Cleveland small business owners know how difficult it is to keep the doors of a commercial enterprise open. Even people who devote every penny they have and every moment of their days know that many small businesses close within a year of opening.
That's part of what made the 40th anniversary of Nick's Roast Beef a noteworthy milestone for the cash-only mom-and-pop sandwich shop. But the celebration was cut short earlier this year when the owners of the always-busy Massachusetts business were charged with failing to pay $1.3 million in taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service also accused the owners of skimming millions in cash receipts from the suburban Boston shop as well as conducting off-the-books transactions with suppliers and employees. It was all done to avoid paying owed taxes, the IRS alleged, when arrests were made about three weeks ago.
While no one suggests that small business owners should be allowed to evade tax obligations, many observers say it's clear that the IRS is more likely to go after mom-and-pop businesses than large corporations engaged in off-the-books dealings, Small Business Trends notes. The publication says small businesses present more inviting targets because their transgressions are often not as sophisticated as those engaged in by large businesses.
Small business owners are also less likely to have the financial resources needed to fend off government prosecutors with virtually unlimited resources and a habit of tacking on criminal charges in order to wring plea deals out of defendants.