Michael Thiel, 66, a resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, entered a guilty plea in federal court last week on tax evasion charges. According to a Department of Justice press release, Thiel, a criminal defense attorney, was accused of failing to a file personal and employment tax returns for a 10-year period spanning from 2003 to 2013. Prosecutors alleged that Thiel utilized several nominee entities to open bank accounts and even take out a mortgage to pay for a home that Thiel lived in. He deposited money into a bank account under the nominee’s name.
As a part of his guilty plea, Thiel admitted that he, as of April 30, owed the IRS over $730,000 in income taxes and over $260,000 of employment taxes (both inclusive of interest and penalties). Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement between Thiel and the Department of Justice, he faces up to 37-months in a federal prison, followed by additional supervised-release.
The IRS considers tax evasion to be one of the nation’s most serious crimes relating to the collection of revenue. Service computer systems work around the clock sorting through detailed financial records (W-2’s, 1099’s and other documents provided to the Service) in order to sniff out those who have failed to comply with their legal obligation to pay tax. When the IRS computer system locates enough evidence that points to the possibility of tax fraud or tax evasion, a IRS agent will take on the investigation to dig deeper into the facts and circumstances of the taxpayer. A taxpayer found guilty of criminal tax evasion can be sentenced to up to five years in prison for each count.
Tax evasion aside, the IRS and state taxing authorities take the failure to comply with employment tax laws very seriously. For instance, California is very aggressive in their enforcement of employment tax regimes. Employers who fail to pay payroll tax on a quarterly basis can face steep fines and penalties (varying based on the reason why payroll taxes were not timely filed). If the conduct was intentional, the State of California and the U.S. Department of Justice may seek criminal charges.
A criminal tax attorney who is also a CPA brings the best of two professions together for the price of one. An extensive legal education brings a tax attorney a functional understanding of criminal law, Constitutional law, and criminal tax procedure. On the other hand, a CPA brings deep technical knowledge and familiarity with audit procedures to the table. The combination of the two will provide you with an advocate who is well positioned to take the controls and prevent your tax situation from spiraling out of control.
The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have extensive experience in representing taxpayers from all walks of life in eggshell audits, criminal examinations, and even criminal tax litigation. Taxpayers have a tendency to wait until they are in handcuffs to contact an attorney, but it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax attorney at the first sign of trouble. Don’t let a small tax problem escalate into a large one. Contact the tax law offices of David W. Klasing online or at 800-681-1295 today for a reduced-rate consultation.
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