How to Expedite Non-profit Status

One study related to the IRS scandal showed that non-profit groups with legal representation were subjected to fewer probing questions and experienced fewer obstacles during the non-profit application process than groups without legal representation.  Interestingly, many groups that began the application process without an attorney noticed that their applications were quickly approved right after hiring an attorney.

This is probably not all that surprising to attorneys.  We, of all people, believe that our services are valuable.  One can typically expect a better result and smoother legal process by hiring a lawyer, although not everyone is convinced of this.

In this day and age it is easy to obtain information about any legal topic.  Many people feel that as long as they are well informed and educated about their specific legal predicament then they can handle the issue on their own.  In a down economy it is even more common for individuals to try resolving legal problems on their own, thinking they can save a buck.

The answer to the question, “Do I really need an attorney for this?” is almost always “no.”  But knowing the law is only half the battle, and an attorney can bring so much more to the table than just information:

  • ability to strategize
  • ability to organize information
  • ability to present information (verbally and in writing) in a logical fashion
  • superior persuasion skills
  • ability to apply the law to a specific set of facts
  • real life experience

It’s one thing to know rules in the abstract, but it’s quite another to have seen how the rules play out in practice.  This is particularly true in the world of Federal Tax Resolution where the IRS is inconsistent and unpredictable in the application of the rules.  It is the difference between book smarts and street smarts, and tax lawyers typically have both.

Yes, of course you need to do your own research.  And, yes, you need to be careful and thorough in the process of hiring an attorney.  But you should also be well aware of what you may be giving up by representing yourself in an important legal dispute.

California Attorney Failed to File Tax Returns – Sentenced to 6 Months in Prison

California attorney Kevin Mirecki has been sentenced to six months in federal prison after pleading guilty to three counts of failing to file his tax returns and will not obtain tax relief. Mirecki was also ordered to pay more than $225,000 in restitution and fines. Mirecki entered his guilty plea in 2009 and admitted he failed to report more than $1.3 million in income over a three-year period.

Mirecki also founded Genesis Fund Ltd., which investigators say was a foreign-currency Ponzi scheme that bilked at least $80 million from hundreds of investors. Eight people pleaded guilty and another was convicted at trial in connection with the scam.

According to the indictment related to Genesis Fund Ltd., the defendants falsely claimed that investors received monthly returns of four percent, when investments were actually used to make “profit” distributions to defendants and early investors. The defendants promoted the Genesis Fund as having no reporting obligations to the IRS. Bank accounts in the names of trusts and offshore bank accounts were allegedly used to receive distributions from the Genesis Fund that were not reported to the IRS. Some of the defendants allegedly created “disclosed” and “undisclosed” Genesis Fund accounts for themselves and certain fund investors in order to conceal from the IRS all but a small portion of the fund’s distributions. In addition, some Genesis Fund investors were allegedly advised to create nominee offshore corporations and bank accounts to receive distributions from the fund.

The indictment further alleged that to obscure the operations of the fund and to limit scrutiny of its operations by investors and the government, the defendants caused the Genesis Fund to maintain no financial statements or other statements of operation. Additionally, in or about April 2000, to conceal the true nature of its operations from investors and the government, Genesis Fund’s administrative operations were relocated from Anaheim, Calif., to Costa Rica. At about the same time, paper records were moved to Costa Rica and electronic data on computers was destroyed.