Call for a Consultation (602) 200-7399


What are IRS Crimes Relating to Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts?

Posted by Brandon Keim | Jul 17, 2022 | 0 Comments

Tax-deferred retirement accounts are a popular legal strategy for reducing tax liability. But that also means the Internal Revenue Service is very serious when prosecuting violations relating to these accounts. Criminal charges for tax evasion are possible, and that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possible charges. Let's consider some other surprising ways the government may prosecute those who commit retirement account-related wrongdoing.

False Statements and Concealment of Facts:  Taxpayers must be honest when requesting withdrawals from retirement plans. If they are not, under The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), they can be prosecuted for making false statements and concealment of facts in documents. Punishment for false statements or concealment can include fines and up to five years in prison.

For example, on June 2, 2022, Niraj Patel pleaded guilty to those crimes: He had made two hardship withdrawals from his retirement plan that were not for permitted reasons.

False Tax Return:  Taxpayers can also be prosecuted for filing a false tax return if they fail to disclose retirement plan distributions in their tax returns. Filing a false tax return can be punished with up to three years in prison. (Patel also failed to disclose his distributions in his return, so he was charged with that, too.)

Mail Fraud/Wire Fraud: If a wrongdoer submitted those false filings and communications with the intent to deceive the IRS and used the postal service to send those false communications (e.g., a false tax return was mailed to the IRS), those involved might also see charges of mail fraud or wire fraud. Mail fraud can be punished with up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  

If you are concerned about your criminal liability relating to misuse of a retirement account, don't hesitate. Contact an attorney specializing in tax law today. If you need help, call Senior Partner, Tax Controversy Attorney, and former IRS attorney Brandon A. Keim at (602) 200-7399 or contact him online to discuss your options.

About the Author

Brandon Keim

A Certified Tax Law Specialist, CPA, partner at Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold LLP, and former Senior IRS Trial Attorney, Brandon Keim holds an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment


Aenean lacinia bibendum nulla sed consectetur. Donec sed odio dui. Maecenas sed diam eget risus varius blandit sit amet non magna. Nulla vitae elit libero, a pharetra augue. Curabitur blandit tempus porttitor. Morbi leo risus, porta ac consectetur ac, vestibulum at eros. Cras justo odio, dapibus ac facilisis in, egestas.

The act of visiting or communicating with Brandon A. Keim via this website or by email does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Communications from non-clients via this website are not subject to client confidentiality or attorney-client privilege. Further, the articles, discussion, commentary, forms and sample documentation contained in this website are offered as general guidance only and are not to be relied upon as specific legal advice. For legal advice on a specific matter, please consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in that area. Attorneys listed in this website practice only in the jurisdictions in which they are admitted. This website is governed by the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct.