Not so shockingly, not all politicians uphold the law. A congressional staffer was sentenced to prison recently for willfully failing to file an individual income tax return. Failure to file is a serious violation in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service. Here are the details according to the Department of Justice press release:
According to documents filed with the court, Issac Lanier Avant, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, has been employed by the U.S. House of Representatives as a Chief of Staff since 2002. In December 2006, Avant assumed the additional role of Democratic Staff Director for the House Committee on Homeland Security. Despite earning more than $165,000, Avant failed to timely file his 2009 through 2013 individual income tax returns, causing a tax loss of $153,522. Avant had no federal income withheld during those years because in May 2005, he caused a form to be filed with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes. Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013. Avant did not file tax returns until after he was interviewed by federal agents.
The court imposed a prison term of approximately 4 months, consisting of 30 days incarceration, followed by incarceration every weekend for 12 months. Avant was also ordered to serve a one-year term of supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $149,962 to the IRS.
Failure to file can be considered a criminal tax matter in some cases. In the event you have have failed to file your tax returns, contact an experienced tax law firm, like Robert J. Fedor Esq., LLC. We can return you to compliance and peace of mind.