Movies and TV shows teach us that most people in need of a lawyer are people who have committed clear, well-defined crimes that even those of us lacking legal education understand only lawyers can deal with. This refers to clear-cut criminal offenses. Criminal offenses which are less photogenic or obvious, but are still just as severe, are referred to as white-collar crime – for example various types of money laundering and tax evasion.
As opposed to what many people think, such offenses are not always connected to organized crime, but are sometimes committed, whether knowingly or unknowingly, by normative people, who sometimes do not even understand that they are in violation of the law. Therefore, it is important that you ask – are you in trouble? Do you need a lawyer in Tel Aviv? Contact Eli Shimony Law Firm to understand how you can fix this and get you out of trouble in the best possible manner. The following offenses are exactly those that could get you involved in criminal offenses.
What is money laundering and why is it a crime?
In Israel, just like anywhere in the world, you must report and pay legally prescribed income tax on any capital that you may hold or are due. In most cases, people derive their capital from normative resources, so that it does not have dubious origins; however, when they fail to report such capital to tax authorities, they are in clear violation of the criminal code. Sometimes they believe that as long as they are not caught, they can hide and keep the money. But to do so, they will have to explain at some point the discrepancies between their capital declarations – required from any self-employed person – and their actual holdings. If the hidden capital derives from criminal offenses, the state considers this a much worse offense, even if we are not the ones behind the crime that generated such money.
What can a lawyer do in such a case?
Money laundering lawyers specialize in this field that lies between criminal law and tax and capital law. Naturally, this is a unique expertise, which also requires extensive experience and profound knowledge in all aspects and clauses of the law. Naturally, you should not even find yourself in this situation, but if you already are in trouble – do you need a lawyer in Tel Aviv? – this is exactly the type of law firm you should have representing you, from the moment you are taken in for an investigation or notified of any suspicion by the tax authorities. Do not try to manage this matter yourself. You must know how to answer the tax authorities and should understand what documents and answers you must give to avoid severe financial implications, as well as avoid spending time in jail or paying additional fines. For this reason it is important to understand that not everyone can get away by paying a penalty to the tax authorities. Some money laundering offenses branch into the clear criminal field, and in case of a prior record, this requires the skilled work of an expert lawyer.
Capital brokerage could get you in trouble
It is not only crime organizations that launder money by transferring it to a third party. Any amount passing through you to be deposited with banks, which is unreported, could get you incriminated and may cause your indictment. Even if your business is legal, the act itself is not. This is a criminal offense, even if such a person won his money from gambling or from any other source. In such a case, you are clearly in trouble. Do you need a lawyer in Tel Aviv? The indictment filed against you deals with money laundering, and the police will get into the picture to identify the source of such funds through their investigation. The reason for this is simple – all banks and financial organizations must report any amount deposited with them, and especially the major players. So – sooner or later, this will be discovered and you will require a lawyer experienced in these matters.
Different forms of tax evasion
People evade paying taxes in different ways, one of which is money laundering. The other types of felonies are collectively named 'tax evasion,' and these depend on the type of tax and different characteristics of such evasion. Besides reporting a smaller income than their real income, people may also report fictitious expenses for different transactions, whether real or fake, through what are called 'fictitious invoices.' Then there are attempts to present private expenses as business expenses or attempts at receiving tax benefits on the basis of misrepresentations – for example, Israel offers different types of tax benefits to residents of 'preference region' towns, which leads to fraud where people falsely report residence in such towns to win tax benefits from the state.
You should also know that what some people recognize as legitimate tax planning, may in some cases amount to tax evasion offenses, due to the means used to carry it out. Legitimate tax planning is something that must be done legally, while tax evasion is in violation of the law. However, it turns out that this matter is often subject to the interpretation of courts and tax authorities, and it is often the case that normative citizens are suspected of such violations. So, are you in trouble? Do you need a lawyer in Tel Aviv? Don't try to solve this problem on your own. Hire a lawyer who is familiar with all key figures and knows how such proceedings must be handled so that you are cleared of any suspicion, and thus prevent severe implications for your accounts and indeed your future.
How can a lawyer assist you?
In tax felonies, besides the normal criminal proceeding which may sometimes lead to imprisonment, there is also the alternative of paying a forfeit, or a fine. In the worst-case scenario where you fail to refute the suspicions against you, you will find yourself in court, where you will definitely require legal representation by an attorney who will do the utmost to reduce the severity of the indictment against you. But there is also an alternative in offenses of this type – and you can make use of this alternative through an experienced lawyer. This alternative is a penalty the suspect is charged with in an administrative tax evasion proceeding, subject to the approval of a special committee.
An indictment is issued against the suspected tax evader, so that the court can rule on the matter and determine the penalty in case the suspect is found guilty. This proceeding is no different from what is practiced in other types of felony. Alternatively, a proceeding unique to tax offenses is held, which is payment of a forfeit – a penalty imposed in an administrative tax evasion proceeding, at the suspect's request, pursuant to the decision of a special-purpose committee.
Eli Shimony - Israeli law firm representing clients on all civil/commercial legal issues in Israel. For any questions please contact us and we will be happy to assist.
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The above article is a general information only and it is not intended to replace a legal advice.