Tax evasion means jail time for many individuals. One couple is now looking at 15 years imprisonment for alleged tax evasion. What is unusual about this particular case is that the pair was running a tax preparation business.
The IRS accused the couple of increasing client’ tax returns by claiming fictitious business losses. After facing 17 counts of tax evasion and fraud charges, the couple pled guilty for filing fraudulent federal tax returns for their clients. And while the 187-month sentence seems unusually harsh, it is actually below sentencing guidelines recommending sentences of 262 to 327 months.
All taxpayers need to understand the consequences following charges of tax evasion and fraud. While tax audits often are civil, civil audits do result in criminal charges. In fact, the triggering event of the majority of criminal tax cases was a civil tax audit.
Most taxpayers do not have the resources to combat a tax audit instigated by the IRS. This is especially true when the audit leads to federal criminal charges. It’s best to have experienced tax representation from the onset to keep penalties at a minimum. These attorneys also are able to work with tax agents and other officials to see if a compromise settlement is possible.
The tax preparers mentioned above may not be the only individuals facing tax difficulties with the IRS. The clients of the tax preparers may face consequences as well. Whether the preparers were or were not responsible for fraudulent tax returns, the tax payers themselves will still not be off the hook for taxes owed. Their clients may need to correct errors on the tax returns and make certain to address any questions of tax liability.
If you are facing tax difficulites and need an attorney:
Source: Forbes, “Couple Gets 15 Years For Tax Evasion – Each,” Robert W. Wood, Feb. 25, 2015