ensure they are not getting shorted. 

However, the rate of pay is not the only thing New York City employers and employees should be paying attention to. There are many different payment and benefits issues that can be considered “wage theft.” 

Minimum Wage Violations 

In New York City, the minimum wage is now $15.00 per hour for all size businesses. In Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, it is $13.00 per hour. In the remainder of the state, it is $11.80 per hour. However, there are different hourly rates for workers in the fast-food industry and those who receive tips. These rates remain in effect until December 30, 2020, at which time the minimum wage will again increase.

Employers who do not comply with New York’s minimum wage laws, wage notice requirements, and the federal minimum wage law, are subject to fines and/or prosecution. Employees who are not being paid what they deserve can and should take legal action. 

At Heiferman & Associates, we help both employers and employees ensure compliance with New York’s minimum wage laws, and fight back against bad actors. We represent business owners who are wrongfully accused of minimum wage violations and employees who are not being paid what they deserve. We also assist employers with posting/notice requirements as well as the drafting of employee handbooks. Because we take both types of cases, our team is intimately familiar with New York’s minimum wage law, and its many quirks. 

Other Forms of Wage Theft

As we mentioned above, there are lots of things other than minimum wage violations that constitute “wage theft.” Our firm has experience representing employers and employees in cases where the issue is:

  • Unpaid Wages – Including payment for on the job training, bounced checks, tip skimming, and the timely payment of wages.
  • Overtime – Most employees must be paid time and one-half their rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours a week, but there are some exceptions.
  • Benefits – Disputes over vacation days, bonuses, breaks, and scheduling.

Our experience working for both employers and employees means we know what sort of arguments are persuasive in these cases, and what evidence is needed to back up our claims. We put that knowledge to use to help our clients quickly resolve their grievances and get on with their lives. 

Experience You Can Trust

If you are considering filing or fighting a wage theft claim, let’s talk. The Heiferman & Associates team of employment lawyers are full of experienced advocates who will aggressively fight to ensure you are not being taken advantage of by someone who is trying to abuse our state’s wage and hour laws. 

We have over 20 years of experience litigating these matters, so you can trust us to quickly and efficiently resolve your case. You can contact us today to get the wheels of justice turning. 

H-1B visa for U.S. immigrant.

Don’t Be A Fool, Get Your H-1B Application Ready To File on April 1

You may know April 1 as April Fool’s Day, but at Heiferman & Associates, our immigration lawyers know it as H-1B day. Each year on April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting H-1B petitions for foreign professionals to apply to work in the US. We work to file as many H-1B applications as possible on that day. We are able to assist with H-1B applications in all 50 states. Furthermore, we have successfully obtained other employment-based visas including O, EB, L and more. 

What is an H-1B Visa?

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit & employ foreign professionals for specific jobs within the USA for a specified period of time. For example, a scientist may be hired to come work on a specific research project, a teacher may be hired to teach a foreign language, or a fashion model may be hired to come walk the catwalk during New York Fashion Week. The work is specialized, and the job is temporary. 

You can check out the government’s guidelines for what constitutes an H-1B eligible job on this website, or give our team a call, and we can advise you. 

Why are H-1B’s so Popular?

Despite their somewhat limited scope, H-1B visas are very popular. Visa holders may switch jobs or work for more than one company while they are in the United States, so long as their employers are willing to fill out the appropriate paperwork. While they are working here, visa holders are eligible for the same benefits as other employees — such as paid vacations and sick leave. 

H-1Bs are valid for 3 years initially, but that limit is often extended to 6 years. Many H-1B visa holders end up applying for permanent residence, aka a green card, while they are here. 

The spouse and minor children of a visa holder may accompany them and legally live in the USA on an H-4 visa. Note, if an H-1B visa holder’s spouse or child wants to work, they must seek their own visa. 

Visa holders may buy and sell property, invest in the stock market, and even play the lottery. 

Time Is of the Essence 

H-1B visas are so popular the government has placed a limit on the number of them it issues each year. That cap is often reached shortly after the filing period opens on April 1, which is why our firm files as many applications as possible that day. 

For the fiscal year 2021, the cap is 85,000. This includes 65,000 “regular” H-1B visas and 20,000 more for individuals with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. college or university.

For prospective H-1B employers and employees alike, this means now is the time to start preparing applications. The application and all supporting paperwork should be ready to go before the filing deadline. 

There is additional pressure to file quickly this year because USCIS has implemented a new electronic registration system for employers that is going to make it easier for people to file. Our team is ready to help employers with this new pre-application filing step. 

To H-1B or Not to Be, That Is the Question

If your company is interested in hiring someone on an H-1B visa, our firm can help you get your application ready to go and make sure it is filed as soon as the filing period opens. We can also discuss other visa options with you so your business needs are met even if the H-1B process does not work in your favor. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our immigration attorneys. 

Counterfeit sunglasses being sold on NYC street.

New York City Counterfeit Culture Is Alive And Well

It is awards season, which means you cannot turn on the tv, or pass a newsstand without seeing a story about what your favorite stars were wearing on the red carpet. A celebrity’s answer to the shouted question “Who are you wearing?” drives trends, and increases the demand for whatever luxury good they are not-so-subtly hawking. 

However, one of the things that makes a luxury a luxury is scarcity. There is a gap between supply and demand that drives up the prices of luxury goods and makes them a tempting target for counterfeiters looking to make a quick buck. As a New York City-based criminal defense firm, we are quite familiar with trademark counterfeiting crimes. We have defended these crimes on both the state and federal levels.

New York City is the epicenter of counterfeit culture. Canal Street may be a bit tamer than it used to be, but if you “know a guy” you can get your hands on knock-offs of almost anything — clothing, watches, movies, music, shoes, purses, iPhones, auto parts, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, you name it. 

It is tempting to whip out your wallet if you want a name brand product you cannot otherwise afford, or if you have the opportunity to flip such goods for a profit. But, possessing counterfeit goods comes with legal risks. 

Are you buying or selling? 

One of the interesting things about New York counterfeiting laws § 165.71,  § 165.72 and § 165.73, is that it is illegal to sell counterfeit goods, but not to buy them (unless you’re buying with the intent to sell, deceive, etc.). If you buy 100 pairs of designer imposter sunglasses out of the trunk of some guy’s car, you have technically done nothing wrong, even if you know the glasses are fake. However, if you then turn around and sell those glasses, you have broken the law. 

To be clear, our firm is not encouraging anyone to go out and purchase counterfeit goods, it is simply an important legal distinction that deserves mention. 

What is the law? 

Under New York state law: “a person is guilty of trademark counterfeiting… when, with the intent to deceive or defraud some other person, or with the intent to evade a lawful restriction on the sale, resale, offering for sale, or distribution of goods, he or she manufactures, distributes, sells, or offers for sale goods which bear a counterfeit trademark, or possesses a trademark knowing it to be counterfeit for the purpose of affixing it to any goods…” 

Let’s break this down and put it in plain English. 

It is illegal to know the goods you are selling, re-selling, or might sell in the future are counterfeit. It does not matter if you made the goods yourself, bought them, or are just holding them for someone else. 

The more the goods are worth, the more serious the crime. 

Is there any defense if you are caught with counterfeit goods? 

The definition above makes it seem as though there is little wiggle room if you are caught selling or holding counterfeit goods. To some extent that is true, but there is a bit of a loophole built into the law. It is technically only illegal if you know the goods you have are counterfeit. The government must be able to prove that you knew the goods you had were fake. 

It may also be possible to get a charge thrown out if the way the government found out about your stash was improper. 

Experience You Can Trust

The criminal lawyers at Heiferman & Associates are experienced at defending people who have been charged with counterfeiting crimes. If you have been arrested or charged with a trademark counterfeiting crime, we are ready to help. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. 

A STOP-DWI checkpoint.

New York Enforcement Crackdown on Holiday DWI

New York has been cracking down on incidences of people driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The State of New York even has a program, referred to as STOP-DWI, which focuses on launching initiatives to reduce DWI cases. STOP-DWI stands for “Special Traffic Operations Program for Driving While Impaired” and it has been behind efforts such as coordinating with state law enforcement agencies to round up those who are behind the wheel while intoxicated. Recently, the focus of these efforts has been cracking down on DWI occurrences during the holidays, which are notorious times where DWI’s tend to increase. As such, law enforcement steps up patrols to keep roads safe.

Governor Cuomo announced this past November that the New York State Police, as well as local law enforcement agencies, would participate in a “special traffic enforcement initiative” geared towards curbing unsafe driving, such as driving while intoxicated. The same initiative in the previous year resulted in the issuance of 15,100 tickets and 215 DWI arrests statewide. 

The STOP-DWI Program

The STOP-DWI program has taken on the coordination of local efforts between various agencies, such as those of law enforcement, state prosecutors, and other administrative agencies, to launch highly publicized efforts to reduce the number of drunk and impaired drivers on New York roads. These coordinated efforts have led to sobriety checkpoints and patrols that are focused on catching those driving while intoxicated.

New York State STOP-DWI Enforcement Crackdowns were scheduled from December 11 to January 1, and some have also been scheduled during Super Bowl weekend. These enforcement campaigns have led to thousands of arrests and hundreds of thousands of tickets for traffic violations. In fact, the 2018 enforcement campaign resulted in the arrests of 4,142 people for driving while impaired and the issuance of 144,197 for other assorted traffic law violations.

Penalties for DWI and DWAI Charges in New York

New York has serious penalties for those found guilty of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is important to be aware of the fact that New York has a Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) offense, a traffic violation, and multiple Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offenses, all criminal, which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on factors. DWAI occurs if the driver is impaired by alcohol, but has a blood alcohol content below the .08 legal limit. A DWI occurs if the driver’s blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. 

DWI and DWAI offenses have penalties that include fines and jail time, but DWI is considered a more serious offense. If convicted of a first offense DWAI, the penalty may include a fine between $300 to $500, jail time of up to 15 days, and a driver’s license suspension up to 90 days. If convicted of DWI for the first time, the penalty may include a fine between $500 and $1,000, up to one year of jail time, and a minimum license revocation period of six months. Additional requirements/conditions may include the installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle (or the family of a person convicted of DWI), alcohol monitoring by a SCRAM ankle bracelet or Remote Breath monitor, as well as court-monitored treatment programs. Convictions for DWI and DWAI in New York State require attendance at both the Victim’s Impact Panel (VIP program) as well as the Impaired Driver Program (IDP). 

DWI Defense Attorneys

If you are found driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the DWAI and DWI defense attorneys at Heiferman & Associates are here to fight for you. We mount the strongest possible defense for our clients while providing them with an accurate assessment of their case based on the facts.  Contact us today.

Posted in DWI
Handcuffs laying on top of a pile of money, a concept of grand larceny.

Is Grand Larceny a White Collar Crime?

New York has a longstanding reputation of being a hotbed of financial crimes. New York City represents a global financial capital and thus, New York City prosecutors on the state and federal level are particularly sensitive to potential financial crimes being committed. Prosecutors in New York have continued to crack down on financial crimes. This means, that if you are suspected of committing a financial crime, such as grand larceny, you should be prepared to come up against the full resources of the government as they pursue the prosecution of your case.

In New York State, grand larceny occurs when a person is guilty of stealing property valuing over $1,000 or has stolen property that is specifically listed in the New York Penal Code, such as property consisting of a public record or of a credit card or debit card. Depending on the value and nature of the stolen property, grand larceny may be a Class E felony all the way up to a Class B felony for grand larceny in the first degree, when the value of the stolen property exceeds one million dollars. A Class E felony carries a potential sentence of up to four years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000 or twice the amount the defendant gained from the commission of the theft. Being found guilty of a Class B felony can land you in jail for up to 25 years and facing a fine of up to $30,000.

Grand Larceny as a White Collar Crime

Yes, grand larceny is a white collar crime. Essentially, a white collar crime is a non-violent, financial crime. Other examples of white collar crimes include:

  • Securities fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Embezzlement
  • Insurance fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Bribery
  • Tax evasion including the sale of cigarettes that are unstamped
  • Public corruption
  • Medicaid Fraud and Medicare Fraud
  • Possessing or Selling Counterfeit Goods such as bags, jewelry, shoes, clothes, etc.

These types of crimes are financially motivated and can occur on a large or small scale. They are generally considered to be more sophisticated crimes. The phrase “white collar crime” came into existence because most of these crimes, historically, were committed by business professionals.

While white collar crimes are non-violent, for the most part, they are still taken very seriously by New York prosecutors. The potential penalties an alleged perpetrator of such a crime are severe. In addition to the jail time and fines, a person convicted of a white collar crime will carry a stigma around indefinitely. A professional reputation will rarely recover from such a conviction.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

At Heiferman & Associates, our team of dedicated criminal defense attorneys is well versed in handling white collar crime cases. Our white collar criminal defense attorneys possess strong accounting backgrounds that are crucial in defending complex white collar cases. We know the government will do everything in its power to secure a conviction and we are here to mount the strongest possible defense to see to it that this does not happen. Heiferman & Associates is here to fight for you as you face these serious criminal charges. This is the time when you need dedicated legal counsel by your side as soon as possible. Contact us today.

Criminal defense attorney meeting their client to discuss charges.

Common Defenses to Criminal Charges

Innocent until proven guilty is the cornerstone of the U.S. criminal justice system, but it often does not feel like it. Prosecutors carry the burden of proving that a defendant is guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest threshold to meet, as well it should be since a person’s life and freedom are often at stake. 

While the burden rests with prosecutors to prove a case, the defendant is entitled to mount a defense to undermine or disprove any case the prosecutors may have built. The type of defense can vary depending on what crime the defendant is being charged with, but there are several common defenses for several criminal charges.

Defenses Commonly Used for Criminal Charges

As previously stated, the prosecutor has the burden of proving that a defendant is guilty of every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the most common criminal defense strategies is to undermine the prosecutor’s case by casting doubt on whether they have actually proved an element of a crime. This may come from something like presenting the possibility that someone else committed the crime, or that there were circumstances that would make it nearly impossible for the defendant to be able to commit the crime. An alibi defense may also be presented, which is typically built on evidence that the defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime when the crime was committed.

There are also several defenses asserting that a defendant committed the alleged act, but he or she was justified in her actions. For instance, in cases of self-defense, a person may have used violence, such as hitting or kicking, but only did so because he or she was being threatened or victimized by the violent actions of another. Self-defense is a common defense to a charge of assault or battery. Another example of this type of defense is duress. With a claim of duress, the defendant admits that he or she committed the alleged act, but it was only because he or she was forced to do so by another person.

Additionally, there are defenses where a defendant asserts that, while it may appear that a crime occurred, no crime was committed. For instance, an assault was not actually an assault because the alleged victim consented to the harm. We have defended many individuals who were arrested and charged with identity theft after obtaining “mystery shopper” jobs, only to find out they were using stolen credit cards. Another example is arrests for selling or possessing items with trademark infringements or counterfeit goods. Often the person charged will have no knowledge these items were fake. The knowledge and intent of the person arrested is often an element of a crime. 

Criminal Defense Attorneys

Facing a criminal charge can feel hopeless. You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but you may already feel condemned. Do not lose hope. There are many ways to successfully fight a criminal charge. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Heiferman & Associates will mount the strongest possible defense to any criminal charge you face. Additionally, our employment lawyers assure clients are properly advised on the potential impact a case may have on their employment status. Similarly, our immigration lawyers are here to advise clients on the impact a criminal case may have on their immigration status. Whether someone is charged with a misdemeanor or complex felony, our criminal defense lawyers are here to help. Contact us today.

H-1B Electronic Registration Process for Fiscal Year 2021

USCIS announced they will implement an electronic registration process for H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2021. This electronic registration process begins on March 1, 2020. 

Under the new policy, employers will need to complete a registration within the period from March 1 through March 20, 2020. Electronic Registration only requires the basic information about the Employer and the H-1B Employee, and $10 H-1B registration fee. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.

Compared to the former policy, Electronic Registration Process reduces unnecessary costs and work for USCIS and petitioners. Petitioners and Beneficiaries will be able to find out the lottery selection results faster. This will avail more time for H-1B applicants to make appropriate plans if they are not selected. At the same time, USCIS can allocate more resources to adjudicate H-1B petitions.

USCIS will post step-by-step instructions informing registrants on how to complete the registration process before the initial registration period. It would be the best for the registrants to contact an experienced immigration attorney in advance and prepare related documents, even though the electronic registration process only needs basic information of employers and employees.

Contact our New York Immigration attorneys today (we also have New Jersey Immigration attorneys) 

At Heiferman and Associates, PLLC, our experienced immigration attorneys handle a wide arrange of immigration matters including green cards (lawful permanent residence), employment (EB visas, H-1B, L visas, etc), family-based, asylum and refugee law, bond hearings, ICE detention and more. Our immigration attorneys provide aggressive legal representation to clients throughout New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey. Our immigration attorneys are able to practice in all 50 states. We also handle cases in Federal District Courts. Backed by extensive experience and working knowledge of Immigration Law. If you have any questions about the new H1-B policy in fiscal year 2021, please contact us immediately for a consultation.

Heiferman & Associates gives an overview of tax evasion.

Tax Evasion

People do not serve time for making simple errors or omissions on their tax returns. The IRS understands the U.S. tax code is complex, to say the least. An error in filing your taxes is not a crime. Purposefully hiding income, under-reporting income, or claiming deductions you are not actually entitled to, however, is a crime. Other tax crimes include the possession, sale or trafficking of unstamped/untaxed cigarettes. Tax evasion is serious.

What is tax evasion?

The IRS has two categories of tax evasion. The first form is an evasion of assessment, which occurs when the taxpayer takes some action in order to prevent the accurate assessment of a tax. It may involve hiding assets or transferring assets in order to stop the IRS from being able to determine their real tax liability. Intentionally under-reporting income would be considered an evasion of assessment. The intention to evade is key. There must be proof that the inaccuracy was not just the result of negligence.

The second form of tax evasion is an evasion of payment. This is when a person is hiding money when they owe payment of their taxes. This means a person is taking affirmative steps to hide assets that could be used to pay the tax owed. Some may try to accomplish this by hiding assets in a foreign bank account, out of reach of the IRS. Evasion of payment is not merely a failure to pay your taxes. It is more than that. The affirmative steps to hide money and assets to prevent payment of taxes are necessary. In both forms, the taxpayer must have taken affirmative steps to avoid the accurate assessment of his or her taxes or the payment of his or her taxes. Additionally, in both cases, the government carries the burden of proving that the taxes are legitimately owed.

Specific examples of forms tax evasion could take include:

  • Filing a false statement or return
  • Failing to file a tax return
  • Providing false information during an audit
  • Failure to pay taxes owed
  • Hiding sources of income
  • Transferring property to another’s name
  • Destroying records
  • Generating false invoices.

Both the IRS and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance are aware that the commission of tax fraud is all too common. Each year, these government entities investigate large numbers of tax fraud cases. The government is not understanding with those that seek to defraud and withhold money owed. Penalties for tax evasion include fines of up to $250,000 in addition to any outstanding tax liability. Tax evasion can also land you in prison, and it can also lead to serious immigration consequences.

Queens Criminal Defense Attorney

The government puts vast resources towards investigating and prosecuting those charged with tax evasion. If you are charged with tax evasion, the government may wish to make an example out of you in an effort to deter others from thinking about engaging in such a crime. The result is that you may end up with a criminal conviction for tax evasion. A serious crime that will land on your permanent record. Heiferman & Associates will fight these charges with the full force of the law. We have successfully defended clients accused of tax crimes in state and federal court.  Contact us today.