People have asked me if ... "What happens if I enter the Streamline Program, and they reject my claim that I did not act willfully?" Then the question is, "Should I have a criminal defense lawyer or a civil defense lawyer?" I say to you, the ultimate issue of willfulness is one that the criminal lawyer, an experienced criminal lawyer, deals with on a much more frequent basis. That's why I submit that a criminal ... an experienced criminal defense lawyer is important. Not only for that, but there's another issue here, and that issue is that if the government believes that the person acted willfully, and that initial decision is made by a reviewer in the Streamline Program, which is the civil aspect of it, there's nothing to prevent the IRS civil side from referring it to the criminal side, which opens up the potential of a criminal conviction and incarceration.
Ultimately, what is the most important factor here? Based on my experience over many decades dealing with people who have dealt with the IRS on ... and had been unfortunate enough to be under investigation or charged criminally, if they had a choice? "Oh, do I handle this civilly and write a check for money?" They'd rather take that then undergo the stress and strain of facing criminal charges, and if, worst happens, going to prison, so, that's why I think the Streamline Program is to avoid paying larger off-shore penalties. The ultimate issue that's important ... remember, is, you're dealing with conduct that is failu