I'll bet that little or none of her conversations involved talking to the IRS about criminal issues. Especially on the day that tax returns are due for a lot of clients. She was very likely focusing pretty much all her attention on getting returns and extensions done. That is what you see tax return preparers scrambling to do on the day tax returns are due. Other matters can wait.
A good CPA knows that when criminal issues are present, the client needs a lawyer for the reasons I mentioned. I get referrals from CPAs for exactly those reasons. It is particularly troublesome to have a CPA handling a criminal tax issue because in criminal matters there is no accountant-client privilege. The government can get everything the client told the CPA. That's potentially disastrous for the client. With a lawyer, the client is protected by the attorney-client privilege. You don't like lawyers, Harold, but there are circumstances in which a person really needs one. Facing criminal investigation and prosecution, whether by the IRS or any other government agency, is one of those circumstances.
Not exactly. What it requires is that the taxpayer know that the information he/she put on the return were untrue. The person need not know the actual tax code.
It's the combination of the signature and false statements that make the crime.
In some cases a criminal fine and/or probation is imposed as the penalty for the criminal tax conviction. In other instances taxpayers actually do prison time for it. And those criminal penalties are in addition to the civil penalties, tax, and interest that are due.