It's tax season, and that means there are a lot of documents to prepare. The deadline extension to May 17, 2021, is helpful, but it's still a stressful time. A lot of that stress comes from waiting until the last minute--to start working on it or to submit paperwork to your accountant. But sometimes, taxpayers find themselves in a difficult financial situation, making it tempting to report less income, for example, in order to avoid tax liabilities.
A federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland has handed down an indictment charging Richard Gould, 65, of Strongsville, with two counts of making and subscribing false tax returns.
“Knowingly underreporting taxable income, or otherwise submitting a false tax return, is a criminal tax violation,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan. “As people prepare or review their tax returns this year, let this be a reminder that intentional violations of tax laws will be investigated by the IRS and prosecuted by our Office.”
“With filing season in full swing, it is important to file accurate and timely tax returns,” said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Investigating those who willfully and intentionally file false tax returns is a top priority for IRS CI.”
According to the indictment, for the calendar years of 2014 and 2015, the defendant is accused of filing a joint United States Individual Income Tax Return (Form 1040) with his spouse and knowingly underreporting total income for both years. Specifically, the defendant is accused of stating that his occupation was “unemployed” when he knew, in fact, that he was gainfully employed.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Though we will have to wait and see if Mr. Gould is found guilty or not (a trial date has not been set yet as of publication of this), it's an important lesson. Keep in mind that a failure to report income and filing a false tax return can result in serious charges that carry severe penalties (heavy fines and years in jail).
This tale just illustrates again the importance of reviewing your tax forms carefully, with the help of a knowledgable and reputable accountant if needed. But if you find yourself in trouble with the IRS, the best thing you can do is to contact a criminal tax attorney.
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Serving international and local clients from offices in Chicago, Cleveland, and Illinois, the legal team at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC is highly experienced with tax law. We provide discrete legal service if you face a tax controversy. Contact us online or call us at 800-579-0997 today.