Date: 08/22/12

Topic: Criminal Tax Representation

Joseph and Elizabeth Kupfer could face up to five years in federal prison after being convicted on three counts each of tax evasion. The Kupfers were convicted after failing to report at least $768,000 in income they received Joseph’s consulting business. In 2004, the couple had serious tax problems and sought help from a certified tax specialist that was supposed to bring them in compliance for the 2004, 2005, and 2006 tax years.

However, the jury determined that the failure to report the income was done willfully and intentionally to avoid paying $286,000 in taxes. The couples lack of sophistication and knowledge of proper reporting proved no excuse, as the prosecution pointed out, “that didn’t mean tax on the [income] wasn’t due and owing.” Investigation by the IRS revealed documents showing the Kupfers “had to have known” that they owed tax on payments and had “chosen not to report.” After a weeklong trial full of testimony the jury returned a guilty verdict after only 6 hours of deliberation.

The lesson from this case is that it is not a crime to make a lot of money but to willfully and intentionally avoid paying taxes is. Moreover, it is your responsibility to ensure that your income is being properly reported because sole reliance on the diligence of others is no defense.