According to a Department of Justice press release, an Ohio tax attorney was recently sentenced to serve a term in federal prison for intentionally impeding IRS tax administration and collection efforts. Although the charges in the instant case were levied against a tax attorney, such charges can be brought against anyone who has endeavored to impede IRS efforts. If you have either failed to file a tax return, taken improper deductions, or have made false statements to the IRS in an attempt to get out of paying your tax bill, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to determine the best steps to take to mitigate your potential criminal and civil exposures.
Court documents reveal that Marcus Dunn, an Ohio tax attorney, was sentenced to serve 36 months in a federal prison after Dunn pleaded guilty to intentionally impeding IRS tax collection efforts. Prosecutors asserted that Dunn assisted Dr. Kevin Lake on various tax matters prior to Lake’s death. During their working relationship, Dunn falsified documentation provided to the IRS that was requested upon the examination of Dr. Lake’s clinic tax returns. When the IRS eventually assessed additional tax, Dunn provided false information that indicated that Dr. Lake’s businesses had no assets and thus the underlying tax could not be paid.
The IRS and Department of Justice estimate that Dunn’s illegal activity caused a tax loss of more than $600,000. In addition to the three years of imprisonment imposed, the court ordered that Dunn also serve three years of supervised release upon the completion of his physical incarceration. Restitution was already paid using funds that were seized from Dr. Lake prior to the doctor’s death.
There is nothing illegal about structuring your personal or business affairs in a manner that results in paying less tax. That being said, there is a difference between legal tax structuring and lying to or otherwise impeding the IRS in their efforts to assess and collect taxes. For instance, selling property that generates a capital gain in the same year that you have a capital loss is efficient tax planning. On the other hand, lying to the IRS by indicating that you are insolvent to thwart tax collection efforts can be considered illegal obstruction of the IRS.
If you have made statements on your tax returns or to an IRS agent that are untrue, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to determine your best path forward. Additionally, if you have received notice from the IRS that your tax returns will be examined, a tax defense attorney is a key asset to help ensure that false statements are not made during your interactions with the government. Being represented by an experienced tax attorney means that you will not have to go up against the IRS alone.
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