Dentists, doctors, lawyers, and accountants are generally professions that the general public looks to as well-regulated and respectable professionals. We often trust these individuals with our health, our safety, and our finances and in return, expect that they will leave us in a better position than when we first encountered them. But just because a professional has a particular label does not necessarily mean that they will handle all matters in their lives with the requisite diligence that we hope for them to.
According to multiple news outlets, a Grand Junction, Colorado dentist pleaded guilty to tax evasion for his failure to pay nearly $250,000 in taxes to the IRS. Michael Edwin Ho, 69, practiced dentistry at various dental offices that he owned including Skyline Dental and Colorado Community Dental, both located in Grand Junction. According to prosecutors, Ho made several business moves that attempted to lower his overall tax liability. Some of these activities include failing to report interest income, failing to report income he received when his property was sold, and paying his own personal expenses with funds from his dentistry business. Furthermore, Ho converted the entity that owned his dental offices into a nonprofit organization in an effort to further reduce his tax bill. In addition to inflating expenses, Ho also completely failed to report income that he had received while performing services for the Collbran Job Corps.
Ho was indicted on the tax evasion charges back in October of last year. He faces a potential federal prison sentence of five years for the single count of tax evasion. In addition to facing a long time behind bars, U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello could also order Ho to pay a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution to the IRS for the taxes that he temporarily evaded. Lastly, Ho will likely be sentenced to an additional term of supervised release following the prison sentence that he receives.
This isn’t the first time that Ho has been in trouble with a court of law. In 2002, the Colorado State Board of Dental Examiners issued an order for Ho to stop practicing dentistry because of complaints that he failed to use gloves while performing procedures on patients, a requirement of dentists under Colorado state law. After he ignored the order by the administrative dental board, a court in Mesa County ordered Ho to cease operating any business that was related to the practice of dentistry and even prevented him from owning any interest in an entity that engaged in such practice.
Many taxpayers feel like they are able to handle an investigation by the IRS on their own. At first, taxpayers are able to respond to the requests of the IRS and will sometimes meet with an examiner feeling very confident. But what most taxpayers fail to recognize is that the agents and investigators that work for the IRS are trained very well in the area of sniffing out taxpayer’s misdeeds. A common misconception is that a taxpayer can talk their way out of a situation. And although the IRS and their criminal investigators will listen, they know the right questions to ask that will allow you to lead yourself right into a trap that may be inescapable. And unlike some many traps, getting yourself caught up in a criminal investigation without proper representation may cost you not only your financial well-being, but your freedom as well.
The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have a plethora of experience in helping taxpayers through some of the hardest times in their lives. Our team of attorneys and accountants provide valuable and critical advice to our clients that are involved in an IRS examination, investigation or even criminal or civil litigation. When the IRS or Department of Justice come to the table, they bring their best attorneys and investigators: make sure that you have the very best on your side. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today for a reduced-rate consultation.